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Watersmart Peel Home

In-ground sprinkler systems

As with any part of your home, your in-ground sprinkler system needs ongoing maintenance to ensure it works optimally.

Checking for leaks in your sprinkler system

The most common issue with sprinkler systems is leaks. Taking the time to check your system for leaks prevents higher water bills, saves money and helps protect the environment by reducing unnecessary water use.

Watch our video on Finding Leaks in your In-ground Sprinkler System to learn how to use your water meter to check for leaks

Doing a visual leak check of your sprinkler system

Start by going to your controller and turning on one zone.

The next thing to do is to look and listen. It is good practice to walk around and check the sprinkler heads throughout the zone to make sure they are not broken.

  • Do you hear water running?
  • Do you see water bubbling up from the ground?
  • Are there any puddles of water?

Also be sure to look for punctured drip lines, where water is spraying out, rather than dripping slowly. Be sure to repeat this process for each zone.

If you see any of these indicators, you may have a leak. Turn off the sprinkler system shut off valve and call a Certified Irrigation Contractor. If you don't already have one, you can get a list through Landscape Ontario. We recommend you avoid using your sprinkler system until it is inspected and fixed.

Preventing leaks in your sprinkler system

With an in-ground sprinkler system, there are things you can do to prevent and find leaks early:

  • Make checking for leaks each spring part of your routine.
  • Reference or create a sketch of your sprinkler system so you don't miss checking all of the heads.
  • If your system comes on at night, which most do, try putting it on during the day to find leaks.
  • Make adjustments so water is directed onto lawns and gardens, rather than driveways, walkways or sidewalks etc.
  • Check for loose fittings; try tightening the connections of all sprinkler heads. This is often enough to stop or prevent a leak.
  • If a solid stream of water is flowing out of the sprinkler head, the nozzle or the head itself may need to be replaced.

The most effective way to prevent sprinkler system leaks is proper winterization. Before the first frost, shut off your sprinkler system valve and use an air compressor to blow all of the water out of the system. If you don't know how to do it yourself, call a Certified Irrigation Contractor
through Landscape Ontario.

Scheduling your sprinkler system

  • Adjust your schedule to suit the season. In the spring and fall you only need half the run time as you do on the hottest days of the summer.
  • Some controllers have a seasonal adjustment feature that allows you to pre-set your schedule by season. Using this function is convenient as it automatically adjusts the run time as the seasons change. See your manual for instructions.
  • Should your controller have multiple programs (A, B, C, D) Make sure you only have one program set. It is easy to accidentally run more than one program (A + B) and double your water use.

Visit LoyalGardener.com to learn more about tips and tricks that can help you maintain a healthier landscape while reducing unnecessary water waste.

Taking care of your sprinkler system

  • If your system has a rain sensor, test it yearly. Rain sensors prevent your irrigation system from watering during rainfall. If your system doesn't have one, consider having one installed.
  • Ensure all pipes are buried and not exposed to sunlight. Pipes can degrade and crack when exposed.
  • Over time, underground pipes can shift upwards. Be careful when aerating or mowing your lawn.
  • Like your home's fire alarm, you should change the battery in your controller. The battery prevents your settings from being erased during a power outage

Revised: Friday January 22 2021

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