Zone wont shut off

In statistics, when you study the cause and effect, you have to learn that correlation does not imply causation (wiki link).

Valves which do not “shut off” do not usually fail completely. What usually happens is the time to turn off is increased, meaning the valve may take 5, 10 or some other number of minutes after it is dis-energized to actually turn off. During the regular schedule, when you are not paying attention to the irrigation, you are unlikely to even notice the increased runtime, meanwhile after a new system is installed and you have a clear indication of when the valve should start & stop, all of a sudden issues are apparent.

Rachio controller is using the AC supply to power the valves. You can use a multi-meter in order to measure the voltage output of the supply and let us know if it is much higher than 24VAC.

P.S. Solenoid valves, which is what Rachio is designed to control, are actually a natural anti-surge devices. The coil inside the solenoid is an inductor (link), which is a type of device which works against a quickly changing current, such as a surge when the valve is turned ON. Personally I believe that any power issues would primarily effect established customers, whereas valves which are turned ON on a daily basis would start failing, rather then those the controller turned on for the first time.


Gene, I understand that correlation doesn’t imply causation, but people in this forum seem very convinced that it must be the fault of the sprinkler system and not the conotroller even though our systems ran and shut off just fine before we switched controllers.

I’ll switch back to my old controller today just to be sure it isn’t the system, and I’ll post back.

Currently i’m able to reliably reproduce the zone 1 not shutting off about 1/3 of the time when using manual run in Rachio.

OK, so when that happens, disconnect the zone 1 wire at the controller. If it doesn’t stop watering, the valve is almost certainly bad.


@jaydge88 Alas you guys are not the first to think that their new controller is the source of troubles. I dare say not a month goes by where we are not helping troubleshoot a new install. Controller is rarely a source. Circuit Rachio uses to control the valves is relatively simple (just a triac with a surge suppressor), and issues with the controller show up as a zone not turning on, rather than turning off. Looking forward to seeing how well the valve works with your old controller. Make sure to run it at least 10 times to make sure you catch a 1 in 3 chance of the valve not working.

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I have had a Rachio 3e controller operating 3 zones, 1-2 and 3 for about a month now. It has been working great until last week, when zone one would not turn off. After reading the posts in this forum, I determined the solenoid was bad and replaced it a few days ago and it was working fine again. Fast forward to today and zone one is again not turning off. I have 2 Lawn Genie Electric siphon irrigation valves and one orbit… The Lawn Genie on Zone 1 is the one that I keep having problems with. Any suggestions as to what the problem might be?

@brian61 - another possibility is dirt in the valve. Flush out the valve or replace the innards of the valve.

So you mean to tell me that everyone including myself who installed a rachio controller and had zone 1 stuck open only after switching controllers is not evidence that something is flaky with the rachio controller? Seems like cop out to me. Why would every single person posting have the same issue with zone 1 being stuck open? That is not simply a mere coincidence but evidence of a flaw with the rachio controller.

If replacing the valve and or solenoid solved the problem that is evidence/proof that the problem was not the Rachio controller.

But why always zone 1 and why only after installing a rachio controller?

@eaf63 It is not always zone 1. I have seen threads here where zones other than 1 won’t turn off or won’t turn on. And this doesn’t only happen after installing a Rachio controller. This is where people come when they have problems installing Rachio as others here have said. But I have seen threads where the person had used a Rachio for 1 or 2 years and then had a problem with a valve not turning off or on. And I am sure if you looked at users of other controllers there would be lots of instances of failed solenoids and valves. Why the prevalence of zone 1 I don’t know. But if I had to guess that’s the first valve in the water line and that’s where dirt in the water has the first chance to be trapped.

If your Rachio is new and replacing the solenoid and/or valve doesn’t solve the problem the Rachio is still under warrenty and Rachio support is pretty good at responding.

Don’t forget that virtually everyone has a zone 1. Far more than those who have a zone 16.
statistics and all that jazz (yes, installers are likely to install zones starting with zone 1 even though that is not a requirement. :slight_smile:

Rachio opens the door to the water pipe and holds it open for water to go through. Once it turns off power the door is supposed to close itself using a spring. Rachio is not involved in the closing. All rachio is doing is putting out enough electricity to hold that door open with more force than the spring that is trying to close it. I’m using the word door when the real word is valve, but i hope the visual will make it easier to internalize.

If you remove power from the rachio, perhaps by remove the wire to that zone or by removing power from the entire Rachio unit, and the valve still stays open then its not an electrical problem anymore -science suggests this is more likely to be a mechanical problem. Rachio does not have any batteries onboard to keep it powered in an outage (which honestly i think is a shame, i would have loved to have some amount of battery reserve living in the brown-out state of california, perhaps as an option). But for your purposes, once power is pulled the rachio is dead and valves are supposed to go to their dormant closed state.

