A leak in your irrigation system wastes water, which leads to a higher water bill. As the water leaks into the soil it may also cause the soil to shift, which can damage foundations and paved areas near the leaking water line. Quick detection and repair is your best defense against irrigation leak damage.
Strategy #1: Check the Meter
The first sign of a water leak usually happens at the meter. The type of meter determines the best way to locate a possible leak.
- Make sure that all water both inside and outside the house is turned off.
- Record the meter reading.
- Wait two hours and check the meter reading again. Make sure no water is ran during the two hour window.
If the meter reading has changed, chances are you have a leak somewhere.
On some types of meters, there is actually a leak detector. For these, all you need to do is shut off the water and then check the detector on the meter. The detector is a blue or red triangle on the meter readout. It will continue to move even after the water is shut off if there is a leak.
Strategy #2: Inspect the Sprinklers
If you're unsure if the leak is indoors or outside, you can do a quick inspection of your sprinklers. First, open the valve box and check for standing water. If there isn't any standing water around the valves, the leak may be in a sprinkler line.
Turn on the sprinklers briefly. If you notice low water pressure to all, a few, or just one sprinkler, or if a sprinkler head fails to "pop," chances are the leak is in the sprinkler system.
Strategy #3: Locate the Leak
Large leaks are usually simple to locate. The first place to check is always the valve box. It should be completely dry, so standing water or heavy moisture means the leak is at the valves.
A badly leaking line or pipe is also fairly obvious. Simply walk your property and look for wet or soggy ground. If a single sprinkler line has poor pressure or fails to pop, chances are the leak is along that line.
Small leaks are the most difficult to find, but they can still waste water, result in poor watering of your lawn, or even lead to foundation problems on your home from overly wet soil. Small leaks usually require the expertise of a leak detection service. Your irrigation company can usually provide this service for you.
What to Do Next:
Once you suspect a leak, your next step is to get it repaired. Begin by shutting off the water valve to the sprinkler system and turning off the system, which will prevent further water loss. Then, schedule a repair or detection inspection with places like Davidson's Landscape Service, Inc. The more quickly the leak is fixed, the sooner you can resume your regular watering schedule.