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Why Your Sprinkler System is Leaking When It’s Off & How to Fix It


This seems really unfair, right? It’s one thing for your sprinkler system to leak when it’s running. But a leaking sprinkler system when it’s turned off?

That’s like your oven baking you a batch of warm gooey chocolate chip cookies when it’s turned off. (Actually, that would be awesome.)

If your sprinkler system is leaking when it’s off, what’s up with that?

Let’s check it out.

Can a Sprinkler System Leak When It’s Turned Off?

It can. And it’s not because it’s cursed or because your neighbor’s mischievous garden gnomes are playing pranks again.

How do you know this is happening?

sprinkler head laying on grassWet spots. Are areas of your lawn continuously wet or excessively wet after or between watering cycles?

What’s going on?

There are a couple possibilities.

Leaking Valves

The valves in your irrigation system are like faucets that turn the water on and off. Like a faucet, they can leak.

Maybe debris is caught in the mechanism that operates the valve. Or maybe a valve is just old and needs to be replaced. Valves work hard out there. They don’t last forever. Your irrigation specialist can inspect your valves to see if they need replacing.

Low-Head Drainage

This is kind of a weird sounding term that means water is draining out of the lowest head in your sprinkler system after it’s done watering. It’s a top reason for why your sprinkler system is leaking when it’s off.

When the water flowing to a zone is turned off after watering, any water left in the lines will drain downhill to the lowest point. Then it flows out of the sprinkler head until all of the water has emptied out of the zone’s pipes.

irrigation technician digs up broken sprinkler headGravity! Science is cool, right?

Low-head drainage isn’t usually considered a problem. But it can be if the water is always puddling in a low area of your yard, or if it streams across a walkway or your driveway.

If it’s a problem, irrigation specialists can make adjustments to your leaking sprinkler system, or install nifty gizmos called check valves to prevent low head drainage.

Prevent a Leaking Sprinkler System With Regular Irrigation Maintenance

Regular sprinkler system tune-ups keep your system running smoothly and efficiently, keep your lawn healthy, and save you money.

Irrigation specialists will check and fix your leaking sprinkler system and all sorts of other potential issues: Broken, leaking, or clogged heads. Broken lines. Damage caused by snow plows or lawn mowers. A controller set for the wrong season. A zone that won’t turn off. A loose fitting.

irrigation technician tests sprinkler systemThe best irrigation maintenance schedule includes tune-up visits by irrigation specialists three times a year: in spring, to start up your system, in fall, to shut it down, and that all-important summer visit to look over your irrigation system when it’s working the hardest. Summer is when your system is under the greatest demand, and things are most likely to go wrong -- including pesky leaks.

Tune up. Then you can water wisely and rest easy.

Leaking Sprinkler System? Call RainMaster

Sprinkler system leaking when it’s off? Call us.

Oven baking batches of chocolate chip cookies when it’s off? Also call us. We’ll bring the milk.

If you’re tired of your irrigation system’s leaky valves, clogged nozzles, broken spray heads, or downright confounding controller instructions, isn’t it time to ease your stress? Time for a tune-up.

Invest in wise irrigation system maintenance in Minneapolis, MM and Eau Claire, WI.

Ready to make your lawn life easier? Request a quote today! We’ll review your options together so you can make a confident decision. Then, you can finally enjoy your well-watered lawn and stop worrying about it.

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Topics: Irrigation

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