My wife complained the water bill had gone to the moon (again) last month. Even HomeownerBOB has sprinkler leaks!! In this post I hope to show another way to identifiy water leaks in automatic lawn sprinklers. After doing the basics, it was obvious, it would take a little more effort.
At this point, I still had no idea where the leak was other than I was confident it was past the valve as the meter was not moving otherwise.
Most sections should use near the same amount of water except where it might be a very small section or (in my case) I have 3 sections using emitter tube for drip irrigation, but even in this case there should be some relative similarities.
- Access the water meter for the property, clean the meter face or get to where you can watch the meter move.
- Make sure all other water devices are turned off or wont come on during this test
- If you have a controller that has a test sequence, set it to 1 minute. If not, have some one manually operate it at one minute per section.
- Have a friend turn it on while you are positioned to watch the meter
- Once it starts, watch the meter (this is not real scientific, but you are looking for a difference in the trend.
- You should beable to recognize when the watering changes from one zone to the next as the water meter will stop (very briefly) then start again.
- In most cases the meter will briefly run very fast, then (noticeably) slow down.
- Compare the speed and gallons used by each section. (your comparison should be like for like, in other words, pop-up sections to pop-up sections and so on.
- If you find a section that does not trend the same way (i.e. does not slow down after the initial turn up), it is likely that this is your problem zone. In my case, I had two that looked funny.
- Stop the test and run just the sections that appeared perculiar. Walk the entire section, head by head to find larger quantities of water.
In my case, the problem was in the emitter section. It is not unusual to spring a leak in these sections either due to driving a shovel (my wife) through one, or one of the ends coming open. It ended up being neither, but was caused by an inline filter I installed (below ground under this cover) to keep the emitters clean. This has happened to me before on a different section as I used these fancy filters that self clean them selves, unfortuntly they tend to stick open, and they have to be replaced. I replaced them with a non-self cleaning type. I have one more that could go bad, so its only a mater of time.
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