how to find broken sprinkler pipes underground 2

How To Find Broken Sprinkler Pipes Underground?

Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    Have you ever discovered that something was wrong with your home's sprinkler system? If that's the case, then it's probably time to dig up and fix the underground pipes. These are the conduits for the water supply to the sprinklers outside the house. Difficult water pressure and dry patches in the garden or the lawn are just two of the problems that can result from broken pipes. Find out where underground irrigation lines have broken and how to fix them for good with the help of this post.

    Have you ever discovered that something was wrong with your home's sprinkler system? If that's the case, then it's probably time to dig up and fix the underground pipes. These are the conduits for the water supply to the sprinklers outside the house. Difficult water pressure and dry patches in the garden or the lawn are just two of the problems that can result from broken pipes. Find out where underground irrigation lines have broken and how to fix them for good with the help of this post.

    You should fix any leaks in your underground sprinkler system right away to avoid further complications like rising water bills, ruined landscaping, and cracks in nearby hardscapes or walls. Sprinkler pipe breaks are the most common source of water seepage. Locating a leak in the ground is a lot more challenging than a leak in the ceiling or walls of your home. Since this is a common problem, we compiled some pointers to help you track down the source of leaks in your underground sprinkler pipes. This will allow you to address the issue before it escalates into a more serious problem.

    Identifying The Water Break

    how to find broken sprinkler pipes underground 3

    It could be difficult to track down a broken pipe in the sprinkler system if one were to break because of the system's underground location. Finding the leak in the system is the first step in identifying the defective pipe. Do not risk ruining your garden or landscaping by digging up the entire area in search of a pipe that may or may not be there. Usually, a leak indicates a broken pipe in the area.

    The first sign of an irrigation system leak could be an unexpectedly high water bill. If you have made sure that nothing has changed at home, including the amount of water used, but your most recent water bill is higher than usual, you may have a pipe leak. Turning off the main water valve is one way to check for a leaking pipe. It's estimated that it will take twenty minutes for the water to completely stop moving through the system. The next step is to check the water metre to see if it is in motion. If it hasn't stopped running yet, there must be a leak.

    Tracking Down The Burst Pipe

    Water leaks in your sink or roof, for example, will be easy to spot from the outside. They leak from the ceiling and fall to the floor, where they frequently collect to make puddles or watermarks. When it comes to cracks in the earth's crust, however, the rules change. Finding the source of a leak can be challenging because water may be dripping from a pipe in an unrelated area. If you notice a drop in water pressure or, even more rarely, if water stops flowing from two connected sprinkler heads, the problem may be a broken pipe. There's a chance that a broken sprinkler line will be buried beneath a leaking area, and that you'll have to dig around it to find it. This will help you pinpoint the damaged pipe. A broken sprinkler pipe can be found quickly by following these simple steps:

    • The water supply to the area where the leak is thought to be should be turned off at the main shutoff valve.
    • Please wait until the soil in that area has dried out entirely before continuing.
    • Verify that the soil is dry before turning on the valve.
    • Check for dampness around the perimeter of the irrigation lines.

    Water Leak Detection Tools You can always spend money on tools that will make it easier to find leaks that could cause broken pipes. However, the tools will not help you peer below the surface. They use noise instead to help them find the leak. These resources include, among others:

    • an audio device for detecting water seepage
    • instruments for listening to and measuring sound levels
    • Sound recorder for leaking pipes
    • Headphones

    How Do You Locate A Burst Sprinkler Pipe In The Ground?

    Water damage can be substantial if sprinkler pipes have cracked and the leak is not immediately apparent. Here are a few clues that might help you pinpoint the source of the issue:

    Ensure The Primary Valves Of The Irrigation System Are Working

    Start by checking the condition of the valves in your main irrigation system. As a first step, you should turn off the water supply before heading out to the backyard to check the sprinkler valves. Next, check for leaks in each area by turning off the water supply to the valves individually. In order to use a pipe you find in your yard, you'll need to excavate it with a shovel or a digger.

    Verify The Labelling Of Contractors

    Underground pipes are typically marked with spray paint before excavation begins to prevent damage to the pipes. Make sure the contractor knows where the broken sprinkler pipe is located before digging it up if you're planning a backyard renovation or have recently had work done on your home.

    Spread Washcloths Or Towels

    When using sprinklers, protect the ground or floor in front of the heads by placing towels or other absorbent material there. The presence of moisture suggests the existence of leaks beneath the surface. You can use rags or something else that soaks up liquids instead. If the wet spots keep expanding, it may be because of a broken sprinkler pipe.

