Reserve Irrigation trouble shooting guide to sprinkler leaks, broken head, timer not working and other sprinkler problems.

System will not run. Timer is showing that it should be running, but nothing is happening.

First things you should check.

  1. Is the water on in the basement
  2. Is the water on at the backflow (Landscapers & Fertilizer companies will sometime turn the water off at a property if the system is running while they are trying to work or if the lawn is saturated to the point where it effects their work)

The most frequent problem we have is related to the timer, and its relation to the rain sensor. A system will not operate from the timer if the rain sensor has told it to remain off. The Bypass feature on the timer will not override the rain sensor on 95% of the sytems. The sensor makes and breaks the common to the remote valves, and if it is tripped, the valves can't open electrically. This would be the same as turning off a switch to a light bulb. It won't illuminate until you turn the switch back on. We recommend letting the system sit for up-to 3 days to let the rain sensor dry out if it has rained recently.

Older timers:

Lots of timers are wired to GFI outlets. Most homeowners should be familiar with these. If the GFI outlet has tripped, it will cancel power to the timer. Just because the LED display is active doesn't mean the timer has power. The battery backup will run the LED display, and all of the timer functions. It will not operate the system, as the timer needs 120 volts to the transformer, and 24 volts inside the timer. The battery is only 9 volts, and is there to keep the time and memory current. Check the rain sensor first, then the power source if your system fails to run. You can always tell if the timer has power by removing the battery. If this kills the display, there is no power to the transformer, or the transformer itself is bad. Try plugging the transformer into an extension cord from an outlet you know works if you have any doubts.

All of the timers we use are multi program. The timer is meant to run all three or four programs simultaneously. You may not need more than one program, but if you do, it is important that the start times do not overlap. In other words, you can't write an A program that is three hours long, start it at 3:00AM, and then start a B program at 4:00 AM. In this case, two separate valves would be open simultaneously, and the water pressure would not be enough to run both. To run properly, you would have to wait until the A program was over at 6:00 AM, and then run the B program. Timers will all open more than one valve at a time, and in most cases, the water supply won't drive two zones at once.

Newer Timers:

Most newer hybrid timers have a non-volatile memory, meaning that all times and programs are retained in a power failure. There is no need for a battery backup. When the power is out, the LED display will die to save power. It also has a perpetual calendar, so it will automatically compensate for leap years, and daylight savings time.

When writing or changing programs, make certain that you are in the program you want, IE; A, B, or C. This is changed by toggling the "Program" button on the timer face. This timer has stackable programs, meaning that A takes precedence over B, and B takes precedence over C. If you wrote an A program that was four hours long, and started at midnight, and also wrote a B program that was four hours long, stating at 2:00AM, they would overlap. The timer would hold the B program from running until 4:00AM, when the A program finished. This prevents two zones from running at once. All information that you write into the timer is entered by turning the main dial back to "Run", which is the 12:00 o'clock position. You can change multiple settings in any part of the blue section, and then enter by turning back to "Run".

If you are having trouble, try reading the manual first. If all else fails, please feel free to give us a call. We are happy to help out. Please remember that majority of residential systems only require one start time along with each active station having a run time.

I think I have a leak

There are two different types of leaks

Do you think you have a leak that is constantly running? If so here are some easy ways to determine if you do.
Make sure that you are not using any water in the house and look at your water meter. On most meters there is a triangle device, this is referred to as the �leak indicator� it is the most sensitive measuring device on the meter. Look at the triangle for 10-15 seconds to see if it is slowly moving. Then go and turn a sink on to a slow dribble and look at the meter to compare. Turn the sink off and if the meter is still moving then turn the isolation valve off to the sprinkler in the basement. If the meter stops moving you have determined there is a leak or weeping valve in the system. If the meter is still moving after you turn the isolation valve off for the irrigation system then you have a leak somewhere within your home plumbing system.

Do you think you have a leak in a zone that only leaks when the system is running?

Is area near a sprinkler head? If so does any of the following apply to the sprinkler head.

  1. Is the head in a lower elevation area
  2. Is the head to grade and level or is the head tilted and or below grade

If either of those apply to the sprinkler head you may just need to bring the head level to grade or install a check valve at the head to hold water that is naturally going to want to drain out of the lowest head.

If neither applies you may just have a head, fitting or piece of pipe that needs to be replaced. schedule a service call

I have HUGE water bill. Please keep in mind the following information

  1. A typical system (5-7 zones) may run $600-$1,200+ a summer in water related costs
  2. In order to receive 1� of water on an acre site it requires more then 27,000 gallons of water. And it is recommended to apply 1� of water on a site every week.
  3. Many water purveyors may estimate your usage for a number of months and then do an actual meter reading. So you may get a consistent water bill and then a large one (typically they do meter readings in during August/September.) You bill may indicate if it was an actual meter reading or an estimated reading. You may also call your water purveyor to review your summers bills and find out if and when which bills were estimated. When they estimate they are not estimating for any irrigation only water used in the home typical for the area or size.

I have a zone that does not work

If you have one zone that will not turn on there may be an electrical problem with the timer, wire or valve solenoid. You can trouble shoot yourself or schedule a service call.

I have a zone that will not shut off

Sounds like you either have had a power surge to your timer or even likely that you may have some debris inside the valve that is preventing it from closing. You can schedule a service call or clean the valve out or take an electrical reading from the zone terminal on the timer to see if a constant signal is being sent even when the zone should not be in operation.

I have a sprinkler head that is not rotating anymore

This could be a result of either a clogged filter or worn out gears in the head. schedule a service call

I have a head that the water is just flushing out of the top

This could be a result of a worn seal or a head that has been damaged

I have a head that will not pop up

This could be a result of debris in the line. A broken line upstream of the head or a broken fitting in the area of the head. schedule a service call

I have a head that will not retract

Sounds like either that head may need to be taken apart and reassembled to make sure all the internal gears are lined up or it is time for a new head. schedule a service call