How To Repair a Sprinkler Leak

» Posted by on Nov 28, 2016 in Irrigation systems | Comments Off on How To Repair a Sprinkler Leak

Having an outstanding garden is a matter of no simplicity. There are many factors that weigh in and make work quite challenging at times. One of the most important factors in having a lush green garden is a proper sprinkler system. Of course, plants need a lot of water and everyone has a sprinkler system installed. Everything runs smoothly for a while, until it doesn’t. Like everything else, pipes and sprinklers also adhere to the laws of deterioration. And more probably than not, there will come a time when a pipe starts leaking and you’ll have to do something about it. If not, you will soon start having problems with your garden.

sprinkler-head

Some areas will be watered too much while others will start to dry. Watering is also particularly important in hot climates like the one in Nevada. So, rather than being riddled with distress about having to pay someone to fix it, here’s what we suggest:

  1. Make sure a leak really exists

Spotting a leak can sometimes be challenging. Since the tubes are generally underground you have to start looking for external clues that hint at a leaky tube. One such clue comes from the sprinkler pressure. If you see that the pressure in one of the heads is lower than the others that might be an indicator that something is going wrong underground. Another visual clue is to check the ground for small pools of water that weren’t there before. If you see one or more of the mentioned clues, then you probably are dealing with a broken pipe and need to take measures to fix it.

  1. Locating the leak

Finding where the leak comes from isn’t trivial. You could notice soggy patches or pools of water but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the leak is directly below it. Since you can’t see the leak, turn your attention to other visual clues. You could isolate sprinkler heads that seem to have pressure drops and then look in that area. If you notice water bubbling up or pooling there, then it is safe to give it a shot and get your hands dirty. In cases where you can’t get visual cues from sprinkler pressure, then try to cap a few heads to see if any sprinkler gives a cue under strain. That way you’ll know where to look.

  1. Uncovering the pipe

When you’re sure about the location of the leak, then take a shovel and start digging. Try to dig the sod first, as uniformly as you can. We will use it later to patch everything up so it looks just the same as before. Then dig the soil. One important thing to keep in mind is that you’re not digging for coal but for a delicate pipe and excessive force may damage it further. Once you find the pipe, dig around it and especially under it so you make enough space. That way you can comfortably follow the next steps, which will minimize chances of something going wrong. Also make sure to clean all dirt surrounding the pipe so that nothing gets in.

  1. Cutting and repairing the pipe

This is the step where handyman skills really kick in. You want to make sure you cut the pipe about 5 inches in each direction of the damaged area. This way you make sure that the pipe won’t burst again that particular spot.  Again, make sure to clean both freshly cut ends of the pipe for mud or dirt. You can alternatively get a reputable landscaping company in the area to come in and do all the dirty work for you, saving you time and also ensuring that a proper job is carried out. This can also save you money in the long run.

There are many ways to repair a pipe, but here we will discuss only using slip couplings. If the damage seems more than you can handle, consider hiring a contractor to help with the repair. At this point we have cut and removed the broken part of the pipe. Then proceed to repair it using slip couplings. First, you cut a piece of repair tube to more or less the size of the one that just cut out. Then insert a clamp in one of the ends. After that is done, proceed to position the coupling into place until it feels right. Next, start tightening the clamp until that side of the pipe is firmly contained. After isolating the first side, repeat the same process for the other end of the pipe.  Make sure the clamp is tight enough to not let water go through.

  1. Looking for defects

Sometimes the repair can go wrong and the pipe will still leak. To make sure that you’ve done everything correctly, turn on the sprinkler system on and let it run for a few minutes. Depending on circumstance, a faulty repair may seem stable enough for some time until it finally starts leaking. You don’t want to hurry and be at risk of having to repeat the same process again next week. If everything seems solid after a few minutes, then you can go ahead and put everything together again.

  1. Patching it up

Proceed to shovel all the soil you dug in the excavated area making sure to leave a bit of place for the sod to go on top. That way your lawn will not look bumpy. After putting the soil back where it was, spread some compost on the soil. The dug out grass needs a good dose of nutrients to survive and place roots again. Water the area well for at least a week until everything returns to normal.

A sprinkler leak repair is a chore that no one looks forward to, but it is important you tend to it before it becomes a major problem. Most people procrastinate this task because they imagine it is a lot of work to do. As you can see, the process is fairly straightforward, and if done right, complications will not arise. Sure, you might get your hands and knees a bit dirty, but then again the satisfaction you get when everything is fixed is a reward in itself. So pat yourself on the back and relax in the comfort of your garden!