    Look At The Sprinkler's Head

    The presence of water dripping from the sprinkler heads indicates an external leak. This indicates either a systemic issue with the sprinkler system or a problem with a specific sprinkler head. Unlike with leaks that occur underground, where many factors must be taken into account, the number of variables involved here is relatively small, making it easier to find a solution. Locate the source of the problem with your sprinkler system and fix it if you notice any of these signs or a combination of them. Find the broken pipe or faulty fitting and fix it or replace it as necessary.

    Irrigation Controller Verification

    If you have checked the sprinkler heads and there are no signs of leakage, you should check the irrigation controller. These gadgets are typically hidden in unobtrusive places like basements and garages, making them difficult to find.

    Seek Assistance From Your Relatives

    The cracked pipe in your lawn's sprinkler system can be located with the help of your friends and family. Volunteers can help you save money and free up time that you can put towards other tasks.

    Get In Touch With Your Neighborhood Water Provider

    One possible cause of the leaks in the city's water mains is the increased water pressure. If that's the case, you may want to check in with your water provider to see if they have any upcoming construction projects in the area. Even worse, the enormous force may have broken the pipes.

    Locate The Leak With A Leak Detector.

    Please don't panic if you can't find any of these clues; there is another way to find them. Any leak, no matter how small, can be found with the help of a leak locator, which can be purchased from a number of different retailers. A leak locator can be purchased at most any home improvement store or hardware. Locating the source of a leak using such a method can be challenging. Use the above advice to find out if your pipes are leaking and where they are.

    What Are Some Splasher Pipe Leak Signs?

    There are a few things to look out for if your sprinkler system is malfunctioning. Being aware of some of these red flags can aid you in avoiding them even more. Possible indications of a broken sprinkler pipe include:

    Spots Of Discoloration In Your Grass

    Lawn discoloration or the appearance of unwanted plants in inappropriate places (possibly indicating the possible presence of water). Roots that have found a source of water are the root of this issue.

    Spilling Over

    A crack in an underground pipe could be the cause of regular water flow from your sprinkler system. It is critical to quickly identify the source of the leak because leaks can cause significant damage to property and lead to more expensive repairs. If there are puddles or other signs of water damage in your yard, it could be due to a leaking pipe. Examine the area for any additional signs of damage, such as damp spots or leaks. In the dead of winter, when there are no trees to block the sprinklers' path, it is possible that water is escaping because the sprinklers are not secured properly. It's possible that you could figure out what's wrong with your sprinkler if you use reasoning.

    Sprinklers With Foam At The Ends

    There could be a problem with the piping if your sprinkler system isn't performing as well as it should. In order to determine whether or not a pipe is leaking underground, it is best to start by looking for telltale signs in the yard. Due to dirt accumulation, sprinkler heads can develop foam at their tips. Mineral deposits within the water pipes could also be to blame. Call a plumber immediately if you notice foam accumulating at the tips of your sprinkler heads; this could be a sign of a serious problem with your irrigation system.

    Sprinkler Nozzles Stays Put.

    It's possible that a lack of water or mechanical issues with the sprinklers are to blame for the heads not spinning. Checking that the sprinkler heads are spinning is a good way to tell if they are functioning properly. The sprinkler head should rotate clockwise when it's functioning properly. There should be no need for the services of a plumber unless this is the case.

    Having Insufficient Water Volume Or Pressure.

    When either the water pressure or the amount of water entering a residence decreases, it may be a sign of a problem with the pipes. Again, scour the yard for anything that might point to a broken pipe underground.

    As The Water Is Turned Off

    If you switch off your home's water supply and all or nearly all of the water stops flowing, the problem may be a leaky subterranean pipe. Until you have had a professional look at your sprinklers, you should wait to use them.

    Water Rates To Go Up

    A higher water bill may also result from a leaking water pipe. There could be a leak in a pipe if your water bill has gone higher but it has nothing to do with the weather. One other possibility is that the water metre is malfunctioning. The loss of pressure could be another sign of a leak. Loss of water pressure can occur if pipes are broken or cracked.

    Dwelling With Submerged Water

    One more indication of a broken sprinkler system is the appearance of puddles under your home. There could be serious issues brewing if you find puddles under your home, so call a plumber right away if you see any.

