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What To Do If A Zone Will Not Shut Off

What To Do If A Zone Will Not Shut Off


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what do you do if your sprinkler won't shut off?

If a zone keeps running after it's set to turn off, a component of the system is clearly not working properly.  It could be as simple as a scheduling mistake with your sprinkler controller or as troublesome as a mechanical error that would require going in, performing a manual shut down, and locating the problem.

This can be done one of two ways; you can shut off the system using the controller or the shut-off valve found at the source of water.

Shutting down your sprinkler with the controller

Sprinkler System Controller

This is as simple as locating the "Off" switch on the controller. Different controllers may have the "Off" button under other names such as "Rain Off" or "Rain", following the logic that in the event of rain, sprinkler systems no longer need to run and scheduled runs would be cancelled electronically.

Activating the "Off" switch is the most you can do for shutting down your system with the controller. Disconnecting the controller by unplugging it won't do much more; in fact, it may disrupt your regular watering schedule altogether meaning you'll have to go in and redo the programming.

If after turning the controller dial to "Off" your sprinkler is still on, then what you have is a mechanical issue and your system needs to be manually turned off at the water source.

Sprinkler System valve or backflow preventer inground cover

This is a sprinkler valve or
backflow inground device cover

Shutting down your sprinkler via the shut-off valve

The shut-off valve can be found at the source of water for your irrigation system. Turning it off will cut the water flow to your sprinkler but not to the rest of the house or facility.

Backflow Prevention Devices can also be a point of shut off. To locate your backflow, look for a green rectangle. This is the box housing your backflow. If you have an older backflow, the box may be oval shaped. It's most likely positioned near the road within your property and within close range of the water meter.  Be sure to brush long grass aside when searching for the box as it may be buried beneath new growth.


Backflow device handle in the on position

The device is on when the handle
is parallel with the water-flow.

Backflow Device Handle in the off position

The device is off when the handle
is perpendicular with the water-flow.

Backflows can sometimes be above ground in septic drain fields or earlier systems.

After finding your backflow, you'll need to shut it off. Backflows have two shut off valves. Water flow to your house or facility will not be effected.

Ball Valves:

Newer backflows will have ball valves. Rotate the "T" shaped handle clock-wise to cut off the water.

The handle may be difficult to turn if this is the first time it's been moved.

Gate Valves:

Earlier backflow models are equipped with gate valves. Turn the faucet-like lever clock-wise to cut off the water.The handle may be difficult to turn if this is the first time it's been moved.

Use leather gloves if there is any resistance when turning the handles as they make break and cause injury if corroded.


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