Valve Box is a Mess - What Do I Do? (pictures)

love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)April 21, 2007

Below are pictures of my valve box. My irrigation system was installed about ten years ago. The system is actually working fine right now, including the valves, but after learning how to replace sprinkler heads, relocate sprinkler heads, etc., I got inspired to make sure *everything* is good with my system. As you can see the inside of my valve box is a mess. What should I do? Should I leave well-enough alone until something fails? Or should I try to fix this mess? The whole box, including the box lid, is located below natural ground level. Should I carefully dig out the dirt from inside the box? Can I get shocked or electricuted if I touch an exposed wire? I don't want to die doing this. The wires appear very brittle and the wire casings are so dried out they have segmented. Should the box be raised and if so, is there any way to that? Or is the box level relative to ground dictated by the valve and piping located within? I have three zones (and thus, I think three valves). What do you think?

Thanks!

Carol

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ronalawn82(z9FL)

It does not need attention...yet! When that was installed, they dug a hole and connected everything up. The valve box was then put down to protect the whole works and for convenient access. These systems operate on 24 volts BUT CHECK! The stuff in the valve box is energized only during the time when the zone is programmed to to be ON. The valwe box is usually sunk to ground level to keep it out of sight and out of the way of mower blades. A good thing to check is that there is enough clearance inside the box between the cover and the highest 'thing' inside the box. A mower running over the cover can cause it to flex downward and break something inside.
By all means clean out the junk carefully; you can use the opportunity to identify the components, check on the wiring condition etc. My own thought is "If it is working well, practise to fix it". The advice is free; you are under no obligation to follow it. Have a good time, whatever you decide. You know that you will always get help here.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2007 at 7:29AM
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all_wet(MagnoliaTx)

Carol,
Not to worry. You'll be replacing those Toro Flo Pro valves soon enough. You see, Toro in it's infinite wisdom, has stopped making the Flo Pro valve, AND stopped making the parts for it as well. So soon enough one of your valves will fail and you'll have to cut it out in order to replace it with another brand valve. While you are replacing the one valve that failed, you may as well replace the others while you are in there. You can sort out the wiring and the valve box elevation then as well. Whatever you do, dont try to remove the wire from the "Quick link" solenoids on your existing valves before you are ready to replace the entire valve. You will end up replacing those valves quicker than you had anticipated.

All Wet
Texas Licensed Irrigator #1897 since 1984

    Bookmark   April 22, 2007 at 9:14AM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

Thanks to both of you for the info! A couple more questions"

-These valves have been going for ten years so far, how much more do you think I will get?

-after I clean the box out carefully, should I cover the valves and all the wire with heavy duty plastic to keep down the moisture on the wires?

-what brand and model would you recommend for replacement valves when the time comes?

-should I replace the solenoids at the same time as the valves? (or will I be forced to)?

Thanks!
Carol

    Bookmark   April 22, 2007 at 6:31PM
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all_wet(MagnoliaTx)

Carol,
We start seeing valves fail after 8 or so years, but your mileage may vary. Don't worry about plastic ect. When you replace the valves, you'll buy waterproof wire connectors to attach the new solenoids to the old wire. I like Rain Bird's DV 100 series valves as well as the Hardie 2400 series valves which will come with new solenoids. You won't find these valves at the big box stores. You'll have to buy them from a professional irrigation supplier.

All Wet
Texas Licensed Irrigator #1897 since 1984

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 9:47AM
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sanzen36

valves are tricky. if its working......dont do anything. trust me.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 2:45AM
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fxdgrnd

Hi, I have a 6 zone rainbird DV-100 valve system. 3 of the zones do not work, i went thru the same step by step troubleshooting procedure and now realize that the three solenoids for zones 4,5,6 are bad.

Can you tell me how I replace them? do I shut the main water suppply off to the house and hand turn of use a crescent wrench to unscrew the solenoids? ..please help...

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 7:41PM
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lehua49

Hi fxd,

Yes. Shut the main water supply off then disconnect the wire to the solenoid and mark where to reattach the new one. Next twist off the old one(should be be able to do this by hand). Screw on the new one and attach the wires as before. Use waterproof screw connectors with the gel inside to resist moisture to connect the solenoid wires and you should be good to go. You should put in a shut-off ball-valve at the beginning of your irrigation mainline so you do not have to shut off your entire house to do irrigation repairs. JMHO. Aloha

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 7:57PM
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fxdgrnd

WOW ! that was a fast response. Thank you very much. I live in phx, az so I'll wait till the 108 degree temp cools down this evening.

Thx again

Larry

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 8:11PM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

Just an update: it is two years later and the valves are still working without any attention/adjustment/work! (Amazing what you can sometimes get away with by doing nothing!)

Carol (original poster)

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 9:24AM
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lehua49

Hi Carol,

I am amazed that you have done nothing and are still checking up on the irrigation forum two years later. This forum has some interesting stuff doesn't it. Of course I am partial to the Tomato, Citrus, Compost and plumeria forums too. Good to read you are still around Garden Web. Aloha.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 7:35PM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

Haha! No, I didn't follow up on my own volition. Rather, whenever someone posts a reply to my original post I get an email. So when these new emails hit, I had to visit the forum to see what people were saying about my valve box over two years later!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 8:08PM
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lehua49

LTY,

Good Answer. Is that why forums frown upon hijacking very old threads? I am glad you tuned in. Aloha

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 5:44PM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

Just another update: it is almost five years since the original post and those same valves are still working! I still have done absolutely nothing to them. Crazy lucky.

Carol (original poster)

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 6:26PM
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lehua49

LTY,

Did you actually do nothing at all or did you clean out the boxes and did nothing about the valves? Aloha

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 8:50PM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

I actually did absolutely nothing at all. Nothing whatsoever. I didn't clean out the valve box. It still looks just like it did in the photos above. I've been unbelievably good at pressing my luck. :)

Carol

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 10:26PM
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lehua49

LTY,

Good luck for another ten years or more. Good promo for Toro. JMHO Aloha

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 11:40PM
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trkpoker(10b)

Those Toro Pro Flow valves are excellent. Someone posted before that the parts are not made anymore. This is incorrect. I purchased the parts recently so when they eventually give you issues you will be able to get the parts.

Good luck,
Tom

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 7:31PM
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