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If your sprinkler timer has failed, or there is an issue with the wiring, it is still possible to turn on the sprinkler zone manually, by opening the valve with your hands.
This way you don’t have to run back and forth between the timer/controller and the zone you are watering.
Opening the valve manually is very useful if you are checking out a sprinkler system. This is because you can open a sprinkler valve without using the sprinkler timer. This is a huge time saver, especially if the timer happens to be in the basement, in the garage, or another room in the house. This way you don’t have to run back and forth between the timer/controller and the zone you are watering. If you have multiple valves in a manifold, you can open them all in a single location.
The first way to open this valve is to open the manual bleed screw. You will notice that the manual bleed screw is located towards the back of the valve near the flow control. To open the valve manually, twist the manual bleed screw counter-clockwise until the valve opens. It usually doesn’t need to be more than one-half turn. To close the valve turn the manual bleed screw clockwise until the valve closes. Note: opening the manual bleed screw will cause water to leak out, this is normal, and there is no reason to be alarmed.
The second way to open the valve is to grasp the solenoid (the black cylinder with the wires attached to it) and turn it approximately one-quarter turn counter-clockwise until the valve opens. To close the valve, turn the solenoid clockwise until the valve closes. This is the method that many prefer because most times when you open the manual bleed screw, it causes water to leak out into the valve box. If the valve is left on for any period of time, it can start filling the valve box with water. Usually opening the valve by twisting the solenoid doesn’t leak water into the valve box.
So the next time your sprinkler system is not working correctly, and you need to apply water, try operating the zone valve manually.