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leakymess

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1

Friday, August 1st 2014, 8:29pm

Mystery leak in irrigation system

Hi. New here. We have a mystery. Pls help! We were just notified by water bureau that we have used 750,000 gallons of water in the last 3 months. We typically use about 45units per water bill (every three months), and this past three was over 1000 units. We live in a single family home 5 people on 1/2 acre. I looked at meter and saw it spinning really fast. Shut off water to the house and it kept spinning. Turned back on house water valve, and turned off main valve to the irrigation system. Meter stopped pinning. Bingo. Found three valve boxes wet, two of which are downhill from the house. Left water to system off overnight, and water level went down in two out of three of the boxes. I figured problem in that line, and called people who installed the system (house is just two years old). They came out, turned water on to system and meter still stopped while all water on. So, ran it zone by zone. All heads popped up with good pressure, and no visible leaks in any of the valve boxes. Checked water meter again once turned the sprinklers off (but main valves all open), and not spinning. Walked around entire property, and there is NO evidence of water leak (no standing water, no stream, etc). There is a culvert located on the bottom of our property, so possible that water flowed underground and into that culvert. But, really, no standing water anywhere.

The sprinkler guy just said to watch it and wait. Said to call him back if there was another leak, but he didn't see any issue with the irrigation system. He said possibly a valve got stuck open, and then it shut when I turned the main irrigation valve off because it released the pressure.

However, if there were 750,000 gallons passing through all of the valves during the last few weeks if had to come out of the system somewhere. Wouldn't it have come out of the sprinkler heads? We haven't noticed anything. If it's leaking out of the valves, I suspect we need to replace the valves, right? But he insists it's not leaking. Our system has nine zones. We never run the drip. We run three zones of lawn 10 min, 6 min and 20 min each three times a week early morning, and two other zones that hit trees/shrubs for 20 min twice a week. It's actually less than last year, so I would expect there is a leak, and it should be visible with that much water.

Any thoughts on what to check next?

the meter has stopped spinning, but the water co won't give us an adjustment unless we have a documented repair. Mysteriously stopped when we shut off the water and put it back on again doesn't count.

hi.todd

Supreme Member

Posts: 417

Location: Houston, Texas

2

Saturday, August 2nd 2014, 2:54am

Check all of your program start times. It may be operating more than 1 time per day.

Also, check yo see that you only have one active program.

It is not unusual for the home owner to be oblivious to the concept of programs A, B, and C.

Check to make sure you only have 1 program active.

Good luck
:thumbup: :thumbsup:

Central Irrigation

Supreme Member

Posts: 364

Location: Central Minnesota

3

Saturday, August 2nd 2014, 8:08am

Whenever there is a concern regarding the mainline or valves, a pressure test should be conducted. Simply watching a water meter for movement isn't exactly accurate.

It's possible you have weeping valves, which would show itself as pooling water around the sprinkler heads 24/7.

Of course, one of our townhome complexes got a bill for "Very High Water Usage" where they claimed the system used 3 million gallons in one month. A pressure test of the mainline concluded that was impossible, and a new , properly functioning meter was installed.

leakymess

Unregistered

4

Saturday, August 2nd 2014, 8:36am

Mystery Leak in irrigation system

Check all of your program start times. It may be operating more than 1 time per day.

Also, check yo see that you only have one active program.

It is not unusual for the home owner to be oblivious to the concept of programs A, B, and C.

Check to make sure you only have 1 program active.


Thanks. It's the first thing I did after turning off the water. That's a mistake we made when we first moved into the house two years ago, but even then, it wasn't this much water.

I think I am going to have a leak detection service out on Monday to see if they can help figure it out. We have no wet spots by sprinklers. Is that where the water would have gone if a valve was stuck open? I have walked around everywhere, and our land is dry.

Wet_Boots

Supreme Member

Posts: 4,061

Location: Metro NYC

5

Saturday, August 2nd 2014, 10:17am

Does the system have a master valve? It's simple enough to observe all the zones in operation, and see if anything looks wrong.

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