Mr Sprinkler Repair

Sprinkler Repair

Mr Sprinkler Repair

Sprinkler Repair


How Far Can You Run Sprinkler Valve Wire?

When planning the installation of a sprinkler system, determining the maximum length you can run the irrigation control wire is crucial for ensuring reliable communication between the sprinkler valves and the controller. The distance you can run this type of wire effectively depends on several factors, including the wire gauge (thickness), voltage drop, and the electrical characteristics of the circuit.

For a typical residential or light commercial sprinkler system using 24-volt AC control, here are some general guidelines based on the American Wire Gauge (AWG) standard:

  • 18 AWG: This is the most commonly used wire size for residential sprinkler systems. For 18 AWG multi-strand irrigation control wire, you can usually run up to 800 feet (about 244 meters) without experiencing significant voltage drop.
  • 16 AWG: Using a thicker wire like 16 AWG allows for longer runs, typically up to 1,200 feet (about 366 meters) before the voltage drop becomes an issue.
  • 14 AWG: For even longer distances, 14 AWG wire can run up to 2,000 feet (about 610 meters).

However, these distances are approximate and can vary based on your specific system’s requirements and environmental factors. Here’s what to consider:

Voltage Drop

Voltage drop occurs as the electrical current travels along the length of the wire, leading to a decrease in voltage by the time it reaches the sprinkler valves. If the voltage drop is too significant, the valves may not operate correctly. To minimize voltage drop, you can use thicker wire (lower AWG number) or install additional valve boxes closer to the controller to shorten wire runs.

Wire Resistance

Thicker wires have lower resistance, which helps reduce voltage drop over long distances. When planning your system, choosing the right wire gauge from the outset can save you from potential operational issues later on.

Total Number of Valves

The more valves you’re controlling, the more current the wire needs to carry, which can also influence the effective maximum distance. Distributing the load evenly and using relays can help mitigate the issues caused by controlling several valves.

Environmental Factors

Consider the environmental conditions where the wire will be buried. Moisture, temperature fluctuations, and potential interference from other buried cables can impact performance. It’s essential to use direct burial-rated irrigation control wire and potentially conduit for added protection in harsh environments.

While the distances provided are a general guideline, the best practice is to consult the wire manufacturer’s specifications and possibly conduct a voltage drop calculation based on the total length of the wire, number of valves, and any other accessories connected to the system. If in doubt, consulting with a professional electrician or irrigation specialist can help ensure your system operates reliably over the distances you require.


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.