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Friday, November 28th 2014, 4:17pm

I have a leak and just found out I might have a sprinkler system

Greetings and Thank you.

We just moved into our home about a year and half ago in the State of Texas Last year during our drought summer I noticed that our side yard was a little softer then the rest of the yard. My husband chalked to up to different type of grass.

Well then this summer I noticed a wet spot in our yard (I had just recently been removing overgrown landscaping and I believe this was the source on why I noticed it rather then last year). Well my husband dug up the "moist" spot and found two gray PCP pipes running parallel. So we called the "call before you dig" number and it was not electric, or gas, etc. One of the guys did notice what he said was an irrigation line and believed that is what it was.

These two grey pvc lines go up from the ground are connected by a compression fitting that is looped. So my husband starts digging, and we come upon 3 lines. Not sure where the lines tie in yet.

We did find a box that was buried in our front yard (green round box), by the outdoor water spigot closet to our water meter. Within this box after digging out the dirt we did find a ball valve, but no handle attached to it, and it is round.

So then we went to the pvc pipes that were out of the ground and started to open up the valve and water came out, high pressure water. So this is where we sit now. There was no disclosure when we bought the home that it had a water lawn sprinkler system, or waterever it is.

If you can see the pictures, you will see the u shape connection with two gray pvc pipes, this is the one were water came out, then you see the line with three lines. Just around the A/C unit the third lines shows up. Then the pic of the hedges and grass just shows how green it is, compared to the picture of the dead and dying grass next to that area. Any help would be greatly appreciated <img src="" alt="6086882260901211489?authkey=CIitpdiYzPi4LQ" title="6086882260901211489?authkey=CIitpdiYzPi4LQ" style="font-size: 1em;" /> . <img src="" alt="6086882260901211489?authkey=CIitpdiYzPi4LQ" title="6086882260901211489?authkey=CIitpdiYzPi4LQ" style="font-size: 1em;" />


Supreme Member

Posts: 5,292

Location: Metro NYC


Saturday, November 29th 2014, 10:52am

We can't see your photo album. Always better to use a free image host that generates the forum code you can copy and paste into the message box. I use, and there is also imageshack, along with others.

Anyway, a green plastic cover speaks of irrigation plumbing. This is not necessarily a great thing, because Texas codes have been changing, and it is likely you have an old non-compliant system.

Look for a sprinkler controller in your garage. You can look at the wires connected to it and see how many zones the system contains. For each zone, you will have an electric zone valve, each one under its own small round plastic cover.

Once you can find all these pieces, you can get a handle on how to proceed next.


New Member


Saturday, November 29th 2014, 6:30pm

No Box

Thank you for your reply Wet Boots. I forgot to add that we can not find a box anywhere, no patch hole in the wall, nothing. Our garage has been refinished, as in painted, textured on to top of that and part of ceiling has been replaced. Our house is 30 years old and we are the 5th owners. So who knows what happened from 84' till now.

I am trying the photo link again. What happened is that I put the image link in twice. Sorry. I thought the pics would show up in this part.

Pics: <img src="" alt="6086882260901211489?authkey=CIitpdiYzPi4LQ" title="6086882260901211489?authkey=CIitpdiYzPi4LQ" style="font-size: 1em;" />

Our issue is that the hose goes from the back of the house (first wet spot we found) and we don't know from their, but the soggy grass, goes the whole length of the house to the water meter at the street. So almost a 100 feet run. At the wet spot we have not been able to find any cracks in the PVC.

I hope that anyone can see the pics and at least tell us what kind of sprinker system it is: one with heads that spray up or just like a drip system that got buried over the years.

My husband does not have the tools right now to change out the valve in the ground or even cap it off. But we are thinking this was the problem to our frozen pipes all last winter, knowing it was a water line exposed. Yikes. The pipes are at least 12 inches in the ground.

Thank you


New Member


Saturday, November 29th 2014, 6:37pm

Pics of the problem.

