Trace The Path Of The Irrigation Sprinkler Lines
The first step to locate a leak is to understand how the underground irrigation lines in your sprinkler system are laid out.
If youre lucky, the people who installed your system might have given you a map of the entire system. If you dont have the irrigation system plan, you will have to do a bit of digging to figure out how the system is laid out.
Thankfully, you dont have to dig out the whole yard. If you know these basic facts about irrigation system installation, youll have an idea of where to start digging:
- Irrigation pipes are made up of straight and T-joint pipes. This means that if you find one, the next pipe should be straight ahead or to the left or right at a 90 degree angle.
- The sprinkler pipes are buried about 812 inches into the ground. Because you wont find the pipes buried too deep in the ground, theres no reason to keep digging in one spot if you dont see anything within the 12 inch range.
- Most irrigation system pipes are made of PVC , so you can use pipe detectors to pinpoint their location.
To locate the first pipe, dig near the valve boxes and areas close to the sprinkler heads. Once you unearth the first pipe, keep mapping your system. Use tape or spray paint to mark the rest of the pipe layout.
You can dig again after 23 feet to confirm you are in the right direction.
Tip: Dig very carefully and hold your shovel at an angle to the ground to avoid hitting the pipes.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Bad Sprinkler Valve
Symptoms of a bad sprinkler valve include water not coming out, water leaking, or just spraying erratically in one specific area. If these symptoms occur, its usually best to call a professional for assistance, as the faulty sprinkler valve should be replaced to prevent further damage.
Typically, the professional will use a multimeter to troubleshoot these issues.
Here is a YouTube video on how to troubleshoot sprinkler valve problems:
How To Tell If An Underground Sprinkler System Is Leaking
If there is a leak on your roof, pipes, or even your basement, you can easily tell it by any dripping water you see.
This wont be the case for your underground sprinkler system, since the water will be absorbed by the ground. Unless the soil is completely dry, it will be hard to tell just by looking around if there are leaks in the sprinkler system.
Although difficult, finding a leak in your sprinkler system is not an impossible task. You just need to be aware of the common signs pointing to it, namely:
- Obvious wet spots if it has been sunny all day and the ground is dry, save for a certain area, this may be due to a leak. To confirm this, check if that spot will eventually dry up after some time. If it remains wet without any reason, it is probably a leak.
- The ground feels soggy do you notice the squishy feeling whenever you step on wet soil? If you feel this when stepping over a spot or two on the ground on a hot day, you might want to investigate that spot because it may be a sign of a leak.
- Uneven ground an overly saturated ground will eventually cave in or be lower than the rest of your lawn that gets just the right amount of water. If you see or feel this happening, it may be due to a leak.
- There are fungi growing in certain spots its quite uncommon to see fungal growth, such as mushrooms, on a lawn due to the abundance of sunlight that inhibits its growth. But, the sun would be no match to the growth of fungi if a section of your lawn is constantly moist.
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Water Is Leaking From The Sprinkler Head
Even if your entire sprinkler system has been shut off, you may notice a sprinkler head or two that seems to still be releasing some water. But before you think it is broken, know that this is a common issue that can be fixed.
This kind of leak happens due to any of the following:
- Stuck debris, particularly on its nozzles and filters, that prevents water from flowing normally
- Issue with the zone control valve, which can be traced to either a worn-down valve or debris that got stuck in its mechanism
- Damage in the pipes
- Low head drainage, which is due to the sprinkler system being installed on a slope. Gravity will work against the sprinkler head at the lowest location, because the remaining water when the sprinkler shuts off will flow downwards. This causes leaks on that particular sprinkler head
- Connections of your sprinkler system are poor
Troubleshooting these will require:
- Cleaning the sprinklers zone valves and sprinkler heads
- Replacing old and damaged parts
- Installing a drain check valve or adjusting the position of the sprinkler system in a slope
- Finding and fixing bad connections
From all these, its safe to say that a leaking sprinkler head can be considered a minor issue that can get immediately fixed, especially by a professional.
Your Landscaping Has Poor Drainage
If water is sticking around more than it normally does, it may seem like the system is leaking when its off. That could be the case, but it could also just mean that a change on the property has reduced its drainage. New retaining walls, major soil replacements, and other landscape changes can create poor drainage. You should always have a sprinkler system expert reconfigure your sprinklers to account for these changes and keep water draining properly.
