Yep, got a leak somewhere. Did the timing thing with the water meter
and found the three largest zones use most of the water.
My Problem: water bill came to $400.00 one month and $500.00 the next
month. Stopped using the sprinklers and dropped to $50 - $60/Mo.
My Guess: underground sprinkler leak
My Question: What is the easiest way to check the lines for a leak?
My Answer (up for review): Take out the sprinkler heads in each zone
and cap off the line, run the sprinkler water and see if meter turns.
Need help to see if this is the best way to check the lines, or will a
divining rod be better?
Any comments would be greatly appreciated.
not really. i read your post below and i got to admit i'm stumped. when they
leak it's usually a valve. if your water is hard it can cause them to fail
pretty quickly. keep at it. it's not that complicated someone will help
Unless your water rates are sky high, $400 worth of water is a LOT.
By my calcs about 150,000 gallons
If you have a leak somewhere there has got to be a rather large soggy
Are the sprinkler valves electric? Can they be turned off manually
I would guess that since the water bill dropped when you "Stopped
using the sprinklers"
(I assume you cut off water to the sprinkler valve manifold) that the
"leak" is a faulty sprinkler valve not a line failure.
You're leaking water at about 3 or 4 gpm.
Are some the heads in one of the zones wet constantly?
Can't find any, it could be possible that since I live in Florida, the
soil below 1-2 feet is sandy, and could be soaking it up?
Hunter sprinkler system with a Rain Bird controller
I have checked all of the valves (had to replace one solenoid) and
they are not filling up with water when running. I have only turned
off the rain bird control, not the incoming water at the backflow
preventer (Two knobs, 1 for interior & 1 for exterior)
No, even with the main still on and RB turned off
I live in Florida too and the amount of water mentioned is a LOT even
for Florida sand to soak up. With that much water leaking there must
be a joint (or maybe a holed pipe - been digging?) underground that
failed but - even in sand - I'd think that would blow out from the
Do you know where the sprinkler supply lines run? If so, walk them.
I've never had one on any of my irrigation systems, but there is/can
be what's called a _positive drain valve_ on the end of the zones.
Essentially, when the valve shuts off the remaining water drains to a
sand pit. The prevents freezing of the pipes.
If you have such a PDV valve and have a bad diaphragm / solenoid on
the zone valve, water would leak to ground.
(Not an expert..)
"I wouldn't even be here if my support group hadn't beaten me up."
You seem to be saying that you turned of the controller, and the water
loss stopped. If that is so, then the system is water tight up to the
control valves, so your leak must be beyond the control valves.
I think if your timing was wrong for any zone, you would have noticed
that there was at least some water coming from the heads in that zone;
since you didn't say that, I assume your timing is OK.
So I suspect you have at least one leak in at least one of the lines
going from the control valves out into the zone. With the volume of
water you appear to be losing, it should be very apparent which line(s)
is leaking just by listening to them when the system is not irrigating.
If necessary, you could make something like a stethoscope from a piece
of tubing to help you identify the leaking line.
Once you have identified the leaking line, try pushing a dowel rod, or
the equivalent, into the soil, starting at the midpoint of the line.
Eventually you will find the area that is wet, and you start excavating
there. Actually, with that much water flow, you should almost be able
to hear the actual point of the leak with your homemade stethoscope,
but I don't know how much flow there is as you have just given a dollar
amount, and water prices vary around the country. Its not uncommon that
a nominal amount of water is very cheap, but once you exceed that
amount, the price per unit increases quite a bit.
A drain valve, assuming you even have them, should not be the problem,
as they are designed to close when there is water pressure, and open
when there is no pressure, to allow the lines to drain. Of course, your
whole underground system is probably plastic, so there could be a break
Does your neighbor have a pool?
Is there a new bog in your neighborhood?
200,000 gallons of water over two months is a LOT of water.
200,000 gallons = 27,000 cu ft = 10'x45'x6' pool, or a little less than half
an Olympic swimming pool.
For two months of irrigation, that actually isn't such an incredible
amount of water. Who knows how big an area he's watering? If it's a
1/2 acre, 22,000 sq ft, the 27000 cubic ft of water over two months,
works out to 1.8 inchs of water a week. It's normally recommended to
put down 1" per week. Some people over do it, plus if it's during
the hottest months in Fl, then it may not be unusual at all. Now, if
he only has a small lot and is doing minimal watering, etc, then I
agree something is wrong.
There is a lot of info missing, besides area being watered, we don't
know if this is a sudden new problem, been gradually getting worse,
did watering amount change, etc.
On Wed, 07 Nov 2007 10:25:21 -0800, email@example.com wrote:
do you have a water meter on the main incoming line? Make sure all
water lines are off, and watch the meter. Then turn on zones to see
if the water meter starts to move.
Here we have an actual meter on the water line, but is averaged for
three months, then an actual reading takes place, which can affect
your water bill for one month.
Dave, I'm no guru on sprinklers except to say I've had 2 different
systems for about 15 years or so, so I have some experience with minor
fixes. My instinct would be that if you have that much leakage, you
should have a soft spot in your yard where the water is leaking. I
think with that much water and under pressure, some water will
probably go to the surface as well as below the pipes. You might also
see what some diy places for installing systems have to say or google
Last resort, before paying for that much water again, it will probably
be A LOT cheaper to get a professional to fix the problem !!
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