The biggest problems with sprinkler lines come because they are buried underground. If they leak they can cause large sinkholes or mud bogs if they aren't immediately taken care of. Here are a few ways you can identify leaks in your sprinkler lines before it's too late. Fortunately there are some telltale signs that can let you know if you do have a leak and where that leak is.
Do You Have a Problem?
The first sign is if you have a brown spot in your yard. While this could be a sign of you are not watering enough, it could also be a sign that you have a leak. Because your sprinklers run at night to save water, you'll need to figure out what station the dead spot is on. The easiest way to do this is to be in communication with someone who is watching your dead spot. Once the sprinklers around it turn on, then you can check it out.
Finding The Leak
If the sprinkler is just barely running with water dribbling out, you have a small leak somewhere along the pipe in between sprinklers. Get down on your hands and knees and take a look around the edge of the dry area to see if there's a spot that yields to the touch or is wetter than other areas. When you find it, this is likely where your leak is. Dig down in that area, taking care to cut your lawn cleanly so that it is easy to replace when you are done.
Fixing The Leak
The easiest way to take care of your leak once you find it is to turn off your sprinklers and the water supply so that you don't have to worry about any errant water ruining your repair job. You can then patch your pipe. Cut the pipe in two pieces, cutting out the leak. Use some sandpaper to rough up the two ends of the cut pipe. Slide on a PVC sleeve and use plumbers tape to secure the pipe.
Don't immediately bury it again because you want to make sure that the leak has been patched. Give the pipe a few hours to let it dry completely and turn your sprinklers back on. If your leak is sealed, re-bury the line and keep an eye on it. Sometimes leaks may reappear after a short time if it wasn't patched properly.
For more information or for professional advice, contact Rakeman Plumbing.