You are not logged in.

Dear visitor, welcome to SPRINKLER TALK FORUM - You Got Questions, We've Got Answers. If this is your first visit here, please read the Help. It explains how this page works. You must be registered before you can use all the page's features. Please use the registration form, to register here or read more information about the registration process. If you are already registered, please login here.


New Member


Tuesday, May 29th 2012, 9:02pm

going crazy

I have a vacation home in Arizona that has an Rain-dial controller; my problem is that we will get a water bills that are driving us crazy by having sporadic high usage days. We may have a week or two that is good and then Bam, a day that uses 11,000 gallons in one day or does that for three days in a row. Last time I was there I reprogrammed the controller and made sure I didn't have any run times over lapping. I have one zone that runs the drip system and two others for the back yard grass areas. I think I've narrowed the issue to the sprinkler system and more specifically the drip area because we rent a room out so the house doesn't sit there vacant in between our visits and the roommate doesn't say the backyard sprinklers run for extended times.

I've replace the solenoids before but i'm thinking it may be the controller going crazy on us, could that be?

I am taking a few days off from work and going down there to fix it so any suggestions would be appreciated.


Supreme Member

Posts: 5,292

Location: Metro NYC


Wednesday, May 30th 2012, 6:14am

maybe replace the drip zone valve with something having a flow control


Wednesday, May 30th 2012, 8:14am

Info is a little limited but a few guesses.
How many gallons per hour does your drip zone use?
Usually these are low volume. 11,000 gallons per day /24 hours = 416 gallons per hour.
That's a lot through a drip system on one zone.
If you use any standard 1/2" drip line with 12' spacing then you would need between roughly 420 and 720 feet of line in the system to get 416 gph.
If you figure it doesn't really run 24 hours then that's a GREAT DEAL of water to say comes out of a drip system.
You would know. The tenant could walk that area and discover a marsh.

I'd expand my search a little.
The system could be running while the tenant isn't home.
Does the controller have more than one program available? Could it be running off program A and then doing the same thing on B?

Broken line? (always a possibility)

Valve sticking open? (still find a marsh)


New Member


Wednesday, May 30th 2012, 8:53am


thanks for the replies so far,

We go there once a month to visit the Grandkids and the last time we were there was the beginning of May. I checked for open lines and reprogrammed the system just to be sure. I've been calling the water company every Friday to get the daily water readings for the previous week and everything was normal except for one day when it ran for over 10K gallons. It did the same thing last month with the exception that it ran for 3 days like that. the normal usage for all three stations is about 250 gallons with the drip running for 25 minutes and each grass section running for 10 minutes. Not sure what the split is because as mentioned all stations run the same days and I don't have anything programmed in the B or C programs.

I was thinking I wouldn't see a marsh in the drip areas (about 11 or 12 drips) because I figured it just ran into that Arizona sand.

Thanks again,


Wednesday, May 30th 2012, 9:40am

I'm sure that the sand loves that water so it wouldn't stay long.
But think about how much water we are discussing.
You jump from 250 gallons to 11,000.

Now, I've never been to that area so I may have some wrong ideas.
But if 11,000 gallons a day went out wouldn't there be some very healthy and happy growth out there somewhere?
And if it did go out in one day then that area would remain wet for at least that day.

You definitely have a strange problem.

What about the meter? Is it manually read?
Could your tenant take daily readings for a week or two and see if they match what the water company says?
Think of this: if you have a 3/4" meter, which is common, and if you run that into a 1" sch 40 pipe then max flow is around 13gpm. 11,000 /13 = 846 minutes = 14 hours of run time. And that is the water just flows straight out, not through any heads or drip lines. Something doesn't match.

Other grasping at straws questions: any work in your neighborhood, particularly near your house, that could explain?
Any chance a neighbor is 'borrowing' water? I found a system a couple of months ago where one zone was tied into the neighbors sprinkler system and using their water.

Sure am curious as to what you find.



Posts: 2,319

Location: USA


Wednesday, May 30th 2012, 9:20pm

I'd have the city test the meter to make sure it's not malfunctioning.

One time I ran across a situation where the neighbor was tapped into the mainline.

Perhaps the people living there like to take very long showers. dunno..

Maybe a toilet that runs constantly..

It seems like 11k gallons would fill a swimming pool.

Rate this thread