How to Find a Leak In Your Sprinkler System

A sprinkler system with the words, "how to find a leak in your sprinkler system."

There are many benefits to owning a sprinkler system. Not only do they make for a healthier lawn by providing much-needed water during the hot Texas summers, but they also make for a healthier wallet by regulating water usage so that you only spend as much money on water as is actually needed. 

However, a leak in your sprinkler system can completely undo the benefits that your sprinkler provides and cause even more problems, such as overwatering and higher water bills. If you suspect your sprinkler has a leak but are unable to find the source of the problem, here are some tips to help you out:

What Are the Signs of a Sprinkler Leak?

A few signs can tip a homeowner off that there is a leak in the sprinkler system. Here are the signs that you should keep an eye out for:

  • A noticeable decrease in water pressure from your sprinkler heads
  • Mold and mildew on your grass or near your outdoor water lines
  • Pant damage due to fungus
  • Sections of your lawn are greener than others
  • Sunken areas in your lawn (from overwatering)
  • Dirty water from your sprinkler heads
  • Small holes forming in your yard
  • Obvious signs of damage near your outdoor water lines or sprinkler heads, often caused by animals digging to get to the water.

Each of these signs should be treated seriously. Contacting a sprinkler or outdoor plumbing specialist, such as our team at HEB Plumbing & Sprinkler, can help you find the source of the leak and repair your sprinkler system to good as new. 

Verify the Leak

If you suspect that you have a sprinkler leak, the first thing you need to do is confirm that suspicion. One of the best ways to do this is to turn off the water supply to your home and check your water meter. Make a note as to where the current water usage is at and then check back after a couple of hours. If the water usage continues to rise despite the water being turned off, then this means that there is a leak in your plumbing lines. A plumbing specialist can figure out whether the leak is occurring in your indoor or outdoor plumbing.

Finding the Source

One of the first things you may check is the irrigation controller. Irrigation controllers have an electrical clock that controls when the spring valves open and close. The clock, which is set by the homeowner, tells the sprinkler system when to come on and how long it should be left running. If there is an issue with the irrigation controller, such as incorrect programming or a malfunction, the sprinklers may turn on at the wrong time or otherwise cause an increase in your water bill. 

Check the Sprinkler Valves

The next step is to check the sprinkler valves. The valve boxes themselves should be dry. If for some reason the valve boxes are wet, the culprit may be loose wiring or water leaking from damaged fittings or worn parts.

Check Your Sprinkler Station for Signs Of a Leak

When you check your sprinkler station for signs of a leak, you will need to have another individual help you out. One person will need to remain by the irrigation controller so that they can turn the individual zones off and on. Meanwhile, the second person will be responsible for checking the sprinklers for leaks when they are turned on. When looking for the leak, here is what to keep an eye out for:

  • Flooding around the sprinkler’s base: This could be caused by malfunctioning valves that are causing the sprinkler head to not shut off properly.
  • Water geysers: This is generally caused by a missing sprinkler head.
  • Water spraying between the sprinkler heads: This is usually caused by a crack in the lateral line.
  • Water laying in the grass between the sprinklers: This usually indicates a steady leak coming from an underground pipe.
  • Water spurting from a sprinkler’s base: This is a sign of a broken seal where the riser or the nozzle connects to the underground supply line.

Check to See If the Sprinkler Heads Are Aligned

An array of sprinklers water a green lawn

While it is true that misaligned sprinkler heads are not necessarily a leak, they can certainly lead to water gathering in places where you don’t want or need. If you are leaving your residence or business for an extended period of time, always make sure your sprinkler heads are aligned properly before leaving. This is especially helpful to prevent issues from overwatering one area versus another.

Sprinkler System Leak Detection Tools

Sprinkler system leak detection tools can be especially important for homeowners who want to actively find the source of their sprinkler leak. While it is true that these tools can be expensive and time-consuming to use, they are helpful on large properties. The two types of leak detection tools are water leak microphones and electric acoustic kits. Water leak microphones are sensory rods that are waved over the ground to enhance the sounds of water gushing through the pipes. Electric acoustic kits work very similarly to water leak microphones.

Save Time, Money, and Your Lawn By Hiring a Professional

It’s time to take your sprinkler system into your own hands by choosing the company that is best qualified to assist with all your plumbing needs. HEB Plumbing & Sprinkler is a local business that is owned and operated by responsible master plumber Kathlyn Smith. We have maintained an A+ BBB Service Rating since 1991 and proudly serve all of the residents and commercial businesses of the North East Tarrant County and Arlington areas. Contact us today for more information on our sprinkler system services or to schedule an appointment!

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