    Damage To Your Ceiling From Water

    The sprinkler system can be harmed if a pipe bursts, causing water to seep into your home. The ceilings in your home may also end up with water damage and a musty smell. Furthermore, mildew or mould may grow in such wet places. These leaks are more prevalent in colder regions since frozen pipes are more liable to burst there.

    Hear Sounds

    Broken pipes can occasionally harm the sprinkler system, causing water to flow into the house if the system is not properly maintained. Furthermore, it has the potential to create musty odours and water stains on your home's ceilings. Furthermore, mould or mildew may grow in moist locations. These kind of leaks are more common in colder climates since pipelines are more prone to bursting due to freezing temperatures. As a result, these types of leaks result in more water damage.

    Tree Roots Or Ground Movement?

    You may have a broken pipe underground if the amount of water in your yard has been increasing steadily and there are damp spots in your yard. Roots of trees or shifting ground could be at blame. If you think this might be the case, get in touch with a sprinkler service to learn more about how to address the issue quickly and affordably.

    Areas Of The Ground That Are Wet

    Another symptom of a broken sprinkler system is the appearance of moist areas in your yard. The increased water level in your yard could be the result of a number of factors, including a burst underground pipe, tree roots, and shifting earth.

    How Does A Sprinkler Pipe Crack Underground?

    It's possible the subterranean pipe for the sprinkler system cracked. Some of the causes of broken subsurface sprinkler systems are as follows:

    Typical Aging

    Wear and tear over time can cause cracking, deterioration, or corrosion, which can cause a material to fail and break.

    Weak Backing

    Without the proper maintenance and care, a system will eventually break down. It can require mounting to a surface like a fence or wall. In the event that the pipe is used as intended, addressing these concerns may assist avert a potential rupture. Inadvertent blows from lawnmowers and other playground equipment can cause sprinkler systems to break. The pipe may burst as a result of these cracks.

    Terrible Setup

    A sprinkler system requires careful planning and consideration before the installation process can begin. Your underground sprinkler system's installation method will depend on its design and the materials used to build it. If it's not done right, the whole system won't work right, and it could lead to the failure of individual parts.

    Attempts At Repair That Failed

    Repairs to an underground sprinkler system may not last as long as you'd like. This is why it's better to hire a professional plumber to do the work than try to do it yourself. It's unfortunate that some homeowners think they can fix their leaking pipes without calling a plumber. However, attempts at repair using this method almost usually fail. Why? for the simple reason that they have no idea how to fix a broken pipe in an underground sprinkler system.

    Neglected Upkeep

    If you have an underground sprinkler system, it is critical that you maintain it regularly. Failure to regularly clean and water the pipes of the sprinkler system as suggested can lead to pipe wear and eventual pipe cracking beneath the ground.

    Earthquakes And Other Earth-Shifting Events

    Issues with your underground sprinkler system could be the result of seismic activity. One of the many factors that might cause harm to underground sprinkler systems is frost. For instance, frost can put stress on pipes, causing them to crack or burst in places. The pipe may rupture totally due to the freezing temperatures. That being said, preventative measures ought to be taken so as to forestall the occurrence of the issue.

    Where Should You Look For The Leak?

    Since you've noticed that your sprinklers aren't spraying water, you should check for a water leak. Both water pooling in one area of your yard and the presence of cracks in your yard are indicators that you should inspect your water system for leaks. When water pressure at home is low, it's important to check for leaks as a possible cause.

    Tips On How Cracked Sprinkler Pipe Fix

    how to find broken sprinkler pipes underground

    Listed below is an exhaustive explanation of how to fix a broken sprinkler pipe:

    Prepare Yourself By Acquiring The Necessary Resources

    It is imperative that the broken pipe be removed immediately. Use this underground pipe as soon as possible if you need to perform any sort of maintenance or replacement. Some of the supplementary resources include:

    • Chisel and hammer
    • Instrument for Measuring
    • Power tool
    • Tighten, flare
    • A vessel used to collect water.

    Warnings: Water may seep from the underground pipe, so it's important to protect the ground you're working on by covering it with something that will handle moisture, such as cardboard or an old carpet. Protecting yourself from potential harm is a good idea. It is critical to always use protective gear, such as gloves and a hard hat, when dealing with damaged plumbing.

    Dig A Hole

    Before beginning to dig, you need to determine the exact size of the hole and ensure that the ground is flat. To just let the pipe sit in an uneven hole is not preferable. You may also need to provide some sort of support underneath the new pipe if you want to keep it from cracking again. It's best to know exactly what needs doing before you start digging.

