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Discovering a sprinkler system leak is a frustrating experience. You need to find the source of the leak and carry out any necessary irrigation repairs to keep your system working properly.
Learn how to find a leak in a sprinkler irrigation system to protect your yard and landscaping.
Also, it is worth saying upfront that hiring a pro is usually your safest bet, and we would love to stop by and take care of these issues for you. Our 25+ years of experience troubleshooting residential irrigation in the Greenville area will save you a lot of headaches! Call us at 864-607-9021.
Inspect Your Irrigation System Controller
The first step for finding a leak is to check the controller for your irrigation system. If your irrigation system controller was recently reset, restored to default settings, or adjusted without your knowledge, it may be using more water than usual.
The change in water usage may lead you to assume that you have a sprinkler system leak. If the settings have not changed, continue to inspect the rest of your system for signs of leaks.
Check the Valve Boxes for Water and Flooding
The valve boxes protect the valves and offer easier access for maintenance. The insides of the boxes should be dry instead of wet or flooded.
If the box is flooded, the valves may be worn. Other potential causes of leaks include loose wiring and worn parts.
Look for Flooding or Changes in the Landscape
A faulty valve or leak may cause water to pool. You may notice flooding or excessively damp ground in areas of your yard. The leak may also cause the soil to erode, leading to a depression in the ground.
Taller grass and darker grass are also signs of a leak under the ground. Look for changes in the landscape between the sprinkler heads and the irrigation system. Flooding and other changes are likely to occur near the source of the leak.
Examine the Irrigation Heads for Signs of Faulty Valves
Inspect the sprinkler heads after turning off your irrigation system. Water should stop trickling out of the sprinkler heads shortly after turning off the system. If water does not stop trickling out of the sprinkler head, you may have a faulty valve.
After turning the sprinklers back on, you may notice flooding around the base of the sprinkler. Water may leak from sprinklers if the valves fail to shut off the flow of water. Leaks can also occur due to cracks in the sprinkler head.
Look for a Decrease in the Sprinkler Coverage Area
If the distance that your sprinklers spray gradually decreases, you may have a leak. A rupture in the line limits the flow of water and the overall water pressure.
Any change in the water flow is likely to indicate a leak, a broken pipe, or a faulty valve. If you do not notice excess water around the sprinkler base, the leak may be under the ground.
For example, a cracked pipe or damaged hole may be causing a leak. Roots from trees and other plants may eventually penetrate your underground pipes or hoses.
Tighten or Replace Parts as Necessary to Stop Leaks
After detecting the leak, you need to take care of the irrigation repair. Allowing a leak to go untreated results in higher water bills and may impact the condition of your landscaping. You may notice soggy ground or patches of darker grass.
Depending on the cause of the leak, you may simply need to tighten or replace a component, such as a valve with worn threads. If the source of the leak is underground, you may need to dig to reach the parts that need replacing.
It is typically a good idea to call your local utility to identify the location of any underground utility lines before digging. While irrigation systems should not be installed near utility lines, you may want to double-check before digging.
Use Specialized Leak Detection Tools
Various leak detection tools are available to help detect leaks in underground systems. You may not want to dig without knowing for sure whether there is a leak.
The typical leak detection setup includes a water leak microphone, a logger, and headphones. The microphone is at the end of a rod that you pass over the area where you suspect a leak. The microphone connects to the logger.
The logger records any sound picked up by the microphone and indicates the direction of the leak on a digital display. You can also listen in with a pair of headphones. However, investing in leak detection tools may be too costly for the typical homeowner.
Hire a Professional to Detect and Fix the Leak
If you cannot find the leak using the previous steps, consider hiring professional irrigation repair services. Experts have the tools and knowledge needed to find leaks fast. You can keep your lawn in top shape with less hassle and avoid costly issues that come with leaks.