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The Home Depot

Why Are My Sprinklers Leaking?

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Landscaping > Why Are My Sprinklers Leaking?
Why Are My Sprinklers Leaking?

Installing an automated irrigation system in your landscape can save you time and money. With an automated irrigation system, you will be able to enjoy healthy and vibrant plants without the hassle and time necessary of setting up sprinklers to water the plants. You can also set the system to water exactly when your plants need it with it turning off after the necessary watering finishes.


If your sprinkler system encounters damage or other problems, your savings of time and money may not materialize. For this reason, it’s important to keep your irrigation system in good repair. The University of Florida Extension provides helpful advice and information about repairing and maintaining an automated irrigation system.


Explore the possible issues for your sprinklers leaking and repair the system as quickly as possible to avoid costly expenses.

  1. 1.Low Drainage

    You may notice sprinklers leaking, even with the system is off. If this occurs, the problem may be low drainage. This situation occurs when the lowest sprinkler head on the system allows water to drain from lateral pipes due to gravity. Water remaining in the system will not flow through these areas of the pipes even after water from other points in the system have left the underground piping. If the water is significant enough, you may notice puddling in this area. Ordinarily, this puddling should not be significant. If it becomes a problem, however, you may need to install a drain check valve to remedy the situation.

  2. 2.Blocked Filter

    Over time and with use, it’s not unusual for the filters of a sprinkler system to become clogged and blocked with dirt and debris. When this happens, the water flow will either be reduced or it could be blocked entirely, even when the sprinkler system is running. When you determine that a blocked filter is causing a leak, you must clean it out to repair it.

  3. 3.Faulty Connection

    One of the most common issues for a leaky sprinkler involves a faulty connection. To diagnose and remedy a faulty connection, you must examine the entire system carefully. Locate each sprinkler valve in the system and note whether you see leaking occurring around the valves. Turn off each valve one at a time to determine whether each one is leaking. Once you isolate a leaky valve, first try cleaning it. If cleaning it does not resolve the leak, you may need to replace it.

  4. 4.Nozzle Blockage

    Monitor the sprinkler nozzles regularly in your landscape to ensure they do not become blocked by debris. This might occur from plants overgrowing the nozzles or even from trash. Grass can even grow over the nozzles over time, preventing nozzles from moving as they need to move. Nozzle blockages can also occur from lawn mowers damaging the sprinkler.

    Make sure nothing prevents the nozzles from spraying where you want the irrigation to reach. If you find blockages, remove them as soon as possible to avoid ineffective spraying.

  5. 5.Hole in the Line

    The underground lines of the sprinkler system can also develop holes and leaks. As the system operates, check it periodically to ensure nothing seems amiss. You will know a hole exists in the underground lines if pools of water occur or if large areas of moisture occur in specific areas of your landscape. Another indication of a hole in the line might be a significant area of grass that is greener and more vibrant than surrounding areas of grass.

  6. 6.How to Fix

    To fix a clogged filter, first determine which type of system you have – either spray or rotor system. Once you know the type of system you have, turn off the water and prepare to fix it.


    To fix a spray system, lift the riser portion of the sprinkler, taking care not to damage it. Once you have it up, unscrew the upper portion of the spray head by turning it counterclockwise. Remove the filter, rinse it out with water and flush the irrigation line with the filter disassembled. Replace the filter and test the sprinkler – it should work properly. To fix a rotor system, disassemble the rotor to access the internal filter. Remove the filter, rinse it out and flush the irrigation line with the filter out. Replace the filter and assemble the rotor again.


    To fix a blocked nozzle, turn off the sprinkler system first. Unscrew the sprinkler head and clear out any blockages with a very thin wire, like a straightened paperclip. Insert the wire into every hole in the nozzle to clear out any blockages. Once you finish cleaning the nozzle, replace the sprinkler head and turn the water back on to test the system. It should run clear.


    To fix a hole in the line, you may need to hire a professional contractor. If you decide to tackle it yourself, you will need to ascertain the location of the leak first by observation. After you have determined the point of the leak, dig to the underground pipe, taking care not to damage or disturb other portions of the pipe. Cut away the leaky portion of pipe and replace it with new pipe and couplings. It’s imperative that the connections be clean and you must also apply PVC primer and pipe cement to the connections to prevent leaks. Test the line to ensure you fixed it and then replace the soil around the piping.


    An irrigation system is only effective for maintaining your landscape and saving money if you maintain the system. Allowing the system to run with leaks will run up your water bill and it could lead to costly damage of your landscape and even your home. Monitor your sprinkler system regularly to ensure that you don’t experience problems with leaking. If you notice problems, either fix them yourself or hire a professional to rectify the situation.

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