Flooded valve box

lawnoobAugust 25, 2007

My wife and I recently bought our first house. I'm learning everything from scratch and sprinkler systems have been an issue. In the back yard we had a broken pop up sprinkler head. So I replaced that and we found that all the sprinkler heads after that were burried or grown over so the whole area wasn't being watered correctly. After much work we have gotten most of the sprinkler heads working correctly but the last two on the line will not pop up. Now, I can't tell if it's a water pressure issue or an issue with the pipe (I replaced the sprinkler heads on those spots and the part that pops up seemed tight on those two spots for whatever reason).

The reason I suspect a pressure problem is that I took a head off and let the water flow to get out some dirt in the line and the water only popped up about 4 or 5 inches. Secondly the sprinkler valve box in the back yard gets flooded every time the sprinklers turn on. This is where I think the problem is. How can I tell if the valve is bad or something else is going on? I took off the valve cover and there is literally inches of water with wires in the box. Seeing wires and water together can't be good right?

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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Here are a few ideas to get you started. First, it would be good to see what happens when the valve first turns on. If the water comes directly from the valve or a joint by the valve, then you have an obvious problem there. If it is flowing into the valve box, then you probably have a partial break in the line nearby and you'll have to figure out where. If the last two sprinkler heads don't work right, the break in the line may be right before that point. PVC can get damaged when it's laid, or later when someone hits it with a shovel. I once had a big leak in a PVC pipe that came from a nearly invisible split, and I had to do some digging and have the water on to figure out exactly where it was located. You may have more than one problem to deal with. Good luck. It sounds like you have some digging to do.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 5:42PM
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On Saturday we dug up quite a bit of the line to see if there was a leak. What we found was that one of the heads was stuck/overgrown so we replaced that and it started working fine but the last two still will not work. So I'm thinking it might be a water pressure problem b/c the valve box is always flooded. Could that be the culprit or is it more likely something wrong with those last two heads?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 1:40PM
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I had a new sprinkler system installed recently. I discovered a flooded valve box too. I was a little surprised the system didn't short out. The box was filled with water and it still operated fine.
Anyway, I turned off the water so it could drain. Then I turned it back on the following day. I could see the main inlet connection was leaking. It could be a loose connection or plumber's tape is needed.

I called my sprinkler co., and they're sending a guy out tomorrow to fix.

Regarding your problem(s).
1) Drain the valve box, then turn on water and check for leaks. Run each zone to be sure.
2) If you suspect a bad head. Swap it with a known good head. If the problem moves, you know the head was the culprit. If not, theres probably a leak in the line or a pressure problem.

Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 8:19PM
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Just wanted to post a follow up.

The tech fixed the leak in my valve box.
It's completely dry now even when the sprinklers
are running.


    Bookmark   September 1, 2007 at 10:12PM
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We have water in our valve box. The irragation people came out twice to replace all the heads and moved some out more. When using the system, the valve box has water in it. Also when its off there seems to be a leak. But the company told us that its normal and its no problem. Should I believe them? Our bill cost us $575.00 dallars. Should I complain? Please write u. We are not comfortable with this.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 10:02PM
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First for lawnoob, if the valve box is lower then the stations being run flooding the valve box is normal and while not good if the wire connections are done with waterproof wire nuts it's not a real problem. For the two heads they are likely on funny pipe and probably partially clogged where it connects to the pvc pipe. Just follow the funny pipe back to the pvc and unscrew the fittings and flush the lines again. For lenart, if the valve box is still filling when the system is off there is definitely a leak and I would tell the company to fix the problem at no charge since it seems to me that the work they did was totally unnecessary.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 1:57AM
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I would like you to try one thing for me. Unscrew the tops of the two sprinklers at the end of the line and pull out the guts of the sprinkler. Go back to your valve box and I want you to turn the sprinkler on manually. The top part of the valve is your pressure control knob and depending what kind of valve you have there should be another little screw type knob or flip type lever that will turn your valve on. If you had a line break in your lawn area you would see a large rise in your lawn. By turning the valve on manually you will be able to see if the water is coming from the valve into the box or is just in a lower place where run off occurs. The valves should always be higher then the sprinklers. Try this and let me know. The sprinklers will have a stem, spring and head. The head can become clogged. Unscrew this head and there should be a screen inside. If not no biggy just make sure there is nothing inside the head . Rinse it out tapping it on an hard service and blowing air through it will let you know if it is clear. Good luck and let me know how it goes.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 5:46PM
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We just discovered flooding in our irrigation control valve box. We had been running our sprinklers for the kids to run through. After they turned off we still heard running water.

At the time the whole area was flooded with water gushing up. Looking at it now, there is a hole by the box where a pipe comes out and the inside of the box is muddy.

We had to turn off our outside water to stop the flooding so we need to fix this right away.

Pipes with wires scare me, I never know if electrocution is a hazard. Is this something we could fix ourselves or do we have to call someone? If it would be better handled by a professional, then who? Plumbers won't do outside work and our utilities company won't answer their phone.

We have had numerous other plumbing problems in this house, both inside and outside. Some we've fixed some we've had to call help. We're not terribly experienced, but we've been pretty good at following directions and/or figuring things out so far.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 2:38PM
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