How To Clean Out A Sprinkler Valve Box?

Is something strange happening on your lawn, and you cannot seem to figure it out? Perhaps you have been doing everything by the book to achieve that lush green look on the grass. 

Everything is top-notch. Then why does the turf appear as if some patches are getting lesser nutrition than the rest? 

Why do you notice bald spots? Here is the answer to that – the sprinkler system! No, you do not have to replace the entire thing but merely clean the valves. 

What if you do not know how to clean out a sprinkler valve box? It is one of the easiest tasks for a gardener or a lawn owner.

You can use the simple cleaning process using two ways. Either use a hose or dissemble the valve parts and wash them with your hands. Both options are qualified for a valve box without damaging it. 

Shall we get to the detailed version? 

Cleaning Out a Sprinkler Valve Box: 2 Ways 

The methods are so easy as I first discovered; I kept thinking I had left something out. It just felt incomplete. 

However, let me assure the anxious mind that it is not large or heavy equipment to require ultra-care. You do not have to look for sophisticated ideas on the internet either. 

Still, a first timer is bound to feel nervous when trying to dig out the valve box. This is why I will explain the steps as simply as possible, so you know which option to follow straight away.

Method 1: Using Hands          

I remember doing this technique the first time and worried about getting electrocuted every minute. The plus side is that the wires are pretty sealed there. 

Still, try not to touch any frayed wire with wet hands. You may need to replace the part. This is for another day!

Right now, let us focus on the task at hand. What do you see? 

  • This process is suitable for those valve boxes that are usually not too deep in the ground but has a camouflaged cover instead. 
  • Keep a soft cloth with you.
  • Turn off the main controller and the water line so that the sprinklers do not turn on you during the cleaning process. 
  • Use a trowel or a shovel to dig around the box. 
  • Remove the top housing when located. Mind the wires from this point on.
  • Do you see the lids over the valves? Unscrew them using the right tool. 
  • Check the ports for dirt, debris, sand, and other detritus. Water comes through these ports, and any trapped debris may cause an uneven sprinkling system. 
  • Wipe them clean using a soft cloth. Make sure all is removed and neat. 
  • You can reattach the lid now or replace them with new ones if needed. 
  • Test the work by turning back on the controller and water line. The sprinklers should operate properly. 

Method 2: Using a Water Hose

What if the irrigation valve box is so deep in the ground that it is difficult to separate the parts and clean them? 

  • You can apply the classic water hose technique without anyone’s assistance. Just make sure to gather shovels and trowels for the digging duty.
  • Adjust your current water hose to deliver high-pressure water. If the nozzle lacks such a system, you can purchase one from the hardware store and attach it to the tube. 
  • Now approach the area that hides the valve box. 
  • Dig until you find it. Be careful with the wires. 
  • Continue digging around the housing to reveal the pipelines as well. Years of dirt will stick to the whole system, so bear with the shoveling effort a bit long. 
  • Keep that heap of dirt in a bucket nearby, as you will have to put them back later. 
  • Now get the water hose and turn on the water. Make sure it sprays with super high pressure. 
  • Move it around and in the box to get all dirt and debris out. The wires will need special cleaning as well. 
  • Soon the box clogged with mud will be filled in a slurry. Eventually, all will clean out as you continue to work the water hose. 
  • Once you can see all parts clean and shiny, you can close the lid and put everything back in order. 

Reasons to Clean the Sprinkler Valve Box

Weather is such a natural occurrence we often overlook the fact that it can affect the smallest systems. 

The valve box does not get debris or twigs overnight. It takes years of unhurried settlement to finally clog the box with unwanted elements. 

Or maybe there is a hurricane or a mighty storm which forced you and the family to take shelter. The winded-down trees will have branches or twigs scattered everywhere. 

You will find muddy ground everywhere, including an exposed sprinkler valve box that contains more than the valves. 

Ways to Avoid Excess Dirt in Sprinkler Valve Box

My point is that detritus matter can get around its way one way or another. You cannot stop it from gathering each time, but there are ways to minimize more dirt clogging. 

  1. Check the box once every couple of years for trapped debris/twigs if it is not buried too deep. 
  2. Clean the sprinkler line to remove any dirt. 
  3. Fill the dug area with plenty of gravel rocks! This is my best idea to avoid constant dirt/debris sticking inside the valve box. Of course, do this only after cleaning the system. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is my sprinkler valve box full of dirt?

The gopher, nature, and winter are the main reasons for the dirt. Their natural action pushes the soil up and the valve box up as well.

As a result, dirt accumulates inside. The installation of gopher wires and landscape fabric can prevent this issue. After that, fill the box with rocks. By doing so, you can keep the valve box clean.

2. Should I put rocks in my irrigation valve box?

Yes, of course! For irrigation valve boxes, a rock base is an important step. There is a tendency for the valve box to fill up with water if there isn’t a layer of rock, and it won’t drain properly without it. For this reason, you should place rocks in your irrigation valve box.

3. How do you keep roots out of the sprinkler valve boxes?

Bury the pipes in deep when you want to clean the sprinkler valve and prevent roots from getting into the boxes. For lateral irrigation pipes, the valves and sprinklers should be at least 12 inches apart. By doing this, you will be able to keep the roots out of the sprinkler valves.

4. How to clean out irrigation system?

In addition to cleaning irrigation valves, you should also be able to clean the irrigation system. This shows that the upper lines are clean.

It is more likely that the dirty pipes are those that are deeper. The system can be flashed with clean water. Don’t forget to be thorough.

Furthermore, you need to dip the irrigation pins into disinfectant for at least 10 minutes before using them. A 30-minute dip is recommended if there is heavy dirt on the surface. This will result in a clean system.

5. How do I get dirt out of my sprinkler lines?

Regardless of how tricky it appears; you can find out how to remove a sprinkler line from the inside. Keeping your sprinkler lines clean is simple if you see them broken or dirty.

An oil funnel and a shop vac are all you need. Once you have determined which line you wish to clean, go to it. Once that’s done, attach the shop vac tightly to the oil funnel.

Once the Shop Vac is turned on, and the oil funnel is inserted in the pipe, the pipe will be cleaned. That’s all there is to it. Use a soft cloth or tissue to clean the pipe point once it is finished.

6. How often should you clean the sprinkler valve box? 

Your sprinkler valve box is safe and sound for many years. It is only when you notice muddy water discharge from sprinklers or unbalanced water sprinkling you should take a look inside the box.  

7. Are gravels safe to use in irrigation valve boxes? 

Yes, they are one of the best options to keep the box neat even after burying it deep again. Some use large stones as well. The purpose is to reduce excess debris entrance to the box. 

Final Words 

I have finally arrived at the end line for how to clean out a sprinkler valve box. It is a super easy task if you are willing to get your hands a bit dirty!

Remember that flashing with water is the best way to clean the years of clogged ports. Put pressure on it as much as you can. 

Do I need to say the water should be clean? You will figure things out yourself as the activity progresses. All the best!

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