How To Find Broken Sprinkler Pipe Underground and How To Fix it?

You most likely have a broken pipe in your sprinkler system if you notice that certain parts of your lawn are soggy. Some parts of your lawn turning greener and parched than others is another sign.

How To Find Broken Sprinkler Pipe Underground (Step By Step Guide)

If you incur a high water bill and you can’t seem to find a good reason for it, this could also signal a broken sprinkler pipe.

However, these signs might only be speculation until you confirm that the sprinkler pipe is indeed broken.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to find broken sprinkler pipe underground and repair it in time to prevent further damage.

A Definitive Guide of How To Find Broken Sprinkler Pipe Underground?

Before you know how to deal with leaks in the underground pipe for your sprinkler system, you must first find out exactly where it has occurred. But the pipe is buried underground, so finding it may take time.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to identify the broken underground house:

1. Find your water meter and close the main valve

Find your water meter and close the main valve

Most domestic water meters are situated near the road in front of the house. They are usually buried in a box with a cap covering the ground surface or home sidewall.

Many of these water meter boxes, including their caps, are made of concrete, which can be quite heavy to lift. Using a small hook system will help you easily lift the cover.

With the cap lifted off, you can now see the meter that controls water entering your home. Remove any dirt that might have accumulated on the meter to make it visible. Close off the main water supply valve in the meter box.

2. Inspect your lawn

Inspect your lawn

Next, determine the exact location of your sprinkler system leaking underground. You might be able to tell just by inspecting your lawn for soggy patches that have appeared at random places.

You can also check if some of your sprinkler heads seem to have pressure differences, though this won’t tell exactly where the source is.

Cover all of your sprinkler heads with caps, then turn on all sprinkler locations and observe where water emerges from the soil.

Mark the muddy and more wet parts on the lawn and give the lawn a few days to dry to make digging easier.

3. Know your Underground System

Know your Underground System

Familiarize yourself with the underground irrigation system design to easily track down the underground leak.

You’ll have to dig to find out the sprinkler system design; if you don’t have the sprinkler underground pipe plan, you can refer to it.

4. Dig To Reveal The Broken Sprinkler System

Dig To Reveal The Broken Sprinkler System

After knowing how your underground system is designed, carefully excavate until you locate the part causing the problem.

You may discover that you’re dealing with a simple, where you only need to tighten a clamp or joint to fix the issue. But in case of serious damage, an entire section of the underground pipe may be damaged and need to be replaced.

Dig cautiously around the sprinkler, with the use of a shovel, to prevent further damaging the broken hose. The other alternative method is to use irrigation leak detection equipment.

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

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

When you want to know if your underground pipe system is broken, watch out for the following signs:

  • Your lawn has muddy spots.
  • Sinkholes or potholes on your lawn.
  • Air and dirt in the water.
  • Part of your lawn becomes unusually green than the rest.
  • Low water pressure.
  • Pavement cracking and splitting.
  • Your water meter keeps running even after you have turned it off.
  • Soggy ground around sprinkler head.
  • A water bill that is steadily rising.

How To Fix Broken Sprinkler Pipe

How To Fix Broken Sprinkler Pipe

Fixing a broken sprinkler pipe on your own will help you save on irrigation leak repair costs as you’ll spend less compared to hiring a professional to do it for you.

Below are the easy steps on how you fix the sprinkler pipe on your own.

Step 1

The first step in repairing any underground sprinkler hose is to locate it. Assuming you already know the location of the broken pipe, all you have to do is dig in the ground to expose it for easy repair.

Step 2

Dig an extra five inches underneath the broken pipe space. This will provide you with plenty of room to work on your repairs.

Step 3-

Using a hacksaw, cut out the broken section. Measure 2″ on both sides of the cracked section and put marks on the pipe for accuracy as you cut.

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Step 4-

Replace the pipe section you cut out using a new piece of pipe. Before installing the new pipe, ensure that you measure the length of the damaged pipe you removed so you can conveniently determine the length of the new piece you want to install.

It is also critical that your new pipe has the same size as your old pipe, or you will soon be dealing with another sprinkler system leaking underground.

Step 5-

Finish up the sprinkler system leak repair by testing for leaks of your repaired underground sprinkler pipe. If there’s no leak, refill the dug opening, and you’re done.


Before we call off our post, let’s discuss the answers to some of the commonly asked questions around broken sprinkler underground pipes.

1. What Causes a Cracked Sprinkler System Pipe Underground?

Various factors cause cracked sprinkler pipes, such as wear and tear, weakening and shifting of the terrain or earth, and blockage.

2. When should you find the leak?

When you notice a sprinkler head on the system line begins to spray dirty water, then it’s time to find the leak. You should also start looking for a leak when you spot soggy ground around the sprinkler head.

3. How deep are sprinkler pipes buried?

Sprinkler pipes usually sit 8-12 inches deep below the surface, the measurement from the soil surface to the top of the sprinkler pipe. This means you need to make slightly deeper trenches to accommodate these pipes.

4. What is the minimum clearance required below a sprinkler head?

The minimum clearance between sprinklers and the material below must be at least 18 inches (45.7cm).


That’s it for our step-by-step guide on how to find broken sprinkler pipe underground and how to repair it.

Soggy patches on your lawn, some parts of the lawn turning greener, and huge water bills are key signs that you may have an underground sprinkler pipe leak in your yard.

It is best to deal with it as soon as possible before the leak grows into a big problem and makes you pay huge sums of money for the irrigation leak repair cost by a professional plumber.

Fixing the leak becomes easy once you discover the position of the underground leak.

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