Mr Sprinkler Repair

Sprinkler Repair

Mr Sprinkler Repair

How Do Sprinkler Valves Work?

Sprinkler valves are an integral part of an irrigation system, functioning as the control points for the flow of water to various sprinkler lines. Understanding how these valves work is essential for anyone looking to maintain a healthy, green landscape efficiently. Here, we’ll walk through the basics of sprinkler valve operation.

The Basics of Sprinkler Valve Operation

At its core, a sprinkler valve regulates the on-off flow of water to the sprinkler heads. It’s designed to open to allow water to flow through it, and close to stop the flow. This is typically controlled either manually or via an electronic signal from an irrigation controller.

Parts of a Sprinkler Valve

Before we get into how they work, it’s important to identify the key components of a sprinkler valve:

  • Solenoid: An electronic component that can be activated remotely to open or close the valve.
  • Diaphragm: A flexible membrane inside the valve that moves up or down to control water flow.
  • Seat: The area on which the diaphragm seals to stop water flow.
  • Flow Control: A manual knob or screw that can adjust the flow rate and the pressure passing through the valve.
  • Inlet/Outlet Ports: Pathways for water to enter and exit when the valve is open.

How Sprinkler Valves Operate

Manual Operation

In a manual sprinkler system, you turn a handle or knob to control the flow of water. Turning the control allows water to flow from the inlet, over the diaphragm, and out through the outlet, heading to the sprinkler heads.

Automatic Operation

In automatic irrigations systems, most sprinkler valves are actuated by a solenoid. This solenoid operates based on electrical signals sent from the irrigation controller.

  • Electric Signal: The process begins when the irrigation controller sends an electric signal to the solenoid of a particular zone’s valve.
  • Solenoid Activation: The electric current activates the solenoid, creating a magnetic field that lifts a plunger or pilot off a small orifice within the valve.
  • Pressure Change: When the pilot is removed from the orifice, water pressure above the diaphragm is relieved into the downstream side of the valve. This drop in pressure causes the higher-pressure water from below the diaphragm to push it up, opening the valve.
  • Water Flow: Once the diaphragm is lifted, water flows freely from the supply line through the opened valve and out towards the sprinkler heads.
  • Closing the Valve: To close the valve, the irrigation controller stops sending the electric signal to the solenoid, causing the plunger to return to its seat. This action seals off the orifice, allowing pressure to build up again on top of the diaphragm, thereby pushing it down onto the seat to stop water flow.

Irrigation Scheduling

The timing and duration of watering are usually programmed into the irrigation controller, allowing customized watering schedules that can vary by landscape needs, weather conditions, and water conservation efforts.

Optimizing Sprinkler Valve Performance

To ensure proper function:

  • Regular maintenance checks are essential to fix leaks, clean filters, and replace worn parts.
  • Adjust the flow control to avoid excessively high or low pressures that can affect sprinkler patterns or cause damage.
  • Verify electrical connections periodically, especially for the solenoid, to ensure they are secure and undamaged.


By understanding how your sprinkler valves work, you can troubleshoot issues, conserve water, and keep your landscaping lush and vibrant. Properly functioning valves are key to the effectiveness of your irrigation system and directly impact the health of your lawn and plants.


If you have any questions or need any type of sprinkler system repair, the experts at Mr Sprinkler Repair will be glad to help. Give us a call or 855-695-1000 to set an appointment.