I Have a Sprinkler Pump - Can I Replace an Indexing Valve with Automatic Zone Valves?

Hello, folks! I have a question that I need clarification on.

My current setup consists of a 1.5HP Goulds pump drawing water from a lake. The pump feeds into an indexing valve with two active zones (front yard and back yard). A 220-volt Intermatic timer turns the pump on at 5:00am, runs for “x” minutes on the first zone, shuts the pump off for one minute to give the indexing valve time to switch zones, then the timer turns the pump back on and runs for “x” more minutes on the second zone. I have the timer set to run this program once a day each day of the week.

The problem with this setup that I’ve encountered over the years is having to manually reprogram my timer occasionally, to increase zone watering times in the drier seasons and decrease zone watering times in the wetter seasons.

The other problem that I’ve encountered with this setup is that since the timer itself is a “dumb” timer that cannot take precipitation into consideration, when it’s raining outside, the timer will continue to run its program and water an already soaked yard.

Taking these problems into consideration, I finally decided to simplify my life and went ahead and purchased an 8-zone Rachio 3 with an outdoor enclosure. I also purchased a Rain Bird 220-volt pump start relay, so that I can control the pump via the Rachio unit.

The final part of this whole installation is the only gray area that I’m still uncertain about, which is the replacement of the indexing valve. I would like to put the Rachio on auto-pilot and let it do its thing, but I can’t really do that when there’s an indexing valve in the equation that I must account for. Ideally, I would like to replace the indexing valve with two automatic zone valves. This would solve the problem of having to account for a pause between zone watering, which is needed to allow the indexing valve to change zones.

I have scoured the web and cannot find a definitive answer to my question, which is why I’m asking the Rachio community for assistance.

So, is it possible to replace my indexing valve with two automatic zone valves if I’m driving the water pressure in my irrigation system with a pump? I’m afraid that if the pump, for whatever reason, stays on while the automatic zone valves are closed, I’ll damage the valves.

Please educate me and thank you all in advance for your time and efforts!

@ZoneOne - Yes. See ->



DLane, thank you for posting those links! I read everything and figured I’d go ahead and pick up a couple of 1.5” Rainbird valves this evening to complete the stockpiling of equipment necessary for my sprinkler system conversion. Also, I’m happy to report that my Rachio 3 and the outdoor enclosure arrived today, so I may start installing everything this weekend, time permitting. Thanks again for your support! It is greatly appreciated! :+1:t2: