Once your irrigation system has been designed and installed your yard should look beautiful and your system should be running perfectly. The problem is overtime some parts of your system will need to be repaired, replaced and serviced. It's a great idea to keep some extra copies of your irrigation plan in a safe place in case you need it as reference down the road. If you are having difficulty locating an irrigation valve you have a few viable solutions. The simplest method is to contact an irrigation contractor, but this can be costly and it defeats the purpose if your are interested in doing it yourself. The quickest method that requiers the least amount of work is to purchase a specialized device called a valve locator which will take the guess work out of the equation, however the downside is that they are pricey and are not normally for rent. Below are some tips on where to look in your yard to locate your valves:
Check the area around your water source for the backflow preventer.
It's pretty common to have a your irrigation water supply connected to the house's water supply opposed to it being connected to a pump. Most cities have an above ground backflow preventer located near the water meter. Once you have located the backflow preventer you can take a screwdriver (around 12" long) and very gently probe around a six foot area around the backflow device. You want to probe very gently because you don't want to puncture any irrigation pipes or wires. Once you hit something solid probe that section to make sure it's at least 6" in size, the general size of your valve and begin digging.
Check around the area where your timer (also known as a controller) is located. Check this area in the same way as you probed for your backflow preventer.
Turn on the defective zone and see which sprinklers pressurize first. The first heads to pressurize are the ones closest to the valve. If your valves will not come on at all this is will not be an option.
Check the corners of your home. The corners of the house are a very common place to position valves in an irrigation layout.
Check 2 feet from the sides off the walls of your home.
If your system was installed with a walk-behind-trencher, the valves will be located about two feet off of the walls.
Purchase a valve locator. Purchase a specialized piece of equipment which detects valves by transmitting and receiving a signal. (see below for more information)
Contact an irrigation contractor Click here for a list of contractors in your area
Products like Armada's Pro 700 are great at getting the job done when locating valves. The Pro 700 incorporates a powerful transmitter and sensitive receiver, it tracks irrigation wires, finds missing valves, and detects damage to vulnerable underground cabling.
The Pro-700 transmits an easy to follow beeping signal that is tracked by the extra long receiver. It is simple to use, connect the transmitter to ground and the wire to be tracked and turn it on. Follow the beeps with the receiver using the visual meter, external speaker, or a headset. It is that simple.
For more information on how to use Armada's Pro 700: