3 Ways to Detect Leaks in Your Irrigation System

By Kalin Thomas on March 20, 2018 in Blog4 Comments

3 Ways to Detect Leaks in Your Irrigation System graphic

Fix a Leak Week is happening now—March 19 through March 25. Every year, Ewing celebrates the week by educating its customers on how to check their landscapes for leaks, and how to remedy and repair them.

Since irrigation systems often run during the night when nobody’s watching, and many of the components are buried underground, we have to rely on other ways to check for leaks. Here are some signs to look out for that may indicate a leak in an irrigation system.

Ask Your Customer to Check Their Bill

The easiest way to spot a leak doesn’t even require you to go outside: simply have your customer check their water bill.

If they notice a sudden spike in water usage costs during colder months, or if their water usage looks abnormally high, check the irrigation controller to make sure the watering times are programmed correctly.

If the watering times are fine, there could be a serious leak underground that requires your attention.

Check the meters

Using the meters to determine if you have a leak will require you to shut off all the water on your property.

Once your water is shut off, check your water meter. Some water meters have a flow indicator that looks like a small triangle. Once you’ve shut off the water meter, this triangle should not move at all. If it rotates slowly, there is likely a leak on the property.

If you do not have a flow indicator on your water meter, you can record the number displayed on your meter. Once the first number is recorded, you should not use any water on the site. Come back after a couple of hours and re-record; if the number has changed, you have a leak.

Take your irrigation controller into consideration when upgrading in the future. A flow meter attached to the irrigation controller can turn off the system when it notices leaks. Some technology will even notify you via email when it occurs.

Look at the Landscape

Alternatively, you can look at your customer’s lawns to determine if the leak is related to the irrigation system. Muddy, sunken areas in a lawn are major indicators of an underground irrigation system leak.

In addition, if you notice darker green spots around a sprinkler head, or if the grass is much taller and thicker than the rest of the lawn near the sprinkler head, this is also a sign you may be dealing with a sprinkler leak.

Serious leaks often leave standing pools of water on a lawn or around ornamentals. If left too long, standing water could also lead to insect and fungal problems on the site, so it’s important to get this issue resolved as quickly as possible.

Fix the problem

If you’ve noticed any of these signs and symptoms of an irrigation link, there are steps you can take to fix it. Check out our YouTube video playlist dedicated to repairing different types of irrigation leaks.

Be sure to ask your customers to always monitor their water bill and monitor the grass. Consistently keeping an eye out for these indicators of leaks can ensure you catch minor leaks before they become major issues.

What other signs do you look for to detect leaks in irrigation systems? Share with us in the comments below.

3 Ways to Detect Leaks in Your Irrigation System graphic
Kalin Thomas
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4 Responses to 3 Ways to Detect Leaks in Your Irrigation System

  1. Rebecca Gardner December 21, 2020 at 12:25 pm #

    It caught my attention when you explained that irrigation leaks commonly leave muddy or sunken areas in a home’s yard. I noticed a muddy area near the front of my yard when I got home from work yesterday afternoon. I’m glad I read your article so I can hire a sprinkler repair service soon and see if it was caused by an issue with the irrigation system.

  2. Joe Miami July 31, 2021 at 4:12 pm #

    Some people don’t have a clue about any of this stuff. So thanks for the explanation because I’m one of them, lol. Great article!

    • Robyn Hazen August 2, 2021 at 9:24 am #

      Thanks for the compliment, Joe! Whether you’re new or an industry vet, your business is a priority to us. It’s the reason we’ve been at it for 100 years!

  3. Tammie Houston November 1, 2021 at 6:21 am #

    You made a great point when you talked about how greener grass on one part of your lawn may be a sign of an underground leak. Since that part would get much more water than other parts of your lawn, it’s likely to make the grass there much healthier as well. I noticed that our meters were always rotating slowly and I was never sure why until I read your article. I’ll look around to see if there are any greener patches of grass like you mentioned and find an underground leak repair service if I do find one.

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