Ugh, we never want to see this happen! Question of the week addresses turning on/off your irrigation system!
Q: I went to turn on my irrigation and when I turned on the valve, water began to shoot everywhere. I turned it back off and found a crack on the shutoff. What went wrong? (See photo)
A: Great question! This is a problem we get phone calls from homeowners quite a bit. The valve you are talking about is a ball valve which is usually located in the reduced pressure assembly.
This valve is not designed for use to shut off your irrigation in the winter. It is for “emergency” shutoff if the irrigation system fails at the box or you need to make repairs past the reduced pressure assembly.
What happened is when you used it as a main “shutoff” for the winter, the ball valve trapped water in it. The trapped water proceeded to freeze, causing the brass to crack which caused your crack.
The shut off you are looking for is usually a gate valve. It should be about 2- 3 feet below grade to prevent freezing in the winter. You would have needed to have a long key to get access to the shutoff.
If you decide to shut down and turn on your irrigation system on your own, become very familiar with your it.
Ask the person who installed it, or call someone who is experienced with irrigation systems to walk you through the steps. This type of repair will cost you a few hundred dollars - cheaper if the person who installed it used unions for easy removal.
Desert Rose Landscape does provide this service, but only to irrigation systems we have installed and to properties that we maintain on a year-round basis that have a system someone else installed.
Let us know of other questions that come up!