How to Find Broken Sprinkler Pipe Underground? A to Z Guideline

how to find broken sprinkler pipe underground

Most people don’t think about a broken sprinkler pipe until it’s too late. If you’re lucky, the water will just pour on the ground and dry up. It can be difficult for homeowners to find the damaged sprinkler system pipe underground in their own backyard.

However, a damaged sprinkler system pipe underground can lead to severe property damage.d This article provides a way to find damaged sprinkler system pipes underground in your own backyard.

Tips on How to Find Broken Sprinkler Pipe Underground?

Tips on How to Find Broken Sprinkler Pipe Underground

Cracked sprinkler system pipes are often hard to find leak detection and can cause severe water damage. Here are some tips on how to identify this problem.

Check Main Irrigation System Valves

Start by checking the status of your main irrigation system valves. To check the sprinkler valves, turn off your water supply and head out to the backyard. Try shutting off the water supply to each valve and check if there are any leaks in that area. If you find one, use a shovel or a digger to unearth the pipe from your lawn.

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Check Contractors’ Markings

Contractors usually mark underground pipes with spray paint so they won’t accidentally break them during excavations. If you are building a new structure in your backyard or have just had some renovation work done, make sure that the contractor has marked the cracked sprinkler system pipe location before digging it up.

Place Towels or Rags

Put absorbent towels on the floor or ground in front of the sprinkler heads. The damp areas will indicate that the underground leaks exist there. You can also use rags or any other material that can absorb water. If the damp areas keep on growing, then you have a cracked sprinkler system pipe underground.

Check Sprinkler Head

Check Sprinkler Head

If water is flowing out from the sprinkler heads, then you have an above ground leak. This means that either your irrigation system or the sprinkler heads have a problem. Fixing this issue will be easier than fixing underground leaks since there are fewer variables to consider in this case.

If you find any of these indications or a combination of them, get to the bottom of your sprinkler system’s problem and fix it. Do this by finding out where the leak is and correcting or replacing it as necessary.

Check Irrigation Controller

If you don’t find any indications of leaking on or around the sprinkler heads, check for possible problems in your irrigation controller. Unfortunately, these devices are often located in garages and basements, so they can be hard to find.

Get Some Help from your Family Members

Ask the help of family members and friends to search for the cracked sprinkler system pipe in your backyard. Asking for volunteers is a great way to save money and provide you with more time to do other work.

Contact Your Local Water Company

Some leaks in the underground pipes may have been caused by excess water pressure from the city’s main water supply. If this is so, you must contact your water utility company and ask them if they are working on any projects nearby. The excess force may have caused the pipes to burst.

Use a Leak Locator

If you can’t find any of these indications, don’t worry because there is still another way to locate them. There are readily available leak locators that can help you locate even the smallest of leaks underground. You can look for a leak locator in any hardware or home improvement store.

This type of leak detection can be difficult to find out. But by following the above steps, you will have an easier time trying to determine if your pipes have leaks and where those leaks are.

What are Some Possible Signs That May Indicate a Splasher Pipe Leak?

What are Some Possible Signs That May Indicate a Splasher Pipe Leak

There are some indications that may be able to let you know if your sprinkler system is broken. Noticing a few of these signs can help avoid them even further. Possible signs of a leaky sprinkler system pipe include:

Discolored Spots on Your Lawn

Discolored spots on your lawn or new plants growing where they should not be (possibly indicating the possible presence of water). It is caused by roots finding moisture in their surroundings.

Leaking Water

Leaking Water

If water is constantly leaking from your sprinkler system, you could have a cracked pipe underground. Leaks can cause a lot of damage to property and lead to more expensive repairs, so it’s important to detect the leak as quickly as possible. If you notice leaks or wet patches in your yard, look for other indications that may indicate a leaky pipe, such as finding puddles of water in front of the house. Try using a logical reasoning test to figure out what may be wrong with your sprinkler: if it’s wintertime and you have no trees near your home, it might be because the sprinklers are leaking.

Foam at The End of Your Sprinkler Heads

If your sprinkler system is performing poorly, there may be something wrong with your pipes. Inspect the yard and try to identify any indications of a leaky pipe underground.

Dirt buildup can cause the foam to form at the end of sprinkler heads. It can also be due to mineral deposits that are found within water pipes. If you see foam at the end of your sprinkler heads, you may want to contact a plumber and have them inspect your system.

Sprinkler Heads Don’t Rotate

Sprinkler heads that don’t rotate can be caused by mechanical problems with the sprinklers or by a poor water supply. Make sure to check your sprinkler heads and make sure they are rotating. The sprinkler head should turn in a circular motion when properly functioning. If it’s not, then you need to contact a plumber for assistance.

Low Water Volume or Pressure

If you notice a decrease in pressure or low water volume, there may be something wrong with your pipes. Again, inspect the yard and try to identify any indications of a leaky pipe underground.

Water Being Turned Off

If you turn off the water coming into your home and all or most of the water stops, this could point towards a leaky pipe underground. It’s best to stop using your sprinklers until a professional has been able to come out and check it.

Increase Water Bill

Increase Water Bill

A water leak can also make your water bill increase. If you notice an increase in your water bill that is not proportional to the weather or other factors, it’s possible that you have a broken pipe leak. This may also be from a defective water meter. A decrease in force could indicate a leak as well. Cracked or damaged pipes can lose water pressure.

Water Underneath Home

Another sign that your sprinkler system may be broken is spotting puddles of water underneath your home. It’s best to call a plumber immediately if you spot any puddles under your house, as this could lead to bigger problems.

Water Stains on Your Ceiling

In some cases, a broken pipe can cause damage to the sprinkler system and leak into your home. It can cause water stains on your ceilings as well as musty odors. You may find mold or mildew growing in these wet areas. These types of leaks are more common in cold climates where pipes may burst because of freezing.

Hear Sounds

If you hear bubbling or gurgling sounds while a broken pipe underground can cause a lot of damage to your property, it’s important not to panic if you aren’t sure what is causing the sound. Gurgling and bubbling sounds are signs that your sprinkler system is having problems.

Tree Roots or Shifting Ground

If the amount of water in your yard is drastically increasing and you’re noticing wet patches in your yard, you might have a broken pipe underground. It could be caused by tree roots or shifting ground. If this seems to be the case, contact a sprinkler service for more information on how to repair this problem quickly and cost-effectively.

Damp Patches on The Ground

If you notice damp patches in your yard, these may also be a sign that your sprinkler system is broken. It can be caused by a burst pipe underground or by tree roots and shifting ground causing an increase in water retention in your yard.

What Causes a Cracked Sprinkler System Pipe Underground?

What Causes a Cracked Sprinkler System Pipe Underground

A cracked sprinkler system pipe underground may have been caused. Here are some of the reasons that lead to broken underground sprinkler systems:

Simple Aging

Wear and tear over time may cause breakage due to cracking, deterioration, or corrosion.

Inadequate Support

A system will not stay functional without proper support. It may need to be attached to a fence or a wall. Repairing these problems may help prevent the pipe from breaking. Accidental damage

Accidental hits from mowing, lawn equipment, and other playthings can cause cracks on sprinkler systems that eventually lead to pipe breakage.

Poor Installation

Poor Installation

When installing a sprinkler system, there are some things that you should remember before doing it. The installation of your underground sprinkler system depends on its design and the kind of materials being used in constructing it. If it is done improperly, the whole system will not function properly which may lead to breakages in some parts of it.

Failed Repair Attempts

If you are into dealing with your own underground sprinkler system, there may be chances that your repairs will not last. That is why it is better to call a professional plumber instead of doing the work yourself. Some people believe they can do their own repairs on their pipes without getting help from professionals, but this usually ends up in a failed repair. Why? Because they do not know how to properly repair a cracked sprinkler system pipe underground.

Lack of Maintenance

If you have an underground sprinkler system, it is important that you maintain it regularly. If you neglect its regular cleaning and watering schedules, the pipes may suffer from wear and tear, which in turn will lead to a cracked sprinkler system pipe underground.

Soil Movement

Issues related to soil movement may also have an effect on your underground sprinkler system. One of the many factors that are said to cause broken underground sprinkler systems is frost. Frost, for instance, can put pressure on pipes and this can lead to the breaking of some parts of it. It is important that you take preventive measures before it happens.

When Should You Find The Leak?

When Should You Find The Leak

You should find the water leak when you have noticed that your sprinklers are not working anymore. It is also a good idea to check for water leaks if you notice that the water is pooling in an area or if you notice cracks in your yard. You should also check for leaks if you notice that the water pressure in your home is low.

