Most homeowners catch indoor leaks quickly, but outdoor leaks and problems can be harder to find, especially with your irrigation system. Performing irrigation troubleshooting checks to determine if you have a leak or malfunctioning system can help you conserve water and save money. Irrigation systems should be checked and fixed on a regular basis. We recommend you visually inspect your sprinkler system once a month and have it checked by an irrigation specialist at least once a year. Here's what to look for:
Look at the controller is to make sure the programming is reasonable. Sometimes an irrigation controller loses its programming due to loss of power, and goes on default, which may be the totally wrong schedule for your lawn. Routinely checking your controller’s programming and time clock can ensure you are watering at the appropriate time of day, times per week and for the a reasonable amount of time.
Locate and check each of your valve boxes. Are they flooded or dry? They should be dry. If they’re wet, and it hasn’t been raining, check them carefully for worn parts, loose wiring, or water leaking out between fittings.
Turn the stations on one by one and look for these indications of wasted water:
- Water geysers – which indicate broken or missing sprayheads.
- Water spurts in the space between sprinkler heads – indicating a broken pipe (lateral line) that has already blown out the soil above it.
- Flooded areas between sprinklers – can indicate a slow, steady leak in a lateral line underground. You will have to dig down to find the actual spot.
- Spurts of water at the base of a sprinkler – indicating a broken seal where the nozzle or riser meets the supply line beneath.
- Floods around the base of a sprinkler – grass may need to be cut shorter or a short riser replaced with a taller one. Also, could be an old valve that is not shutting off properly.
- Misaligned sprayhead – shoots water into a nearby obstruction or over the sidewalk or driveway, instead of grass. The sprayhead needs to be realigned.
Keep in mind, if there are any breaks or loose fittings underground, the water loss may not be visible. Because water naturally flows in a path of least resistance and gravity pulls it down, many underground leaks do not appear on the surface of the ground. If your water usage has been unusually high, and you suspect an underground irrigation leak, consult an irrigation specialist.
Visit http://www.savetarrantwater.com/ to find a DIY video library of common sprinkler repairs.