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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I live where you can't grow a lawn, or vegetable garden, without irrigation. I'm slowly converting my lawn into xeriscape but I do like having the veggie garden on a timed irrigation system.

It also gets cold enough that the sprinklers need to be blown out each fall to prevent the lines from freezing and bursting.

This weekend I went through the almost annual process of replacing the main outside valve on the system because it had, yet again, cracked during the winter time. I always have the sprinklers blown out and drain the line from the outside valve back to the valve located in my crawlspace. I've tried leaving the outside valve in the open position, closed position, and halfway in between - and every year or two the darn thing sprays water all over the place once I turn the system on in the spring. The valve is the highest point in the system.

I'm starting to suspect that the inside valve weeps such that the line fills with water after the sprinkler service guy winterizes the lines.

Does anyone have better ideas why I have such bad luck with this thing?
 

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Devoid of all flim-flam
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I'm an inveterate sprinkler tinkerer but you're operating well above my level of expertise.
 

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Crusty AF
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I live where you can't grow a lawn, or vegetable garden, without irrigation. I'm slowly converting my lawn into xeriscape but I do like having the veggie garden on a timed irrigation system.

It also gets cold enough that the sprinklers need to be blown out each fall to prevent the lines from freezing and bursting.

This weekend I went through the almost annual process of replacing the main outside valve on the system because it had, yet again, cracked during the winter time. I always have the sprinklers blown out and drain the line from the outside valve back to the valve located in my crawlspace. I've tried leaving the outside valve in the open position, closed position, and halfway in between - and every year or two the darn thing sprays water all over the place once I turn the system on in the spring. The valve is the highest point in the system.

I'm starting to suspect that the inside valve weeps such that the line fills with water after the sprinkler service guy winterizes the lines.

Does anyone have better ideas why I have such bad luck with this thing?
In my previous house, I installed a quarter turn shutoff in the basement inline to the outside valve. The shutoff also had a drain/bleeder on it, which you make sure to put on the downstream side. Come late fall (in Toronto), you close the shutoff, open the outside valve, then bleed the line. I would leave the bleeder open all winter, with a bucket underneath JIC. Never had an issue.

Is your crawlspace inside the house, or outside? My line went from my basement through a small (too small to fit into) crawlspace under a kitchen addition, then out the foundation wall to the backyard. Basement space was basically conditioned air, crawlspace was separated by a membrane, but basically unconditioned (so freezing conditions in the worst of winter).

You could also try putting foam pipe wrap around the line to give you a few extra degrees of insulation, if you can slide it along the line. (edit: i had assumed your outside valve was at your house, but that may not be the case for an inground sprinkler system, which is what it sounds like you have. Pipe wrap won't help with the stuff outside the house, though you could mulch over the exterior line with 6-8" of mulch, and insulate that way).

If you suspect it's a weeping internal valve, replace it (and I HIGHLY recommend the 1/4 turn valves over the round one!).
 

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Get off my lawn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
In my previous house, I installed a quarter turn shutoff in the basement inline to the outside valve. The shutoff also had a drain/bleeder on it, which you make sure to put on the downstream side. Come late fall (in Toronto), you close the shutoff, open the outside valve, then bleed the line. I would leave the bleeder open all winter, with a bucket underneath JIC.
That's exactly what I have although I haven't tried leaving the bleeder open before. the thought to do so (with a bucket underneath) had occurred to me this weekend.

I turned all the valves closed and plan to open the bleeder in a few weeks to see if any water has accumulated in the lines.

I'm about to get quotes from plumbers to relocated an outside faucet to make room for the deck I plan to build this summer so if I can identify the problem is might make sense to have them fix it too.

Thanks
 

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Get a hose?
 

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1. Use a ball valve or make sure the valve shuts completely off, leaving the bleed valve open is good.
2. Some control valves may retain water that freezes possibly or water is getting into the system? If so, put some heat tape on the valve, and insulate the whole box as best you can. Figure out if the ground gets below 32, if it does insulate the sides in addition to the top.
 

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A few things. Make sure all the valves are open. You should have drain plug on the bottom of the valve. Pull that out every fall. That should drain it a bit more. Also once you have the water turned off and all the valves open, run the system through all the cycles. This will open the sectional valves and let them drain.

Leave all the system valves open all winter.

I've been dealing with sprinkler systems in colorado for 30 years. Never had to blow one out and have never frozen a main valve.
 

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None of these posts describe using an air compressor to blow water out of the system , which is what I assume everybody does. The 2 systems I deal with have air compressor taps located between the inside water valve and the zone valves.

I shut of the main water valve, have the system open the zones, one by one, open the compressor valve and blow the water out with an air. Then and when air is now blowing out the heads, move to next zone and finally shut off the system. I typically have to recharge the compressor as few times, running it at around 120 psi to reach the most distant heads.

Been doing this for 15 years in NY metro are where it gets down to zero F sometimes, never had a problem.
 
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