    Obviously, we need to get to work on that hole right away. In all likelihood, you won't need a shovel because the underground pipe is already buried. The availability of sand can be a lifesaver if the soil you're working in is particularly compacted. In order to prevent any damage to your digging gear, make sure that it has been cleaned and prepared properly before you start.

    Fit Your New Pipe Into The Opening

    You must now place your new pipe in the single hole that has been drilled. Use a level to ensure a straight installation, and measure two inches down from the top of the tube to the point where water emerges when the sprinkler is set to its normal height. In addition, you can add some plugs on top if that becomes necessary. The lack of subsequent leakage can thus be guaranteed.

    Stop The Leak!

    To prevent further damage to yourself and your home, you must ensure that the underground pipe is properly sealed. As an alternative, you might use a metal collar or any number of available clamps. Your familiarity with the wide variety of raw materials at your disposal will come in handy now. When replacing pipes in your sprinkler system, it's important to choose a sealing method that's compatible with the materials used to create those pipes. If you know who installed your system, you can ask them about the methods they used to ensure that the pipes are watertight.

    Test It

    It is suggested that a second test be done before reassembling everything. This is due to the fact that in addition to the new pipe, other objects, like rocks, may fall into the hole. Water should be cautiously run through the system to check for leaks before you cover your yard again. In case any other problems crop up during the software's testing, you should also stick close by.


    As soon as you're done, make sure to pick up all of the tools and debris that were utilised so they don't end up cluttering your yard. If you want to save time and effort in the future when repairing another underground pipe system for a sprinkler system, marking the locations of the various components after they have been replaced is a good idea.

    Get In Touch With A Qualified Plumber

    If you're feeling overwhelmed, don't hesitate to call in a professional to help you fix the underground pipes that have cracked. When it's time to water the plants, you won't have to deal with the hassle of fixing a leaking pipe that could cause expensive damage to your home.

    Take Care Of It

    After you've finished everything, it's time to tend to your sprinkler system and keep an eye out for any remaining plumbing problems so you can fix them before they worsen. In addition, you should make it a habit to check this frequently so that you're always ready in case your pipe develops a leak or another problem of some kind. It's not as difficult as you might think to fix underground pipes that have cracked on your own, but you'll need to prepare well in advance by gathering all the tools and materials you'll need. As fixing a broken pipe can be dangerous if not done properly, you should always adhere to safety protocols and wear protective clothing and equipment whenever working in the vicinity.

    Advice For Avoiding Water Damage

    Checking your sprinkler system for wear and tear on a regular basis is essential, especially after it has been in service for five years or longer. Metal tubes need to be covered from the sun's UV rays and sunlight, which will cause the tubes to rust more quickly, thus painting them white or burying them is a good idea. Inexpensive problems can arise if you neglect to maintain the underground sprinkler system's plumbing on a regular basis.

    How To Fix A Broken, Buried Sprinkler Pipe?

    There is almost certainly a leak in your sprinkler system if the sprinkler heads aren't working and you notice new soggy patches of grass or dirt along your sprinkler lines. When attempting a do-it-yourself repair, it is crucial to avoid damaging the irrigation system by digging too deeply or allowing dirt to enter the pipes. You need to know this if you want to fix a leak.

    Locate The Source Of The Problem.

    The first step is to pinpoint the section of the pipe where water is leaking out. Checking the soggy patches of your lawn could help you pinpoint the source of the leak. If you find that some of your sprinkler heads have low pressure but you can't pinpoint the cause, you can fix the problem by placing caps on all of the sprinkler heads to restrict the flow of water and turning on the sprinkler zones. Next, keep an eye out for water seeping through the ground.

    Find The Line By Digging

    Before you dig:

    • To prevent water from dripping down the pipe while you're working, turn off the sprinkler controller. If you want grass to grow everywhere, you'll need to dig out large squares with a shovel and haul them away, making sure to leave a few inches of soil around the roots. You can save this material and use it to replace the turf at a later date.
    • Carefully dig down around the sprinkler, and if necessary, use a trowel to protect the line from further damage.
    • Be sure to use clean tools and a clean pipe when making repairs.

    Take Out The Burst Pipe

    After determining where the water is escaping, you can either unscrew or cut the line, depending on your preference. If the part in question is a smaller one in the line, you can unscrew it and remove it. Using a hacksaw to remove the damaged section of pipe is necessary if the damaged section is located within a longer section of pipe. Just cut out the hunk of pipe that covers the broken spot. To repair larger cracks or holes, this section should be at least 10 inches in length.

