How to find a leak in a sprinkler system
July 16, 2012 3:54 PM   Subscribe

How can we find out if there's a leak in our sprinkler system?

My husband and I bought a house in March 2011. In July 2011, we had concrete poured in the back yard for a patio. The next month, the water bill sky rocketed. I am inclined to believe that the process of putting in the concrete broke something in our sprinkler system, and we have a leak underground somewhere. My husband thinks the increase is just because we now have the sprinkler system turned on in regular intervals. How can we find out if there's a leak? I've already looked for wet patches in the grass and haven't found any.
posted by allison00 to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
Is there any way to turn off/disconnect the sprinkler heads? If you can do this, checking for a leak should be as simple as opening the valve and seeing if any water starts flowing.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:00 PM on July 16, 2012

You need to do a "pressure test" on the lines. Any plumber can do this for you. It should not cost much money to do it. Plumbers have to do these test frequently, to pass plumbing inspections. They all have the tool, and it should only take a few minutes.
posted by Flood at 4:02 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you turn all your sprinklers on, do they seem to all have the same pressure? If they do, the high water bill is probably just from using the sprinklers. If different zones look like they have different pressure, or if the heads aren't popping up all the way, you probably have a leak.

All this info is from the licensed irrigator sitting next to me(but not YOUR licensed irrigator).
posted by shmurley at 4:43 PM on July 16, 2012

Is your water meter accessible?

I'd suggest turning off all of your indoor and outdoor water uses. Read the meter, then wait 15 minutes and read it again. If the reading changed, then your system has a leak and you can calculate how much water is leaking.
posted by rube goldberg at 4:59 PM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

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