Zone valves are the mechanical devices that turn
the water on and off to the individual sections of the system.
Water meters and water service lines cannot provide enough water to
water an entire yard at once, so the system is typically broken up
into several individual zones or stations.
The concept of
"zones" also allows the professional irrigator to group areas based
on watering need. Flower beds verses grass, sunny areas verses
shady areas, etc. Valves are typically installed near the area they
water. Sometimes valves can be installed above the ground and
grouped in a "manifold" near a faucet or water source.
There are two basic types of valves being used today. Manual
valves, that require a person to turn them on and off, and
automatic or electric valves, that are operated by the electric
Manual valves require very little discussion. They are simple: if
you know where they are and have a wrench (or valve key) to turn
them on, all you need is a watchful eye and a string around your
finger to remember how long they should run. Systems with manual
valves are seldom installed today. Existing manual valve systems
can be easily upgraded to automatic control for reduced hassle and
greater efficiency by a professional contractor.
Automatic valves are a bit more involved, but you would be amazed
at the simplicity of the
that operates these devices. Most modern systems installed today
rely on automatic electric valves.
Most automatic valves operate on 24-volt electricity. Wires run in
the ground along with the main line pipe to the valve and are
connected to the controller. When the controller sends the 24 volt
current to the valve, it opens. When the current is cut the valve
closes. The control wires are connected to an electric solenoid on
each valve that converts the energy of the current and mechanically
operates the valve.
If you cut any of the control wires in a system, you must repair
them with an approved waterproof connector designed for direct
burial. Wire nuts, electrical tape, or just a twist of the wires is
not enough to keep water from eventually corroding the connection
and interrupting the normal flow of current. Locating and repairing
bad wire splices can be time consuming and costly.
If you think you have cut your control wires, call your irrigation
contractor to make the necessary repairs. Broken wires or damaged
wire insulation will lead to further problems down the road.
Remember, direct burial connectors are the only approved repair
Zone valves are generally buried in a "valve box". This is usually
a 6 inch round plastic box with a green lid. Boxes can be covered
with grass or mulch, but it is a good idea to have a general idea
of their location in case service is needed.
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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