When a Zone Won’t Shut Off

Troubleshooting (see the Troubleshooting Charts)

What should I do if my system won’t shut off?

The problem could be something easily identified. It could be a programming mistake in the controller, in which case a quick double-check of the program will fix it. It might also be something major like a mechanical error. That type of problem requires manually shutting down the system and tracking down the problem.

OK, it’s not a program problem. How do I shut the system down?

Find the “Off” switch on your controller. Some controllers may call this button “Rain off” or “Rain.” The logic behind that labeling is that, if it rains, the irrigation system doesn’t need to run and any programs would be canceled.
shut off your irrigaiton controller
Turning your system off by using the “Off” switch is the only way of shutting your system off using the controller. Some people disconnect the controller by unplugging it; however, shutting your system down this way may also erase your regular programs. In that case, you’ll need to reprogram the entire irrigation system.

If you’ve turned your system off using the button and it’s still running, you have a mechanical issue. Before troubleshooting this issue, you need to manually turn off the water supply at the irrigation system’s source.

How do I shut off the water at the irrigation system’s source?

There are two methods shutting off your irrigation system’s water supply. One is via the shut-off valve located at the water source. Simply turn this valve to the closed position; the water supply to your irrigation system is now shut off, but the rest of your house or facility still has water.

The second method is using the valve at your Backflow Prevention Device. Most modern systems house the Backflow Prevention Device in a green rectangular box; older backflows may be housed in an oval-shaped box. Backflows are usually located within your property line near the road and in close range of the water meter. If you have long grasses in these areas, your backflow may be hidden.
Some backflows may be above ground in septic drain fields, so be sure to check there, too. Once you find your backflow, you can shut off the water supply to your irrigation system using the two valves there. Your house or facility will still have water.

Depending on the age of your irrigation system, you may have either ball valves or gate valves

Ball Valves

Backflows for newer systems have ball valves. Turn the “T” shaped handle clock-wise to turn off the water supply. If this is the first time this valve has been used, the handle may be hard to turn.

Gate Valves

Older systems have backflows that are equipped with gate valves. You will find a faucet-like lever and you need to turn it clock-wise to shut off the water. Just like the ball valve, the handle may be hard to turn if this is the first time it’s been used. You should wear thick, protective gloves for this task. The handles may be difficult to turn. You will want to prevent injury in the event the handle is corroded and breaks.