Being an important part of your irrigation system, solenoid valves control the flow to water your lawn. It receives the signal from the controller to start or end your watering schedules. This article helps you to know more about the solenoid valve and how the controller works with it.
1. What is a solenoid?
What’s a solenoid? Every valve has one — a coil component that uses electrical signals from the irrigation controller to open and close each valve, letting water move through the system.
2. What Causes Solenoid Valve Failure?
2.1 Incorrect Voltage
An excessive voltage running through your solenoid valve can easily burn and short it out, which would cause unrepairable damage. Make sure the voltage allowance matches the voltage output of your irrigation system.
2.2 Liquid Contact
Any electrical appliance should stay away from liquid to maintain in good condition, so does the solenoid valve. O-rings would help to create watertight seals to prevent the flowing water, but water from the outside like rain is unpreventable. Check your valve box.
2.3 Sediment Damage
There is a very small possibility that sediment can get into the pipe and finally get stuck in the valve, but sometimes, it does. Those sediments would lead to significant issues, causing the system to overheat, damaging the components within the valve. In some cases, you'll need to disassemble the valve and clean it up, and finally, put it back together.
2.4 Excess Water Pressure
Excessive water pressure in an irrigation system can lead to the failure of the solenoid valve and the need for replacement of substantial sections of the system. It is imperative to thoroughly verify the pressure capabilities of all elements within the irrigation setup prior to implementation.
2.5 Temperature Changes
Damage to solenoid valves can also be caused by significant temperature changes. Solenoid valves are only designed to withstand a specific temperature range, and extreme hot or cold weather can cause wear and tear, leading to the need for replacement.
3. How Do You Diagnose A Faulty Solenoid Valve?
There are three common signs that your sprinkler valve solenoid has gone bad:
- Low water pressure – When your lawn develops brown spots, then you can almost be certain that the water pressure is too low. This is because brown spots mean that the water is not reaching far enough from the sprinkler.
- Water leaks – Overpressure in the system due to excessive water pressure creates excessive stress and results in leaks throughout the system.
- Never-ending water –This implies that the valve solenoid is either fully stuck in the open position or partially open, which can be caused by various issues that disrupt its opening or closing functions.
Diagnosing issues with solenoid valves are usually straightforward due to their simple design. However, it's important to keep in mind that other factors besides the solenoid can cause problems. To accurately identify the issue, it's best to inspect the solenoid first. If you're not confident in your abilities, consider contacting an irrigation expert. Alternatively, you can inspect it yourself if you have the necessary expertise.
4. Common Solenoid Valve Problems.
4.1 Valve not closing
An irrigation solenoid valve that won't close is likely caused by a faulty plunger, which can be a result of mismatched voltage. To resolve this issue, first turn off the water source. Then, check for any electrical damage and test the voltage of your irrigation system to ensure it matches the valve's tolerance. If there is a power spike, installing surge protection may be necessary.
4.2 Valve not opening
If your irrigation solenoid valve isn't working, it's usually because there's some blockage in the valve that's preventing it from opening. The solution is to take apart the valve and remove the debris to fix the problem.
4.3 Valve leaking
A leak in irrigation solenoid valves and sprinkler systems can be caused by various factors such as broken o-rings, seals, high pressure, damaged valves, and clogged distribution lines. To fix the issue, one may need to replace the damaged parts, clear blockages, or install a pressure regulator.
The best way to avoid leaks is to regularly maintain the system and take preventative measures such as installing an irrigation filter, properly winterizing the system, and using high-quality manifold fittings with thicker o-rings.
4.4 Solenoid Getting Hot
If your solenoid valve feels hot, it could be due to an electrical problem or blockage in the mechanism. To determine the cause, you should inspect the valve. If there's sediment or debris inside, it may be causing the overheating. On the other hand, if the issue is electrical, inspecting the circuit will reveal the problem.
5. What can I do if the valve is not working?
5.1 Check for blockages
. Look for any blockages caused by sand or rocks within your solenoid valve
. Removing any debris will usually fix the issue
5.2 Inspect for damage
. Check for damage such as ruptures, melted plastic, or burnt-out coils or electronics
. If any damage is found, a replacement solenoid valve is needed
5.3 Consult with a professional
. If replacement or repair is needed, talk to your irrigation contractor
. Find out what caused the damage and what steps can be taken to prevent it in the future
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