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Irrigation Systems Leak Detection

Leaks in an irrigation system can occur in several places. Most leaks occur because a valve fails to shut completely, but leaks in system pipes are not unheard of. Broken heads, while not technically a “leak”, waste water when the system is operating.

Indications of leakage include overgrown or particularly green areas of turf, soggy areas around spray heads and aboveground hoses, jammed spray heads, and torn hoses. In drip systems, leakage problems may be the result of tubing or tape that have been damaged by foot traffic of gnawing and chewing animals.

To detect a leak in your irrigation system, you must shut down all water use inside your home and be fairly certain that there is no leakage occurring indoors. Once you have done this, you can use your water meter to see if any water continues to flow into your system. To do this, follow the instructions detailed in the water meter page.

Irrigation system leaks can vary in size and intensity depending on the location and water pressure. If your system develops a large leak in a pipe or valve, you will probably find out about it fairly quickly. Your lawn will be soggy, the ground around the leaking pipe will be soft and muddy, or your neighbor’s attorney will be filing a lawsuit implicating you in damaging his foundation.

Small and slow leaks are much more difficult to detect and pinpoint. You will probably need to use the low flow leak detector wheel on your water meter to determine if any water is flowing. If you do have a slow leak, tracking it down within your sprinkler system may also take some effort. A leaking valve will often result in a flooded valve box or at least a very wet valve box. A slow leak in a piece of pipe may require the services of a professional leak detection firm to locate.

Vickers, Amy. 2001. Handbook of Water Use and Conservation. Water Plow Press, Amherst, Massachusetts.
William Lowe
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Millie Hue

Thursday 20th of September 2018

I never knew that having a leaking irrigation system will cause your neighbor to sue you because it can weaken their house's foundation. With that in mind, I will make sure to have the irrigation system maintained when we have one installed. As of now, we are still looking for a system to buy since we have never handled an irrigation system before. We just need one because we almost have a dead lawn due to forgetting that we have to water it.

Nellie Toole

Friday 11th of May 2018

This information is very beneficial for me for detecting the leak in my sprinkler system. Thank you for sharing this information.