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Broken Sprinkler Pipe in Underground Irrigation

Broken Sprinkler Pipe in Underground Irrigation

Sprinklers are necessary for a healthy garden, but they can also be a nuisance due to leaks, expensive water bills, and ruined landscaping. It is critical to identify the leak and find irrigation pipes in order to discover an underground sprinkler system leak. Broken pipes are frequently to blame, as they are the source of many problems. Because of its underground nature, identifying the issue is challenging.

This article explains how to locate a broken pipe in a sprinkler system, the need to repair it immediately, and how to resolve the problem. Professionals can help you locate and repair the broken pipe, ensuring a smooth and effective irrigation system.

How to Tell if an Underground Sprinkler System is Leaking

Wet areas.  If the ground is dry except for a small area after a sunny day, a leak may be to blame. Check if that place dries out later to confirm. If it stays wet without explanation, it may leak.

Soggy ground.  When you step on wet earth, do you experience a mushy sensation? This may indicate a leak if you step over a few spots on the ground on a hot day.

Stiff ground. Overly saturated ground will collapse or be lower than well-watered lawns. Seeing or feeling this may indicate a leak. 

Fungi grow here and there. Due to the amount of sunlight, lawns rarely sprout mushrooms or other fungal growth. If your grass is always wet, fungi will outgrow the sun. 

The concrete walkway or patio is continuously wet. Unless it continually rains or someone spills water on it, concrete surfaces near your grass shouldn't stay wet. If water doesn't evaporate rapidly on such surfaces, your sprinklers may be leaking. 

Maybe the water pressure changed. Water should flow uniformly and overlap when the sprinkler system is on. If they don't or if it flows lower than usual, a leak may be impacting water pressure.

You hear hissing, bubbling, or gurgling. Your underground sprinkler system may leak if you listen closely. In-ground sprinkler system leaks can be noisy. To avoid problems, pay attention to garden noises as well as water heater noises. 

Unexpected water bill increase. If your household's water consumption hasn't changed and there are no leaks, an underground leak may explain why your water bill is so high. 

Sprinklers ensure that your landscaping receives enough water to grow, whether it's green and thriving or brown and withering. However, areas that appear to be dying or wilting may not be getting enough water due to low pressure. 

No matter how much water comes in, the soil will absorb it. If water pools on the ground without signs of absorption, a leak may be to blame. 

The water that comes out is dirty. Leaks in your sprinkler system not only allow soil to enter the pipes and mingle with the water that is released by the sprinkler heads, but also allow water to leak in unintended locations.

If you see any of these signs, correct them immediately. Your sprinkler system leaks can be dangerous as well as expensive and harm your garden.

Dangers of an Underground Leak

Sprinkler system leaks harm plants and property. Overwatering plants kills them quickly, and underground leaks can be dangerous. Underground leaks can cause sinkholes, below-ground cavities, flooding, structural problems, and even mortality if they are not repaired immediately.

Water can undermine your home's foundations, break decks, patios, and pathways, and cause uneven floors and collapse. Ruined power wires can cause mold and fungus that harm health. The wood around the leaky place may rot, and your home's walls and foundations may crack.

Fixing leaks is necessary to protect your garden, but fixing the system is more crucial. Fixing leaks is crucial, but keeping your house safe and functional is more critical.

How to Locate Irrigation Lines

If there's a problem with your sprinkler system, find it. Problems are usually underground, unless they include sprinkler heads and valves.

Unless you ask the plumber who built your sprinkler system to designate the irrigation lines or are given a map, you'll have trouble tracing them. Sprinkler systems are installed underground and disguised by grass and earth.

Your yard may require extensive digging to find them. Yes, you'll need to search. 

If you don't want to dig up your lawn to find all those pipes, you need to know about irrigation lines.

They will run straight and only turn at 90 degrees due to t-joint pipes. Only straight and t-joint pipes make up irrigation lines. Since pipes are shallowly buried, you won't spend much time digging. You must be careful when digging to avoid damaging pipes. Sprinkler pipes are constructed of metal or plastic, usually PVC. Older sprinkler systems employ metal; PVC is more common now.

Using specialist instruments will help find irrigation lines. Here are some pipe, cable, and metal detectors for metal pipes.

Start digging where? You have options:

From near your valve box, which is connected to irrigation lines. Sprinkler Heads' Surrounding Area Due to leaks, straight ground recedes, especially along sprinkler lines.

Sprinklers are close together and interconnected, so you can predict where the irrigation lines are. You may find the irrigation lines that connect the valve box to your sprinkler by measuring the shortest path between them. 

Use a soil probe rod before digging into pipes if you're hesitant. Put this on the ground until a pipe breaks or water leaks. There's less risk of hitting a pipe and harming it, but be careful when poking around with a sharp edge.

