Leaking Sprinkler Heads


#1

Help!

I had a brand new irrigation system put in less than 2 months ago and made the irrigation guy use the rachio as the controller because I was excited about this product. Since day 1 certain heads have been leaking forming a big pool of water around it lasting for hours. He has been back countless times replacing heads and valves. He has been insisting that it must be the controller. Today he ran the zones manually by turning the solenoids in the valve box and everything was fine. I turned a zone on for 20 seconds via the rachio and now have a pool of water several hours later.

Has anyone experienced this? Could it possibly be the controller?


#2

The clock should have nothing to do with it. Usually when I see a leaking head it has to do with the slope of the property. It is always the lowest head on the zone that is leaking. To fix it I would install check valves in the heads themselves. It is just a rubber seal that goes in the bottom of each head and they cost about $1 per head at the most.


#3

@cjmonty786, do you happen to know what the make/model of the valves are? How many heads are leaking?

As @Munch mentioned, the controller shouldn’t be the root cause of this issue. An easy test to double check would be to run a zone for a minute, double check to see the Status light is still lit up blue, then check the leaking sprinkler head(s).

Additionally, could you post or email our support team [support@rachio.com] a photo of your wiring for a quick review?

Thanks, Emil


#4

Thanks for the responses. The valves are pgvs and the heads are hunter I 20s. I also have master valve installed. I know its not the contoller but have no couter argument to his. I notice the problem seems to go away when he comes and fixs things. Then the problem gets progressively worse as time goes on after he leaves.

I might give the check valve idea a try. It does seems to be one head per zone that has the pooling.

Any other suggestions would be great!


#5

The best way to tell if you just need the check valves is when you turn the system on after sitting for a while does it sound like there is air in the pipes. The heads may pop up at first and sputter. If it does the valves are holding back the water but the heads are not. If not you would have to have at least two leaking valves (master and zone valve). To see if it is the clock you can disconnect the ground wire from the valves or clock after running the system. With the ground disconnected there is no way for the clock to activate the valves. I hope this helps.


#6

@Munch, great advice! Thanks for sharing.

@cjmonty786, have you had a chance to troubleshoot this any further? I’m curious if you maybe have a stuck valve (or valves)?

To check, I’d recommend watching this video.

If your water supply is dirty (i.e. from a pump/pond) the debris in the water might clog up the valves. Your sprinkler company could install a filter on the system to prevent this debris from entering the system. Just an idea…

Hope this helps!

Best, Emil


#7

My irrigation system is pretty new as well, as it was put in last Fall. I have become aware of “Low Head Drainage” from this thread and have done some research on the topic and realized that I am probably wasting quite a bit of water as well as putting addition stress and wear on the heads and system. Seems that some irrigation companies think this is normal and not a big issue, as mine brushed it off as no big deal when I asked him why it takes some time for the sprinklers to come on (thinking that the lines should be full of water) while the system filled all the lines with water again.

Seems that unscrewing the heads and installing check valves in all of the heads (or at least all of the heads that are low) is the easiest/cheapest way to solve the problem. Does anyone know if these check valves fit any make/model head or there are versions that fit most of them, as I have a few different type/make of heads.


#8

yes! this happens in my yard every time the irrigation runs. the lowest head in the zone drains the system. i can live with it.

also, a valve that is not fully closing could cause this as well, but i would expect it to never stop if that is the case.

if you wanted to rule out the controller complete, i would suspect that running the system for 2 minutes then pulling the plug on the unit, that will take the controller to completely rule out.


#9

@plainsane, this should do the trick :wink:

@jimB34m, here’s a good 3rd party support article on stopping low head drainage sprinklers. I’d recommend swapping out the sprinkler heads in these areas with new heads, designed with check valves, such as Rainbird’s 1800-SAM Series. Simply twist out the head and replace. If you use the same make/brand head, you should be able to reuse the nozzle(s).

Hope this helps :smile:

Best, Emil


#10

[quote=“jimB34m, post:7, topic:1586”]
Does anyone know if these check valves fit any make/model head or there are versions that fit most of them, as I have a few different type/make of heads.
[/quote] The check valves are made by each manufacturer for each type of head they make. You will have to know the make and model number of each head you want to put a check valve in. I have installed them in all makes and models of Rainbird, Hunter/Orbit and Toro heads. If you have those types of heads you can definitely get check valves for them.


#11

Great, thanks for the information. I believe I just have Rainbird and Hunter, so it sounds like I should be fine. Is there any advantage to go with replacing the heads with the check valve versions vs the cheaper option of just installing check valves in the existing?


#12

[quote=“jimB34m, post:11, topic:1586”]
Is there any advantage to go with replacing the heads with the check valve versions vs the cheaper option of just installing check valves in the existing?
[/quote]No there is no difference. You would be buying the same head with the optional check valve installed at the factory.


#13

Great, thanks!