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Home > Wire & Electrical > Choosing The Right Wire For Sprinkler Systems

Learn About Which Type Of Wire To Use For An Irrigation System

In the ever-increasing speed of getting everything done during a typically busy work week, it’s easy to forget about watering our lawns and or our gardens. For many, the solution is to install an automatic sprinkler system.  This video will help you make an informed choice when choosing wire for your sprinkler system.

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Sprinkler System Wires Run From The Controller To The Valves

Only underground sprinkler systems that include automatic timers require a wire from the controller to the valves. The wires make it possible to start and stop the sprinkler system remotely on a predetermined schedule.

Sprinkler wire is a vital part of an automatic sprinkler system. If it breaks, the system wonโ€™t work. Since timers and valves are often separated by some distance, it can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive task to repair.

Double Check With Your Irrigation Valve’s Manufacturer About Wire Sizes

During installation electrical wire is run from the sprinkler timer to each control valve. Most manufacturers include recommendations about what wire size to use with their valves.

The smaller the number the larger the wire size and its electricity carrying capacity.

16-Gauge Direct Burial Wire Is The Most Common Sprinkler System Wire

Typically if you are installing a valve manifold where you have several valves grouped together. 18-gauge multi-strand wire can be used as a low-cost solution. Sprinkler Warehouse however recommends using 16-gauge direct burial wire in all applications.

Also when using 16-gauge wire it’s easier to create a pigtail coil that helps minimize electrical surges that can occur during lightning storms. Providing an additional layer of protection to your solenoids. Sprinkler wire consists of one white or common wire and any other colored wire depending on how many control valves the system has. Your sprinkler wire needs to have at least one more wire than the number of zones being installed. This extra wire is the neutral or common wire that completes the circuit allowing your system to work properly.

King Innovation Waterproof Small Wire Connectors

Check Local Electrical Codes Regarding The Common Wire

Most electrical codes require the common wire to be white in color. A solenoid is a type of electromagnet, and your solenoid valves will have two wires coming out of them. It doesn’t matter which of the two solenoid wires you connect with the common, or colored control wires. All outdoor electrical connections must be waterproof. So, it’s a smart choice to use silicone secured wire connectors. These wire connectors use silicone that surrounds and protects the exposed wire from getting wet once it’s buried under the ground. They also make it more difficult to pull the wire apart.

Can I Splice Sprinkler Wire To Reach Farther?

It’s okay to splice extra wire onto the length of your runs. Just make sure to have a good tight physical connection, and use waterproof silicone sealed wire connector caps because you will be installing your wire in the trenches with the water pipe. It is normally true that your wire runs are much longer as they snake through your yard between the valves and the timer. Bury the wire in the trench with the PVC water pipe.

It’s a good practice to pull a few extra feet of wire at each control valve and run it loosely through the conduit so you’ll have a bit extra in the event of a needed repair. Your common wire will run to all of your valves. And the colored control wire will run from each valve directly to your control box. Once you have finished connecting the wires to all of your valves you can connect them to the timer.

Turn The Power OFF Before Connecting The Valve Control Wires

As a warning remember to connect the valve control wires to the controller with the power turned off. Once the wires are connected to the controller do not touch them together to verify that electrical current is running through them. The electrical spark can damage the circuits in the controller

Remember Sprinkler Warehouse has everything for your irrigation needs. We want to help your trees, lawns, flowerbeds, and gardens stay lush and beautiful. If you have any questions about our products you can chat with one of our customer service agents on SprinklerWarehouse.com. They really know their stuff, and they’ll get you squared away. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more how-to videos and irrigation tips. From the Sprinkler Warehouse, this is Alfred Castillo, The Sprinkler Warehouse Pro.