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Thread: Irrigation Mystery

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Pete215's Avatar
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    Default Irrigation Mystery

    As an avid 'Do It Yourselfer' I love solving a good home maintenance mystery, usually with the help of the Internet. But I have an irrigation issue that absolutely defies any explanation. Just one zone of the ten in my yard's system will turn on normally and run for as long as 1 minute 15 seconds, and then pressure dies while the Pressure Vacuum Breaker pulses large gushes of water from just under the cap onto the ground. This happens whether I open the valve manually or with the controller. Adjusting the flow rate up or down also makes no difference. The remaining nine zones work normally.
    So far everyone I've talked to maintains that it is not the PVB because the other nine zones work normally, and it is not the zone valve diaphragm, because it works normally initially. It must be a leak they say, but I have searched extensively any kind of leak or wet spots and cannot find any. Plus I've had several leaks before and the PVB did not gush water nor did the zone operate normally for any length of time before malfunctioning.
    The system is 23 years old, I built it myself, and has the following components: Rainbird PVB 150 (1.5") and Randel 216PR zone valves.
    The three issues that I feel make this problem different are:
    #1: The PVB gushes water during the malfunction.
    #2: Manually opening the valve makes no difference.
    #3: The system operates normally for up to 1 1/4 minutes before failing.
    I'd welcome any opinions or ideas that might solve this mystery but so far I can find no one on the Internet that has had an identical experience.

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member dj2's Avatar
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    Default

    1. Try replacing the valve. Install a new brass valve and see if your problem continues.

    2. If your problem persists, we'll go to #3.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member Pete215's Avatar
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    Default Found it!!

    Quote Originally Posted by dj2 View Post
    1. Try replacing the valve. Install a new brass valve and see if your problem continues.

    2. If your problem persists, we'll go to #3.
    Well, good news. I found the leak. I did exactly what was recommended, and blocked all 25 (low volume) emitters in zone one, and did a walk through after turning the zone on. But the mystery continues. Initially the entire zone was bone dry, so I went back to the source, the PVB. And water was bubbling out of the ground about 2 feet from the PVB. The PVB was not pulsing water as before, even after several minutes. The reason I didn't see the leak before, is because when the PVB was pulsating large amounts of water out, it was over the area where the leak was. The 'Mystery' as I see it, is that the leak is long before the zone one valve. And the remaining nine zones still operate normally, with absolutely no water at all leaking out of area I found severely leaking when zone one is on. Could be that only zone one builds up enough pressure to separate a big crack in the PVC underground. Give me a few days to repair the leak and recheck everything, and I'll let everyone know what I found and if everything is back to normal.

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