How to Fix a Cracked Sprinkler System Pipe Underground in Your Own Backyard?

Here are step-by-step instructions for fixing a cracked sprinkler system pipe:

Step 1: Get Your Materials

You need to get your broken pipe out first. This underground pipe is your first material to use for any repair or replacement you may need to do. Some of the other materials are:

* Hammer and chisel

* Tape measure

* Electric drill

* Crescent wrench

* Bucket to catch water

Warnings: Cover the surface with something that can get wet, put some old carpet or cardboard down to cover the surface you’re working on in case water spills out of the underground pipe.

You need to protect yourself from possible injury. Always wear protective gloves and a hat when working with broken pipes.

Step 2: Prepare the Hole

You need to prepare the hole you will dig by measuring it and leveling it out. You do not want the pipe to just sit in a hole that is not level. Also, you might need to put some sort of support under the new pipe, so it does not break again. It is always good to do some research on what you need to do before you dig.

Step 3: Dig the Hole

Next, you need to dig the hole. You will probably not need a shovel for this since the underground pipe is already underground. Sand can be used in case there is hard soil that you will have to dig through. Make sure that your tools are clean and ready before you start digging so that they don’t get damaged.

Step 4: Place Your New Pipe in the Hole

You now need to place your new pipe into the only prepared hole you have. Carefully put it down using a level, so it’s straight, and make sure that the top of the tube is at least two inches away from where water comes out during normal use of a sprinkler system. You can also put some plugs on top if needed. It will ensure there will be no more leaks.

Step 5: Seal the Pipe

You need to seal the underground pipe well so that it doesn’t leak anymore and cause serious problems for you and your property. You can use various kinds of clamps or a metal collar. It is where your research on what kind of material to use comes in handy. Make sure the sealing method you choose is right for the type of materials used in making your new sprinkler system pipes. It would help if you know who installed your system, as they can tell you how they sealed their pipes too.

Step 6: Test It

Testing it once again before putting everything back is advisable because sometimes small things like rocks may get into the hole along with the new pipe. So, it is best to run the water through slowly and check for leaks before you close up your yard again. You should also stick around in case there are other problems that come up during testing.

Step 7: Clean-up

After everything is done, clean up all materials and tools used so they will not be a nuisance in your yard anymore. It would be helpful if you mark where you put back everything so you do not have to dig twice or more later on when fixing another sprinkler system underground pipe system.

Step 8: Call a Professional Plumber

If this is too hard for you to handle, then call an expert who can help repair cracked pipes underground properly as soon as possible. It will save you the hassle of dealing with a leaky pipe that can cause much damage to your home, especially if it’s already time for watering.

Step 9: Look After It

When everything is done, look after your sprinkler system and keep an eye out for more possible problems with your pipes so that you can repair them before they get worse. You also have to check this regularly so you will know what to do when there are leaks or other issues with your pipe. Fixing cracked pipes underground yourself is not as hard as one might think, but only if you plan properly and gather all the needed materials beforehand. Always follow safety precautions and use protective gear and clothing while doing any work around this area because working on broken pipes can be dangerous if not done properly.

Water Damage Prevention Tip

Water Damage Prevention Tip

One thing you should do is check your sprinkler system regularly, especially when systems are older than five years or so. It is also a good idea to paint metal tubes white or put them underground where they’re better protected from sunlight and UV rays which would cause them to rust faster. Failing to take care of your underground sprinkler system pipe early on could become a costly problem.


How Can I Find My Sprinkler Lines Without Digging?

It really depends on the type of sprinkler system that you’re using. If you have sprinkler heads that are 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.

How Do You Find Buried Sprinkler Wire?

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 in order to get a better idea of what the problem is.

How Do You Fix A Broken PVC Sprinkler Pipe?

How Do You Fix A Broken PVC Sprinkler Pipe

To repair a cracked PVC sprinkler pipe, you need to cut through the PVC pipe 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 in order to prevent another leak from the PVC pipe.

How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Broken Sprinkler Pipe?

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.


Fixing a damaged sprinkler system pipe leaking underground properly can save you from having to do it all over again and having to hire expensive professionals. Setting it yourself will help you save money and time in the long run. But It is important to keep your pipes clean and free from obstructions. If you do so, you will have less chance of them breaking and causing further problems.

How to Find Broken Sprinkler Pipe Underground? A to Z Guideline
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