Water leaks are something that every homeowner should always be alert for. While some leaks inside your home are usually quite easy to detect, underground irrigation leaks outside the home are often much more difficult to detect. Sprinkler and irrigation leaks are a common problem and can often result from the ground shifting, flooding, and various other issues.

If left unchecked, underground irrigation leaks can waste a huge amount of water and can result in your water bill suddenly skyrocketing. According to the EPA, even a small irrigation leak has the potential to waste more than 6,000 gallons of water in just a month—or approximately 35% more water than the average home uses in a month. This makes it essential that you carefully monitor your irrigation system to ensure that it isn’t leaking, and here are some of the most common irrigation leak signs you should watch out for.

Standing Water

Having standing water around a sprinkler head or anywhere in your yard is usually quite an obvious sign that your irrigation system is leaking. Unless you’ve recently experienced heavy rains or your property has problems with flooding, there should really never be standing water anywhere in your yard. If you do see any standing water, you should immediately turn the water to your sprinkler system off until you can have the system inspected and the leak located and repaired. If not, you may be in for a major shock when your water bill shows up next month.

Soggy Spots in Your Yard

A minor leak may not lead to standing water, but it will still often cause the area around the leak to feel soft and soggy. Minor leaks can also quickly turn into a much bigger problem if taken care of after a period of time. For these reasons, it is always a good idea to watch out for any soft or soggy areas whenever you mow your lawn. If you suspect that your system is leaking, it is also a good idea to walk around the entire yard and check for this same thing.

Part of Your Yard Is Lusher and Greener Than the Rest

Another fairly obvious sign that you have an irrigation leak is if suddenly one part of your yard looks much lusher and greener than the rest or if the grass suddenly starts growing longer and more quickly in one area. Leaks can also create the opposite problem and result in some parts of your yard suddenly looking much drier, like they aren’t getting enough water. A leak can drastically reduce the pressure and flow rate in your irrigation system. This can result in little to no water reaching certain parts of the system and thus leading to the grass in the affected areas beginning to die.

Wet or Slimy Concrete

If your sidewalk, patio, or any other concrete area constantly looks wet, it’s a fairly obvious indication that your irrigation system is leaking. All that water leaking out onto the concrete will also often result in mold and algae forming, which can leave the concrete green, slick, and slimy. There should be no reason for mold and algae to form on concrete unless it is constantly exposed to water, so this is another thing to watch out for.

Sediment Deposits on Patio or Sidewalk

The hot California weather means that you often will notice that your sidewalks or concrete areas are wet if you check them while or just after your irrigation system runs. Still, all that water running out onto the concrete will often leave behind another obvious sign in the form of a fan-shaped deposit of sand and sediment. If you notice sediment deposits on your sidewalk, curb, or gutter, it is another good indicator that your irrigation system is leaking.

Low Water Pressure at All of Your Plumbing Fixtures

Small leaks typically won’t have much of an effect on your home’s water pressure, but more major leaks definitely can. If the water pressure in all of your faucets and other plumbing fixtures is suddenly much lower than normal and stays that way for more than a day or two, it is usually a sign that you have a fairly large leak somewhere inside, outside, or potentially underneath your home. If you do notice this issue, you will want to check out your yard since an irrigation leak will usually also produce some of these other telltale signs.

Water Meter Is Consistently Rising

Your home’s water meter can be a great help in identifying plumbing leaks. Most water meters have a leak indicator that spins whenever water is being used, and you can use this indicator to check if your plumbing is leaking. To do so, you will first want to make sure that all of your faucets and fixtures are shut off and that no water is running anywhere inside or outside. You can then check the indicator to see if it is still spinning. If it is still spinning, then you should contact a plumber as soon as possible to find and repair the leak.

A minor irrigation leak isn’t always enough to make the leak indicator spin. Nonetheless, you can still use your water meter to check by shutting off all of your fixtures and noting down the meter reading. You will then need to leave the water off for an hour or so and then recheck the meter reading. If the numbers aren’t exactly the same, it is a sure sign that your plumbing or irrigation system is leaking.

Sudden, Unexpected Spike in Your Monthly Water Bill

Unfortunately, the main reason that most people find out that they have a leak is when they get their next water bill, and it is suddenly much higher than normal. Your water bill may fluctuate from month to month, but it should remain fairly consistent throughout each season. Although your bill will obviously be higher during the warmer months when you’re constantly watering your lawn, a dramatic increase from one month to the next is an obvious sign that there is a leak somewhere inside or outside your home.

How Smart Technology Can Help Identify Leaks

There is also a variety of smart home technology that you can use to detect leaks. You can find devices that will monitor your water usage and send an alert to your phone should the usage suddenly ever increase. There are also special irrigation sensors that can monitor the moisture content in your yard. These devices can help to make your irrigation system more efficient and prevent water waste, and they can also help you to know if your system has suddenly sprung a leak.

If you suspect you have an irrigation leak, it is important that you get it taken care of immediately. At Plumbtree Plumbing & Rooter, we specialize in water line services and can help you with leak detection and repair. We also offer drain cleaning, hydro jetting, drain repairs, and sewer line services should you have any issues with clogging or sewage backups. We also install and repair water heaters and all types of plumbing fixtures, and our team also specializes in gas line installation and repairs. If you’re dealing with an irrigation leak or need any other plumbing service in the San Jose area, contact Plumbtree Plumbing & Rooter today.

Josh Gibson

Hi, I’m Josh. I’ve been around plumbing my whole life. When I was 5-6 years old my family built a home where I did a lot of the sanding of copper pipe and definitely some playing in the mud. Plumbing is a major part of my family as I am a fourth-generation plumber. The skills I bring to the job are a good technical knowledge of plumbing and code requirements. I am often complimented on my hands-on problem-solving skills.
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