Fixing a broken sprinkler can be time-consuming and require a lot of effort, which is why you should always hire a professional plumber to do the job. Nevertheless, if you’re having this issue, you may want to know what the process of getting your sprinklers back up and running looks like.
Here’s a guide on how to repair sprinkler pipes from start to finish.
Find the source of the leak
Before conducting any repair work, the professional will need to determine where the break in your line has occurred.
- Turn on your sprinklers – To locate the source of the leak, first activate the sprinkler system and let water flow freely for around 2 minutes. This is best done during daylight hours for visibility.
- Check by listening for flowing water – After activating your sprinklers, take a walk around the area, listening closely for any sounds of running water to pinpoint the leak’s exact location.
Check by looking at the ground – Alternatively, if water starts spraying from a certain section of the line instead of the sprinkler head, this could be an indication of a crack or a leak somewhere. Also inspect for signs of water bubbling up from the soil. This will let you know where and how to repair the sprinkler pipe leak.
Check the sprinkler heads – If you’re still struggling to determine where the break could be, check the sprinkler heads. Keep an eye out for rows where water doesn’t seem to be coming out or isn’t distributed evenly.
- Mark the location of the potential source – Make note of where any potential leaks might be by marking their locations so they’re easy to identify when the water has been turned off.
- Shut off the water – To prevent leaking during repairs, turn off your water by using the control panel and wait 1 to 2 minutes.
Dig where the pipe is damaged to access it
Next in how to repair a broken sprinkler pipe is creating access to the broken section.
- Get a hand trowel to start digging – To protect the sprinkler system from further damage, it’s important to use a hand trowel rather than a shovel.
- Cut a square or rectangular patch – With the hand trowel, carefully carve out a square or rectangular patch around the leaking or broken section of the line. This will ensure that the edges are clean and uniform, making it easier to reposition the patch once the pipe is repaired.
- Dig down – Carefully dig down to a depth of 2-3 inches, making sure to delicately remove the roots while preserving the surrounding soil. This will enable the roots to regenerate once you replace the patch. As you dig, ensure a wide enough opening to expose the pipe by 6 inches on both sides.
- Clean the section of exposed pipe – Using a clean, damp cloth, wipe down the section of exposed pipe. This will ensure that no dirt gets into the sprinkler line when making repairs.
Replace the damaged section
After locating and prepping the area, you’ll need to actually replace the pipe that’s been damaged. Here’s the last phase in how to repair a sprinkler pipe.
- Cut off a 4-inch section of pipe at the leak – Using a hacksaw, carefully saw off a 4-inch section of pipe from the leaking or broken section. Ensure enough pipe is cut to fit a slip coupling into it. To ensure a clean and even cut on the pipe, employ smooth sawing motions.
- Remove the damaged piece of pipe – After cutting off a section of the pipe, carefully remove it from the newly created opening. Taking caution to not damage any other sections of the sprinkler line, gently pull out the broken piece and dispose of it in an appropriate manner.
- Attach the band clamps – Secure the clamp around each end of the pipe, forming a loop that can be tightened. Make sure the clamps are not excessively tight, allowing enough space for a slip coupling to fit in between.
- Insert the slip coupling – Insert one end of the coupling into one side of the exposed pipe. Then extend the other end of the coupling and carefully insert it into the opposite side until it fits securely in place.
- Tighten the clamps – Secure the slip coupling in place by tightening both clamps using a screwdriver. Adjust the band clamp mechanism to ensure a snug fit around each end of the pipe. Be sure to tighten the clamps adequately to prevent any potential leaks.
- Test the repair – Re-activate the sprinkler system and inspect for any signs of water leakage from the newly installed slip coupling. Let the sprinkler system run for a duration of 5 minutes to ensure that the coupling and clamps remain securely fastened.
- Put everything back – After fixing the broken sprinkler line, carefully refill the hole with the soil that was previously removed using a hand trowel. Then, place the patch back in its original position. Lastly, water the patch to facilitate the regrowth of the uprooted roots.
Trust J. Blanton for all plumbing repairs
Hopefully, this guide on how to repair sprinkler pipes has provided clarity on the process so you know exactly what to expect.
Fixing a broken sprinkler pipe can be a laborious and time-consuming task. For this reason, it’s always best to have a professional plumber do the repairs. This guide has outlined the various steps they’ll take to repair any splits or breaks in your system.
If you live in the Chicagoland area and need your broken sprinkler pipe repaired (or you need other plumbing work done), consider J. Blanton. J. Blanton is a trusted plumbing service provider and has been operating for more than 30 years, providing high-quality 5-star service to homeowners.
Contact J. Blanton today!