I suggest that when you put in your new rachio there may be a fair amount of stop/start cycles done as a part of testing the installation, schedules and whatnot. This may contribute to a valves demise ie if you had a bad valve or a valve about to go bad, a bunch a stop/starts may contribute and make it happen about the time when you put in the rachio. The correlation with Rachio has less to do with the Rachio and more to do with with cycling a declining valves more than normal, thus there is a weak correlation with new sprinkler controller. The fact that it is a rachio is noise, any sprinkler controller could have made that happen if you cycled valves a lot as a part of installation.

In my case, i knew that my old controller had equally or even older valves than the old timer. I try to proactively replace valves before they go bad, so for me i replaced them all as a part of the rachio install. I knew i wanted filters for my valves, and i knew i wanted valves where the filter could be cleaned without taking apart the valve itself. I got a hunter valve, model Hunter - ACZ075-25. It has a 150 micron aluminum mesh screen that is easily cleaned from the outside as well as a pressure regulator.
It replaced 20 year old rainbird valves, that seemed to work but i’d rather be safe than sorry.

So far these valves have been great, and given the cost i think its a well made investment to pick good valves. Especially since a stuck zone here in the SF bay area can cost me hundreds of dollars in waterbills.

If you like to read about causation and correlation, this is a decent paper published in the UK.
Illusions of causality: how they bias our everyday thinking and how they could be reduced


From my experience, the controller is almost the last thing I ever expect to have issues but always the first thing I check when trouble shooting. The reason for this is you don’t have to dig anything up but 9 times out of 10 it is in the field. When you have wire and mechanical things in the ground they tend to fail and have issues over time especially when they are switched off for significant amounts of time(i.e. rainy season, winter, etc.).

I usually suspect the controller when lightning and power surges are involved.

Just my 2 cents.

I landed here searching weathermatic zone issues. I exactly know what you mean. I replaced 6 valve top parts with new guts (Diaphragm and solenoid). The home is 8 yrs old. The issues started since 1 yr back ( Or atleast I started noticing).
Now I have one valve still lets water go out little bit as one of th heads oozes little bit of water when the valve is supposedly closed. I don’t know what to try. I opened the bonnet, cleaned everything and tried it couple of times.

When replacing the “top parts with new guts” are you replacing the bonnet top piece as well?

While it is pretty rare, the body of the valve can have a crack in the diaphragm seat area, which can cause this…Sometimes they can be impossible to see. About the only way to fix that is to replace the whole body.

Yes. I replaced the top piece as well.

I have the same issue after installing the Rachio 3. My irrigation system’s valves/solenoids/sprinkler heads, etc. are completely new as I have my entire irrigation system completely revamp. After everything was installed, I tested the new system using my old controller. Everything works fine for all 5 zones with my old controller. Then I replaced the old controller with Rachio 3, it worked fine the first time when I tested it out with the app. After the test, I set up the schedule and left the house for a few hours. When I came back, zone 5 has automatically started even though it was not scheduled to run that day. I was not able to turn it off on the app or manually on the controller. I disconnect the wire and zone 5 stopped (so the valve and solenoid is working as it should). I went to bed thinking everything was ok. I didn’t realize zone 1 was also automatically turned on. I woke up in the morning with my zone 1 lawn and sidewalk filled with pool of water. Again, I can’t turn it off via the app or manually on the controller. I unplugged zone 1 wire and again, zone 1 shuts off so the valve and solenoid is working as it should. I have used 4 different controllers before and never had any problem with any of them before. So just by process of elimination, it must be the Rachio 3. I know people who’s never have problem with the Rachio are probably fine with it and some of us may just happen to get bad ones. But I am almost 100% sure it’s the Rachio 3 controller.

@wesley - What type of schedule was created - Flex Daily by chance? If so, was the water table filled for each zone in the app? I mention this as Rachio will assume the zones are completely dry and water to fill them up.

Can the zones be run from the buttons on the front of the Rachio?

Are you using an original power supply? Or are you in 220V country and had to source your own?

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Thanks for responding. The schedule is Fixed Schedule running 1 day per week. I tried to stop the zone manually with the button on the Rachio but the zone won’t stop. I turned on the zone from the app and it worked fine but I have not tried turning on the zone with the button on Rachio. Will try that next.

I’m using 120V in the US. My original Rachio power supply (24V/1A) was not working. I can’t find an original replacement on Amazon or at Rachio so I used a third party (24V/2A) adapter. The multimeter confirms that the power output is 24V/2A and it powers up the Rachio fine. My concern is when I see the zone running, I can’t stop it with the app and I can’t stop it manually on the Rachio. Shouldn’t that be pretty straightforward that if I press the stop button on the Rachio, it should override every setting and stop.