Do some digging after you know where the lines are. Main supply lines are buried deeper than irrigation lines, which are usually 8 inches underground. Avoid hit-pipe damage by angling your shovel and digging shallowly. 

Before digging, turn off the water and go slowly. Some homeowners learn this the hard way when they accidentally damage pipes and water gushes forth like a geyser. 

How to Find a Broken Sprinkler Pipe in Your Underground Irrigation System

Finding your irrigation lines is essential to determining if a pipe is broken in your sprinkler system. The source of a leak may be inches or feet away. Consider its proximity to the valve or sprinkler head to determine if the leak is from a broken pipe.

Low or no water pressure on two connected sprinkler heads is another sign of a broken pipe. To verify this, turn off the zone valve, cap the sprinkler heads, let the irrigation lines dry, turn on the valve, and look for signs of dampness on the ground above the irrigation lines.

Eliminating the leaking area on the system and digging around it will reveal the broken pipes. Finding a leak in your irrigation system is the best way to find a broken pipe.

Irrigation Leak Detection Equipment

Finding leaks in an underground irrigation system is vital. Leak noise recorders, electro-acoustic testing kits, and water leak microphones can identify leaks by listening for leaks. These gadgets detect leaks and their locations, like stethoscopes. However, these tools are costly and difficult for beginners.

Analog and digital water meters may identify leaks, but they may not distinguish between water lines and irrigation systems. A specialized irrigation meter connected to your sprinkler system can be built to notify you when a leak occurs in your irrigation lines if your water meter does not have this capability. This sort of meter may miss modest system leaks. 

Finally, locating underground irrigation system leaks needs forethought and specific equipment.

Sprinkler Shut Off Valve Leaking When It's Off

By installing a sprinkler shut-off valve, sprinklers can be manually controlled. This valve provides a temporary shutoff. Sprinklers might leak owing to freezing weather, frozen pipes, natural wear, or loose components. Plumbers tighten loose fittings to fix leaks, but if the leak persists or is irreparable, they replace them.

Water is leaking from the sprinkler head.

Even if your complete sprinkler system has been turned off, you may observe a sprinkler head or two still emitting water. But before you assume it's broken, keep in mind that this is a common problem that may be resolved.

This type of leak can occur as a result of any of the following:

Stuck dirt, particularly on its nozzles and filters, impedes regular water flow.

Pipe damage 

Due to the sprinkler system being constructed on a slope, there is low head drainage. Gravity will operate against the sprinkler head at the lowest point because the remaining water will flow downward when the sprinkler is turned off. This results in leaks on that specific sprinkler head. 

Your sprinkler system's connections are faulty. 

Troubleshooting these will necessitate: 

Cleaning the zone valves and sprinkler heads of the sprinkler system and replacing worn and damaged components Installing a drain check valve or altering the sprinkler system's position on a slope Identifying and repairing faulty connections

Given everything, it makes sense to assume that a leaky sprinkler head is a minor issue that a professional can fix quickly.

How to Fix a Broken Sprinkler Line

After finding a broken pipe causing a sprinkler system leak, use a shovel, PVC primer, hacksaw, sandpaper, measuring tape, and PVC solvent or cement to fix it.

Here's the usual way of repairing a broken PVC sprinkler line:

Turn off the valve for the damaged pipes to stop water from running throughout the task. Carefully dig around it to provide work space. Between 4 and 6 inches is suggested between the pipe and dirt. The repair can be hidden if the pipe is in your yard. This requires digging out the soil with several inches of soil underneath to avoid injuring the roots. Use square patches.

Clean around the pipe and remove any leaking water. Priming PVC pipe contact points with purple Primers soften PVC, making disconnections easier. Unscrew or hacksaw the damaged portion, or use a PVC cutter for smaller sections. Clean the ends after cutting the damaged sections. Remove as little pipe as is feasible. If a small portion of the pipe is damaged, you can remove an inch or a foot of it as long as it covers the entire section.

Sand the pipe ends with sandpaper. If the cut part is short, you can glue the replacement pipe's ends to the cut sprinkler line using solvent. If it's long, you can install a repair pipe or new pipe and couplers. You just need to stretch the repair pipes to cover the cut section and glue them in place. If utilizing a new pipe, glue a coupler on each side, and then glue the couplers to the cut sprinkler line.

Leave the new pipes to set for a few hours without turning on the sprinkler valve. After turning on the valve, check for leaks. If not, cover it with cleared soil and sod.

Getting Help from Pros

Fixing a broken sprinkler pipe yourself may be time-consuming and messy, harming the system and landscaping. Complex tools and pricey equipment take time. Rather than spend hundreds on tools, hire a plumber if you don't have the correct ones. They can finish quickly, save money, and preserve your landscaping.

Ask for references and compare costs, or fill out a form and wait for up to four plumbers to contact you to find a trusted plumber. Accept or deny offers with this free service. Fill out the form to fix your underground irrigation system quickly.