By Harold Raiford



I just had a situation with my sprinklers.  One of my sprinkler zones did not come on early this AM as scheduled.  After thinking maybe a solenoid had gone bad, I thought I would check the connections in my control box.  After opening the control panel cover, I had a wire to the affected zone hanging loose.  I checked all the other points of termination for the entire system and found all the screws were loose.  What causes this?  It is thermal expansion (everyday heating and cooling of metal causing it to expand and contract thus loosening the screws).  To see if this was an anomaly of my system, I checked one of my neighbor’s box since they are gone for a bit.  Turns out, he had the same loose screws.  I highly suggest all residents to take their Phillips screwdriver, open the control panel and tighten every screw they see.  This will help avoid a similar problem.  Here is the step by step to check your system.


1.      Open the weatherproof box that houses your sprinkler system control panel.

2.      Push the snap lock to the left and swing the control panel open.

3.      Using a Phillips screwdriver, tighten all the screws.  If you have a wire hanging loose, reinsert it under the saddle attached to the screw head and retighten the screw.

4.      Since you’re in the heart of the control panel, if you haven’t change the 9-Volt battery in a while, put in a fresh one.  This will keep your programming in case of a power failure.


Doing this very simple maintenance procedure may save you an expensive visit by the sprinkler repair folks.