Watch Out For Leaks On Your Sprinkler System
Spring is here and it is time to turn the sprinklers back on. After the sprinkler’s sit dormant or off during the short San Diego winter season, sometimes seals can dry out, pipes can break and things can happen that can cause leaks when you turn the system back on for spring
Here are a licensed plumbers 3 things to look out for when you turn your sprinkler system back on:
- An unusually high water bill. Don’t forget that you probably had your sprinklers turned off all winter long, which in turn caused you to have a lower water bill. Once you turn your sprinklers back on, your water bill will go up. Generally by 30-50%. If you see a spike of 100% or more, you could have a leak somewhere, or your sprinklers could be running for too long. Check your timer to make sure the cycles are not too long. We generally recommend 15-20 minutes of run time. Any more, and the ground can get too saturated and the remainder of the water will simply run off into the sidewalk
- Puddles of water or signs of leaks around your yard. After you have had your sprinkler system on for a week or two, and your sprinklers have had a chance to get warmed up, take a walk around your front and back yard to check for extra wet ground, signs of water pooling up or leaks. When sprinkler lines have a leak underground, the water will often pool up to the surface. Just because the water pools up in a certain area, does not mean that is where the leak is. So if you are the do it yourself type, we typically advise to start digging the area up. Water follow the path of least resistance. Sometimes leaks can be from a far away point, and show up at a low point in the yard. You may have to call a plumber to use leak detection equipment to find the leak if it is not obvious.
- Obvious leaks on your zone valves and sprinkler heads. The zone valves are basically an on/off valve that allows the sprinklers to turn on and off to allow water to the sprinkler heads. You will notice them by their appearance. They usually have wires sticking out of them, round black tops with screws sticking out of them and white pipes connecting to them from the ground. They are usually in the side of the yard and can often be hidden. Perform a visual inspection for any drips or major leaks from these. Usually a sprinkler repair man can fix these very quickly. Also check to see if any of your sprinkler heads are broken. Sometimes they will accidentally get broken by kids playing in the yard, a lawn mower or dogs running around. When your sprinkler system is on, and you see water rushing out of the lawn somewhere, you will know that you have a broken sprinkler head.
Make sure to check these 3 things as the city of San Diego is not shy to give at fines for water leaks, considering California can be short on water.