Though some would think that automatic sprinkler valves are all the rage today, manual sprinkler valves are still plenty common enough to talk about. At Sprinkler Master Repair (Fresno, CA), we care about the life of your lawn, whether it’s new or old. We’re in the business of creating satisfied, lifelong customers after every single job. We only employ the best practices in quality service and quality parts at an affordable price all throughout Fresno County. When it comes to manual sprinkler valves, automatic sprinkler valves, fixing broken sprinkler heads, sprinkler installation, sprinkler system repair, or anything else in between, we’re the company for you at Sprinkler Master Repair (Fresno, CA).

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The purpose of a manual sprinkler valve is similar to that of an automatic sprinkler valve. It’s there to restrict or allow water flow from a mainline water supply to a lateral line and out through the sprinkler system. They are typically found near a house or next to the sprinkler main and can be exposed, in an underground valve box, or in a metal cylinder. Manual sprinkler valves can also be used as bleed or blow out valves in most units.

Click here to watch a video that explains an overview of Manual Sprinkler Valves.

How It Works

There are different types of manual valves. Though they all serve the same purpose, they all have a fairly diverse functionality.

Ball Valves

Ball valves have a ball with an opening on the inside that rotates with the handle. Rotating the handle turns the water on or off.

Gate Valves

Gate valves literally house a gate that opens and closes to adjust the water flow. When the knob is twisted, it either lifts or presses the gate, adjusting the opening and changing water flow.

Stop and Waste

Stop and Waste valves are often the main valve used as the principle shutoff for outside water. These valves are especially useful before winter to help avoid freezing and bursting pipes. When shut off, they will automatically drain the remaining water out of the system.

Hose Spigots

Hose spigots are similar to gate valves with the exception of location. Screwing the handle in or out lifts or presses the seal adjusting water flow, just like the gate valve.

Pros and Cons

  • A pro is that they can be great for controlling pressure. You’re in control and can make the decisions with water flow!
  • Another pro is that manual valves don’t require a lot of space to operate. Most of the inner parts can also be replaced, although few stores carry those parts and you may need to order and purchase online.
  • One more pro is that they typically last longer than most other valves, including automatic sprinkler valves, but when rust or debris has built up they can be a little more difficult to operate.
  • A con is similar to our first pro; manual valves cannot be turned on electronically, and their use is entirely up to you. Most automatic or electronic shut off valves requires a power source, but with a manual valve, it’s free whenever!
    • You really can’t go wrong with a manual sprinkler valve!

Common Problemssprinkler repair Clovis California sprinkler master manual valves

The biggest problem you’ll see on valves is seal failure. On rubber seals, they can become loose, fall off, or damaged. Weathering and too much constant use can crack the outside of the valve, or corrode the handle until it breaks. A gate valve can be cross-threaded as well if not screwed on carefully. Occasionally a nipple will break or crack inside. Generally speaking, however, manual valves do last longer than automatic sprinkler valves.

How to Diagnose

Manual sprinkler valves are also a little more simple to read than automatic valves. The issues are more cut and dry as opposed to some electrical issues common with automatic sprinkler valves. Some problems are physically visible but the more sure way to diagnose problems is to check if the valve turns completely on or off. If they do not turn on and off there is a problem with the seal, stem, handle, or inside of the valve, and some or all of the parts must be replaced. When checking if the valve turns on and off, check if the handle is turning easily. Also, check for leaks from the threads or fittings inside the valve to get a better idea of how to solve the problem at hand.

How to Repair

Most manual valves can be repaired by unscrewing the inner parts of the valve and removing them from the casing. After that, simply replace the broken piece with the exact same part from the exact same brand, replace any rubber seals that are compromised, check the inside of the casing for damage, and then replace the internals. If there is damage inside the casing, an entirely new valve assembly may need to be installed. Sometimes there are unions connected to the valve that you can undo and remove the valve and screw the new one in. If there is no union, you’ll have to cut the pipe and install a new fitting that adapts from the pipe to threads that can be screwed onto the valve.

Tips and Tricks

It may be easier to replace the whole valve, rather than try to repair the internals. Bring the old valve with you if or when you’re replacing so it’s easier to match up. Make sure to dig your hole deep and wide enough to screw the valve on and off without dirt getting into the pipes. Dirt and weather will make them not last as long, so make sure they are not buried from the dirt, and they are protected from the elements. It is usually easier to screw a metal fitting onto a metal valve rather than using plastic. If you are having trouble screwing a nipple into a valve, try unscrewing the pipe in the fitting until it clicks in, then screws in all the way.


When you need sprinkler help to any degree, call Sprinkler Master Repair (Fresno, CA) today at (559) 422-3808. We cover the bulk of Fresno County, including:

Sprinkler Master Repair (Fresno, CA) is ready to take your lawn to the next level! If you need sprinkler installations, sprinkler repair, drip irrigation, winterized sprinklers, sprinkler system repair, fixing manual or automatic sprinkler valves, or anything else sprinkler-related in between, call us today at (559) 422-3808!

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