Dont ignore signs of poor draining or of sprinkler system leaks. Not only will both problems waste your water, but they can also damage your yard and landscaping.
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How To Repair A Leaking Lawn Sprinkler System
- Written by Garry Steck on Apr 09, 2010To ensure our content is always up-to-date with current information, best practices, and professional advice, articles are routinely reviewed by industry experts with years of hands-on experience.Reviewed by
When you find reduced water pressure in one or more of your lawn sprinkler system heads, or when you find soggy areas of your lawn that don’t seem to dry out, these can be signs of a leak in your sprinkler system. You will need to locate the pipe or sprinkler head that is leaking and repair it.
Step 1 – Determine if a Leak Exists
Chances are good that if you have a small leak, the only way you’ll know it exists is when you find a reduction in pressure at sprinkler system heads when the system is turned on, or you’ll find excess water somewhere in your system. If, for example, your system pipes are running close to the foundation of your home, and if you were to see underground water leaking through your home’s foundation, this could be evidence that a sprinkler system pipe is broken. You may also see evidence of leaks in pooled water or soggy patches of lawn in places where such water should not exist.
Step 2 – Find the Leak
Step 3 – Cap Sprinkler Heads
Step 4 – Repair The Leak
What To Look For
The easiest sprinkler system leak to identify is the external leak. These are leaks that show up when the sprinkler is on and functioning. Most sprinkler systems are set up so that the hoses and sprinkler heads are only active under pressure. The only way to see if they are in need of repair or have a leak is to either wait for them to come on or turn each part of the sprinkler system on one at a time manually.
Youll be able to tell right away if a hose or head has damage. They will either be spraying way too much water or very little water at all. In some cases, you might even be able to tell if there is a leak by listening closely. If you hear the sound of running water like you would hear when it runs from a hose, you are probably safe to assume that you have a leak somewhere nearby.
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Signs Of Leaks When A Zone Is Turned On
Manually turn on each zone one at a time, and watch for the following leak indicators:
1. Dirtywater from the sprinklers. Soil can enter leaking pipes that are broken or cracked, mixing in with the water streaming from sprinklers.
2. Water pressure has changed. If the coverage between sprinklers is no longer head-to-head , a leak may be affecting the water pressure. The leak is probably close to the beginning of the zone if the entire zone coverage is obviously lower. If the coverage only gets lower closer toward the end of the zone, thats where youll find the leak.
3. Water bubbling up between sprinkler heads. Water from a broken lateral pipe has pushed out the soil above it and is rising to the surface.
4. Pop-up sprinklers not completely extending and shooting or spraying little water. Sprinklers wont pop up or stream fully if a leak in a pipe is lowering the water pressure.
5. Water geysers from sprinklers. Sprinkler head is broken or completely missing.
6. Pop-up sprinklers leaking. Water spurting from the base of the sprinklers extended riser indicates a bad seal. Replace it and replace the sprinkler if the riser is scratched.
If the leak is from the top of the sprinkler, make sure the cap is screwed on tightly.
Finding The Broken Pipe
Leaks that are above ground, like leaks in your roof or sink, are easy to find. They drip down and often create puddles, or they leave watermarks in your ceiling. Its not the same with underground leaks. They can be tricky to find since the site where you see the water coming out may not necessarily be the leaks location.
A tell-tale sign that a broken pipe causes your leak is a decrease in your water pressure, or sometimes theres no water coming out from two interconnected sprinkler heads. Finding a broken sprinkler pipe underground may require you to dig around a leaking spot so you can determine which of the pipes are broken.
Here are a few easy steps to confirm if you have a broken sprinkler pipe:
Equipment to Find Leaks
If youre having a hard time finding the leaks that will eventually lead to broken pipes, you can always opt for equipment to make things easier for you. The devices wont let you see underground, though. Instead, they rely on sound to help you find a leak. Some of this equipment are:
- Water-leak microphone
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How To Find A Leak In A Sprinkler System
Landscaping is an important part of any home. Not only does it add curb appeal and aesthetic value to a house, a yard is also where many favorite activities take place. Everyone wants to be able to enjoy their landscape, and that means investing in it and caring for it particularly, and most importantly, keeping it properly watered. It is fairly common to have a sprinkler system these days, but what happens when the sprinklers run into trouble? Sprinkler repair is not always an easy process, so were going to explain the basics. That way youll know what to expect if and when you need to call us for a little help.
