hidden from sight
we bought this house and the lady who owned it before us had the lawn resodded 3 times. now she's gone, there's no telling who installed the sprinkler system, and i can't find the water shut off valve. i also can't find any of the solenoids(sp?). parts of the back yard stay wet all the time even when it hasn't rained for a long time. i'm guessing either a stuck solenoid or a leak. either way i need to find the water shutoff and digging up the yard is not an option. any ideas how to find the water shutoff valve or should i just bite the bullet and pay a professional to do this? thanks, bo
You've given us very little information to go on, but here's some place to start. Solenoids are connected to the controller with wires. Follow the wires from the controller. In a perfect world, the solenoids and their valves would be in a box quite close to the controller, but with a homeowner-designed and installed system all bets are off. If you can determine the direction the wires are headed and use some reasoning, you may be able to use a probe and find the box. There should be no water flowing in a sprinkler line if the solenoids are functioning correctly. The only time there is water in those lines is when the controller tells the solenoid to open the valve, so I would suspect a fault solenoid or perhaps a valve. If you live where it freezes in the winter, it is possible the system was not properly winterized and the damage may be freeze related. With everything hidden, if you can't find the solenoids fairly easily and quickly, it might be wise to get a professional sprinkler company to come in, locate everything, make sure it is properly repaired and operational, and give you some pointers on the care and feeding of the system. I should not be necessary to dig up the entire lawn.
To add to Gary's thoughts. The water supply has to be after your meter, assuming you are on public water, which may help you a little. I would put more faith in using the controller as a starting point. If you know anyone with tracing equipment, they can put a signal on the wires and easily trace them.
In my case there is over 300 feet between the controller and the solenoids.
Just to illustrate how much difference there can be in installations, my controller is 1 foot from the solenoids! Just through the basement wall and into the manifold box. So as I suggested in my first answer, unless you can locate things quickly, get the pros.