My System Keeps Running When It’s
Not Supposed To
When a part of the system stays on well after the scheduled shut
down time, you know you have a problem. Sometimes the problem is an
error in setting up the watering schedule in the irrigation
controller. In other instances, there is a mechanical problem and
you will need to manually turn off the water.
There are two places to turn off the sprinkler system: the system
controller and a shut-off valve at the water source.
Turning Off the System at the Controller
irrigation controller has an OFF position. Depending upon the model
or manufacturer of the controller, the OFF setting can be called
RAIN OFF, RAIN, or simply OFF. In each instance the switch or dial
position does the same thing; it shuts off the system
If you turn the switch or dial on the controller to the OFF
position, you have done all you can do at the controller. You can
un-plug the unit at the wall, but in most cases, that won’t get you
any further. (Note: un-plugging the controller could result in the
loss of the watering program and require re-programming to
reactivate the system.)
If the water is still running after you set the controller to the
OFF position, this indicates that there is a mechanical problem
with your system that will require you to manually turn the water
off at the source.
Turning Off the System at the Water Source
To turn the
system off at
the water source, you will need to locate the MAIN EMERGENCY CUTOFF
for the sprinkler system. This will turn off the sprinkler system
water without turning off the water to the entire house or
The valves on your backflow prevention device can act as the
easiest to locate EMERGENCY CUT OFF. To assist you in locating the
backflow device and correctly operating the valves, we are
including pictures and information below.
The backflow device is usually located near the street in a
rectangular box with a green lid. Older devices can be in a oval
shaped box. In most cases the box sits inside the property line
near the water meter. It may be difficult to see, since grass may
have grown over the cover!
In some situations backflow devices are located above the ground.
These are usually associated with septic drain fields or in some
Once you have located the device, turning it off is the next step.
Each backflow device has two cut off valves, each does the same
job. They turn off the water at the source without turning off the
water to the house.
Modern backflow devices are equipped with "ball
valves". Each has a handle that appears as a "T" shaped lever on
the backflow device. Rotate either of them in a clock-wise
direction to shut the flow of water. When completed, the "T" will
be positioned across the flow of the water through the pipe and you
should see the flow of water stop.
(There may be
a good deal of resistance in moving this handle, the device may
have been in service a long time and the valves may have never been
Older devices have "gate valves" with handles
that look like faucet handles. Rotate either one in a clock-wise
fashion until the water in the system is off.
The handles of these devices are notorious for twisting off due to
corrosion. Be careful when forcing these handles, they can cause a
nasty cut if broken off. You may want to wear some leather
ONCE THE SYSTEM IS OFF, CALL YOUR IRRIGATION CONTRACTOR TO THE
LOCATE THE PROBLEM AND REPAIR IT!
If you are planning to install a sprinkler system, give us a call.
We can assure you that we will be committed to installing a system
that will save you water and provide your landscape with just the
right amount of water that it needs to thrive. Give us a call today
or fill out our online
for an appointment. We service the entire Houston
metropolitan area as well as San Antonio, Austin and Dallas. Become
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