Why Does My Sprinkler Leak Water When The System Is Turned Off
There are two reasons why a sprinkler will leak water when the system is supposed to be off.
The solution is to install check valves, such as the HCV, on sprinklers and lateral lines.
Hunter sprinklers are also able to have check valves added in the field after they are installed.
If the zone valve for that particular station is diagnosed as the problem then the solution is:
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Find Your Water Meter And Close The Main Valve
Most domestic water meters are situated near the road in front of the house. They are usually buried in a box with a cap covering the ground surface or home sidewall.
Many of these water meter boxes, including their caps, are made of concrete, which can be quite heavy to lift. Using a small hook system will help you easily lift the cover.
With the cap lifted off, you can now see the meter that controls water entering your home. Remove any dirt that might have accumulated on the meter to make it visible. Close off the main water supply valve in the meter box.
How To Find Leaks In A Sprinkler System Underground Leaks & More
Posted by Zodega
When you install a sprinkler system to keep your grounds looking lush and green, you naturally want water to issue forth. However, its best if the flow of water is controlled, so that it hits swaths of lawn and landscaping according to plan and does so as scheduled.
What you dont want is a sprinkler system leak causing muddy messes and jacking up your water costs.
If you pay attention, youll know when you have a underground pipe leak due to the visible state of your landscaping, or alternately, fluctuating water costs. The question is, how do you locate the source of the leak in your system?
How to check an irrigation system for leaks? There are a few things you can check on your own, and if youre unable to find the leak, you can always call in the pros to diagnose and repair leaks. Here are just a few ways to pinpoint leaks in your sprinkler system and return it to full function.
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Poorly Maintained Sprinkler System
If your sprinkler system isnt being maintained, this could lead to leaks. This can happen due to the age of your equipment and a pressure loss in pipes thats making it difficult for valves to work as intended or because there may be some other problem with your entire system, such as broken wires/sprinklers.
The Grass Is Green On The Other Side
Another sign that you have a problem is the appearance of darker green spots or taller grass around an irrigation head. When this occurs, the irrigation head is likely cracked, broken, or clogged. Green spots appearing away from an irrigation head are most likely not related to an irrigation problem.
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Check Sprinklers For Damage Regularly
Sprinklers can also get damaged due to age or weather damage- so check yours regularly so that you can notice signs of wear and tear as soon as possible.
Youll want to inspect all fittings and connections to ensure theyre secure. Furthermore, check to see if any heads are already broken or cracked before replacing them.
How To Find Broken Sprinkler Pipes Underground
Sprinkler systems are a necessary convenience today. They ensure that your garden and landscape will receive the watering that it needs at specific times of the day without you having to do it. This automation makes our lives a lot more convenient, especially when we already have a handful of things on our plate.
However, the convenience a sprinkler system offers can quickly become a source of headache and frustration. Aside from the usual wear and tear, the culprit is usually a leak in your underground sprinkler. Immediately fixing the leaks in your underground sprinkler system is essential since it will save you a whole lot of trouble, like enormous water bills, damage in your landscape, and cracks in hardscapes or walls near the leak. More often than not, the leaks are caused by broken sprinkler pipes.
Detecting a leak underground is more challenging compared to finding a leak inside your home. Thats why weve come up with some pointers to help you in finding broken sprinkler pipes in your underground sprinkler system. So you can have it fixed sooner before it becomes a full-blown problem.
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Leak Detection In Your Irrigation System: 8 Signs Not To Ignore
Underground leaks within your irrigation system cannot be seen, so they can be difficult to find. However, above ground there will be obvious signs that something below ground is leaking or has broken, and should be taken care of immediately, before it causes serious damage to your entire irrigation system.
Here are 8 of the most obvious signs that anyone can spot with the naked eye that something is leaking or has broken beneath the ground surface.
Any one of these 8 signs is a strong indication that something within your irrigation system needs immediate attention and your landscape may be in jeopardy. Once youre aware, the next step would be to find out what is actually cracked or broken below ground that the eye cannot see. Heres where using a flow controller like FlowStation or a leak detection service like WaterCompass Enterprise which can help you quickly identify leaks, protect property assets and minimize risk.
When water flow drops below a certain threshold in the main line, it means something is leaking or has broken. Using smart irrigation you have the ability to monitor for high and unexpected flow events by receiving alerts. Alerts will help identify possible causes, such as clogged heads, improper pump or low supply pressure. It will also list possible remedies to repair any valve or pump issues, and proper supply pressure.