Have you been noticing your water bill going up? Did you know that a leak in your irrigation system could be the culprit? It's not always easy to find an irrigation leak. You're going to need a few tools and some time, but it's worth it!

You'll need the following:

  • A garden hose
  • A bucket or other container for catching water from the faucet
  • Coins of different denominations (at least two quarters)
  • Colored chalk or pens
  • An outdoor faucet with a hose attachment (or one inside if there is no outside access)
  • Time and patience

With these items we'll show you how to find a leak in your irrigation system.

A High Water Bill Can Indicate A Leak

A leak near one sprinkler head can lose about 225 gallons during one 15-minute watering cycle. Run three times per week, that can waste about 3,000 gallons of water per month. - jbirrigation.com

A leak in an irrigation system can cost a lot more than the water it wastes. Over time, the materials used to construct your system will deteriorate due to excess exposure to moisture. The result is that you may have a very serious problem on your hands, one which requires immediate action.

How To Find A Water Leak In Your Yard

A leak in an irrigation system can cost a lot more than the water it wastes. Over time, the materials used to construct your system will deteriorate due to excess exposure to moisture. The result is that you may have a very serious problem on your hands, one which requires immediate action.

But where to start looking?

Your first step should be to examine the system generally. It's best to look at things from a higher vantage point than just looking at the ground in one small section of your property.

Walk around and check each sprinkler head, while visually inspecting any buried lines for signs of water damage or external leaks which you can fix right away.

Look for discoloration, missing parts or pieces of metal that have rusted and fallen off as well; these can all be indicators that there is a leak somewhere nearby.

Sometimes a leak might even occur further down line from the actual ruptured pipe, but not far enough away that it has been undetected by the damaged sprinkler head.

Fix any breaks you find right away, as this will cut down on your overall water usage and help to prevent mold growth in the future.

If there's an area of wetness or discoloration without a visible broken pipe nearby, dig into the ground about six inches before looking for a crack or rupture that may not be above ground yet.

How Do I Stop My Irrigation System From Leaking?

You're probably already aware that sprinkler systems will eventually need repair. Leaks are common problems, and leaking pipes or valves can be a real headache to fix! What you might not know is how to turn off the water supply when leaks occur in your irrigation system. This little trick could save you quite a bit of money on your water bill over time!

The first thing you'll need to do is turn the sprinkler irrigation controller off. Even if this doesn't fix your leak, it will at least stop any more water from getting wasted. But if turning turning the controller off doesn't work - the next step to take is to turn off the water supply TO the irrigation system.

Here's a video giving you instructions on how to do these steps.

With these steps you should be able to turn off your irrigation system to repair any leaks. But unfortunately, a leak will occur again, every now and then. Like anything else, your sprinklers and all the components associated with them will just need maintenance and repair every so often. A good rule of thumb is to have your sprinkler systems inspected once every year.

Can A Sprinkler System Leak When Off?

It seems that if the sprinklers are turned OFF that it shouldn't be leaking but that isn't necessarily the case. Your sprinkler system could still be leaking when it's turned off. Irrigation systems can leak when not in use, and sprinkler system leaks may go undetected for weeks or months.

This could be caused by two different issues:

  • Low Head Drainage - this is when the sprinkler head in the lowest zone continues to let water out of the piping. Once all the water is out of the pipes, the leak will stop.
  • A Leaky Valve - the main reason water would leak through a valve is due to some type of debris that is clogging up the diaphragm of that valve.

To check for a low head drainage problem, look at your irrigation layout plans and figure out the highest zone in your system. Turn on that zone and open its valve to drain off all of the water from all zones below it. Inspect all materials near this zone for wet spots or any signs of leaks.

Either of these issues could be costing you a good amount of money if they are not repaired.

However, it is not only the water that you lose through a leak that can be costly for you. If your system has a high head issue, you may end up burning out pumps if you do not correct this problem as soon as possible in the irrigation season.

If you have any questions about a leaky sprinkler system or are having some problems with it, call Atlantis Plumbing today at 770-443-8229. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.