    Fix The Line

    Care must be taken to prevent any dirt or debris from entering the line after the broken piece has been removed. This is because any buildup of dirt or other debris in sprinkler pipes or sprinkler heads must be avoided. At that point, a new portion of pipe should be inserted in lieu of the damaged one. Extendable lengths of pipe can be found at many hardware stores. These pipes can be shortened during installation and then extended to the proper length. If this isn't an option, you can use PVC primer and pipe cement to connect a new section of pipe with couplers at each end to the existing section of pipe.


    Have you ever had an issue with your home's sprinkler system? Then it's probably time to dig up and fix the pipes if that's the case. Water pressure issues and dry spots in the garden are just two of the issues that can arise from damaged pipes. Track down the damaged sections of underground irrigation lines and figure out a permanent solution for repairing them. A water bill that seems abnormally high could be the first indication of a leak in the irrigation system.

    The first step in locating the damaged pipe is tracing the source of the system leak. You may have to dig around a broken sprinkler line if it is buried beneath the leaking area.

    Content Summary

    1. Then it's probably time to dig up and fix the pipes if that's the case.
    2. They carry water from the house to the sprinklers in the yard.
    3. The most common issues associated with broken pipes are low water pressure and dry areas in the garden or lawn.
    4. Using this post as a guide, you can locate the broken underground irrigation lines and make permanent repairs.
    5. If you notice a leak in your underground sprinkler system, you need to get it fixed as soon as possible to prevent further problems like higher water bills, destroyed landscaping, and cracks in nearby hardscapes or walls.
    6. The most common cause of water seepage is broken sprinkler pipes.
    7. Finding a water leak in the floor is much more difficult than finding one in the roof or walls of your house.
    8. The leakage of underground sprinkler pipes is a common issue, so we've compiled some tips to help you locate its cause.
    9. This will give you the chance to fix the problem before it gets worse.
    10. Finding The Point Of Water Infiltration If a pipe in the sprinkler system were to burst, finding the source could be challenging because the system is buried underground.
    11. The first step in locating the damaged pipe is tracing the source of the system leak.
    12. In most cases, a leak can be traced back to a broken pipe.
    13. A water bill that seems abnormally high could be the first indication of a leak in the irrigation system.
    14. Stopping the flow of water at the main valve is one way to investigate the possibility of a dripping pipe.
    15. In order to determine if the water metre is in operation, we must first check its status.
    16. It can be difficult to track down the source of a leak if water is seeping out of a pipe in an unrelated location.
    17. You may have to dig around a broken sprinkler line if it is buried beneath the leaking area.
    18. Finding the burst pipe will be much easier with this information.
    19. When a sprinkler pipe is damaged, it can be easily located by following these steps. Turning off the main shutoff valve will stop water flow to the area where the leak is suspected to be.
    20. Before proceeding, please wait for the soil in that area to dry completely.
    21. Before you turn on the valve, make sure the soil is dry.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Sprinkler Pipes

    It depends on the type of sprinkler system that you’re using. If you have sprinkler heads located in your lawn and not underground, it’s impossible to find them without digging up the lawn.

    If you have overhead sprinklers, you’ll need a ladder and an inspection mirror before you begin. Look for inspection covers around 6-12 inches off the ground.

    For any other type of irrigation system, it may be possible to detect where the tubes might be buried by running a hose under different locations in your yard. Wherever the water is flowing freely without restrictions or hiccups, look for an excavation site if this is where your water is coming from.

    To repair a cracked PVC sprinkler pipe, you need to cut through it with a hacksaw at a sharp angle and then close it up using cement or tar. You will also need to replace any cracked fittings to prevent another leak from the PVC pipe.

    You can use a garden hose or watering can find buried sprinkler wire. You could also use an electronic locator, which will tell you where the breaks in the wire are located. With that information, you could then dig or cut at the breakage point to expose it to understand the problem better.

    The cost of repairing a damaged sprinkler system pipe varies depending on the severity of the damage, type of pipe, and location. However, it can typically range from $80 to $500 for most repairs.

    The cheapest and easiest way to find buried irrigation valves is often to probe the soil with a thin rod, such as a long screwdriver. Often you can estimate the rough location of the irrigation valve and then find a buried valve box by probing the ground.

    Scroll to Top