Thursday, October 28, 2010

Are your sprinkler system valve boxes too deep?

They should be even with the surface of the ground so you don’t fall in the hole or have problems when mowing.

If your valve boxes are like the one shown in this photo, you should consider correcting the problem before you fall into the hole and break a leg. Valve boxes that are too deep will eventually be covered up with soil and sod making it difficult to find the irrigation valves when you have a problem with those zones.

The valve box can be dug up and reset at ground level. When you do this the valve will still be at the same depth in the ground. Raising the box usually allows soil to seep into the box and cover the valve. If the valve box is only an inch too deep, raising the box should not cause too much of a problem later on as long as the valve is still protected inside the box.

When you have to raise the box more than an inch, soil and other debris will most likely filter under the box and cover up the valve(s) from the sides. This can create problems with the operation of the valve(s) and will hamper any repairs that need to be done later.

Valve boxes are designed with cutouts at the bottom. These are the areas where the pipe enters and exits the box. When these cutouts are removed and the the box placed over the pipe, the valve will be properly protected and placed above the soil at the base of the box. Putting a layer of gravel in the bottom of the box helps keep soil from filter under the sides of the valve box.

Three and six inch extensions are available for valve boxes for your local box store, hardware store and irrigation supply company. This photo  shows a three inch extension placed on a standard size valve box. The item on the left of the photo is a 6 inch extension for a jumbo size valve box.  The lid fits into the recessed area of the extension.

Instead of raising the box, consider placing an extension on top of the box. You may need to dig up the box and set it deeper in order to do that. Be sure the valve box is parallel with the slope of the soil.

The more secure the irrigation valve(s) are ensconced inside the valve box the better. Valves that are covered with mud and other debris are problems waiting to happen.

If you don't feel comfortable correcting valve boxes that are too deep, lawn care, landscape or irrigation installation professionals can do this for you.


  1. I have been trying to find a 3" extension and have been unsuccessful. What brand are your boxes?

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  6. If you have an irrigation system installed in your lawn, certain sprinkler valves will be beneath the soil. These are different from the sprinkler heads, which the water comes out of. These valves control the flow of water to the different areas of your irrigation system and are typically in one of a few common places, depending on the exact company that installed the system in your yard.

  7. I like to extend my words on valve box which may help in irrigation.

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