How to Clean Out Sprinkler Valves

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A functioning lawn sprinkler system maintains a healthy grass system.
A functioning lawn sprinkler system maintains a healthy grass system. (Image: lawn,grass image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com)

A lawn sprinkler system is an important addition to any yard because it maintains a healthy evenly-green lawn with a minimum of work. Over time, however, due to dirt and debris clogging the sprinkler system, the sprinkler valves may need to be taken apart and cleaned. The sprinkler valves are very sensitive and can become clogged from a small piece of dirt, debris or a small insect. Sprinkler valves can also become damaged by wind-propelled debris or by an accidental impact with a lawn mower or weed eater. To keep your sprinkler system running efficiently, it’s important to inspect and clean the valves regularly.

Disconnect power to the sprinkler system by turning off the circuit breaker that controls the system before attempting any work. Turn off the water supply as well to prevent water pressure from building up.

Locate the sprinkler valve solenoid that needs to be cleaned. The solenoid is a thin cylinder and can be identified by the wires coming off of each end.

Remove the valve lid by unscrewing the screws that hold the lid in place using a screwdriver. If your system does not have screws, simply twist the valve lid off by turning it counter-clockwise. This will reveal the sprinkler valve. Turn the valve counterclockwise in order to release the valve from the sprinkler head. The valve will simply spring out once turned.

Turn the top of the valve; this will open the valve housing. Continue to twist the valve until it’s released all the way. Remove the diaphragm and spring that are both located inside the valve.

Clean the diaphragm by removing any dirt or debris using your fingers or a soft cloth. Clean the housing and valve with a soft cloth as well, in order to prevent water from being blocked by any dirt or debris.

Rebuild the sprinkler valve by putting the parts back in place. Place the sprinkler valve back into the sprinkler housing. Repeat these steps for other sprinkler valves that need to be cleaned.

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