A irrigation solenoid valve, also commonly referred and known as the automatic sprinkler valve or the electric valve, as we all know can sometimes fail to close. When this happens, it is almost certain that something is blocking the closure, for instance an insect, a small twig, or even sand grain. Another common fault with solenoid valves occurs as a result of incorrectly wiring or instillation of the DIN plugs. For more information on how to correctly wire a DIN plug, visit Valvesnline blog to watch and read this guide.
In order to repair the valve,if its failing to open, it is important that you disassemble and then clean it. The below article, provides a step to step guide in how to disassemble, clean and finally inspect the solenoid valve, to ensure that you get the best out of it.
Step 1: Cleaning the Valve:
To clean the valve, one must disassemble it, the most important step in this process is to ensure how and where all the parts to the valve fit. We strongly recommend to take notes and/or make sketches when dissembling so you can fit it back accordingly. This may seem like the lesser of the important steps, however it is uncanny how this has significantly this plays a role in making sure that the valve is again working properly.
Step 2: Remove the Solenoid from the Valve:
To remove the solenoid, ensure to unscrew anti-clockwise and remove. After removing the solenoid, push the end of the spring-loaded plunger (found in the solenoid) in; it should spring back out gently when released. Note, that when pressed repeatedly in quick succession, it should be able to smoothly slide in and also out. If you notice that the plunger fails to operate/move in a smoothly and easily manner, it indicates damage to the solenoid, which generally can not be repaired, therefore it would be best to replace the solenoid. If you notice that the plunger that it is sticking, it would be wise to replace rather then add lubricant and/or oil, which is a common mistake; lubricant and oil will not enable the plunger to work more efficiently.
Step 3: Removal off the Lid:
Most valve lids tend to be held firmly by metal screws, which unscrew like the lid of a jar (anticlockwise). With these kinds of lids, you may need to use a strap wrench to have it removed, it is vital that only the top of the jar-top lid is secured by the strap wrench, as this kind of top/lid has springs beneath it, which can be damaged if caught in the strap wrench, making the spring faulty and more then likely unable to be used.
Make sure to check out for "ports" (also know as the minute passage) that are generally located in the inside of the valve. If you follow the ports, they will lead you from the bottom of the lid to all the way to the socket where the solenoid was attached. Knowing the exact location of the ports, is highly dependent on the type of valve and model. In any case, it is important to check and follow the passages to ensure that they are not clogged. The important thing to remember in this process is to ensure that you do not enlarge or scratch the passages as you check for anything that might be clogging it. Never drill out the ports to make them bigger or to clean them, this will cause irreversible damage.
Step 4: Removing the Rubber Diaphragm:
To make sure that the valve is working properly, you need to check that the rubber valve is not broken or cracked, in the event that it is either broken or cracked, replace it. Certain types of valves contain ports in their diaphragms, it is important to be aware of this fact and to locate and clean these ports. Note that some ports found in the diaphragm will have a metal pin running through it. The pin exists to ensure that the port is kept clean; check the diaphragm or the seat gasket to ensure that nothing is stuck on it. If you find that the surface of the gasket is torn or scratched, you will have to replace it.
Step 5: Examine the Valve Seat:
The "seat" generally refers to the valve body which the gasket presses to stop the flow of water through the valve and is generally located at the bottom half of the valve body. Ensure that the seat is not pitted or scratched. If it is, it will cause the valve to leak when closed.
On some types of valves the seat can be replaced, on other valve, like the brass valves, the seat may be ground down using a special tool so as to get rid of scratches and pits. Unfortunately for most valves, the seat is pitted or scratched, the valve cannot be repaired and the only option is to replace it.
Once you have followed these steps and have ensured to check your valve and all the nooks and crannies, your solenoid valve should be as good as new and ready to use once reassembling back together.