This is the normal color of our grass

Pipes - the curve was always exposed, leading the one guy to say irrigation system.

The things inside the green box, in front of the house by the outdoor water spigot. We had to dig to even find this.

The whole wet area, the one wet spot is on the other side of the fence, as the double line coming out of the ground just around the corner a little. Look how green the grass is, compared to the rest of my lawn in other photo. I don't water.

These are the three lines. They start we don't know where, the part that goes above the ground is on the other side of the air conditioner, we only have a one foot spot we haven't dug out yet to see where the third line might start


Supreme Member

Posts: 5,292

Location: Metro NYC


Sunday, November 30th 2014, 9:32am

Try completely cleaning out the box, so we can better see the contents. One quick way is with a wet/dry vacuum (Shop-vac) after you spray a stream of water at the pipes in the box. Make mud, vacuum out the mud, make more mud, vacuum it out. Once the soil is completely washed away and the box dries out, a clearer photo will be possible.

If it turns out that your box is the sprinkler system connection to your house supply line, it shouldn't be too difficult to stop any water flow.




Sunday, November 30th 2014, 4:14pm

Cleaned out box,

Hello: We cleaned out the box. We don't have a wet vac but this should be a little more clearer. We are now thinking this is the emergency shut off for the house and not that line since the two pcv pipes are going through the box. And they are two different pipes. Husband says it looks like it is brass connecting to copper. The u-shape is pointing towards the house. So I am thinking one is going to the outdoor spigot, and the other is going to the first water pipe in the house. The other one on the other side of the ball valve is somewhat pointing towards the water meter. Sorry don't know how to reduce the size of the photo. We are going to call the city to see if they have any old permits for the home. We did try digging across from the water meter (the other side of the sidewalk), were there was huge depression in the ground (at least one foot by one foot. We did not find anything. Thank you.


Supreme Member

Posts: 5,292

Location: Metro NYC


Monday, December 1st 2014, 10:42am

The item in the photos is almost certainly a gate valve with its handle broken off or rusted away. Nothing that absolutely means a sprinkler system is present.

Without anything but the exposed pipes to refer to, you are probably going to have to resort to shovel work to track down what you have in the ground. I would advise against trying to do anything with the valve in the box, until you are certain of what you have and where it is.


Starting Member


Friday, December 5th 2014, 3:17am

Rain Bird systems

Mr rainbird system is a little over 10 years old. It requires constant maintenance,and replacement parts.

I live in Santee, CA. 92071, water restrictions,very high water bills. What is left of my grass/landscape, are palm trees,two fruit trees,paper bark trees. The yard has moles, gophers, rabbits, eating everything. They are everywhere in Santee .

I have considered cement cover painted green, or the new synthetic grass. Both are very costly.

I dont know where to start! Is there anyway to replace the existing Rain Bird system with something less complicated and more reliable.

The dirt around all 8 valves is soaked even when the sprinklers are off.
The over spray and positioning never stays in place.


Active Member


Friday, December 5th 2014, 9:54am

Any system over ten years old may start having problems like failing valves and sprinkler heads. If you want to avoid them failing one by one, causing you to have constant failures, you could just have them updated all at once. You could have all of your heads and valve internals/valves replaced. Valves do not necessarily need to be dug up in all cases; most of the time you can just leave the bottom bodies and replace the top parts. You could also update the controller and/or wiring if desired and if cost allows. Rainbird is a good company so I hear, but others in this forum may have different brand reccomendations for you.

At least the changing out of valve internals can be done by a homeowner, if you feel comfortable. You can see a video here of how a valve is taken apart: . A good thing to do is to buy whole valves, rather than individual parts. You would then cut the main water, take the old parts out of the body in the ground, leaving you with just an empty body. You would then take the new parts from your new valve and put them together in the old body as shown in the video. If you have an anti-siphon valves, they may have more parts than this video shows--If you can give us a model number from your valves, we can probably help you more. Rainbird customer service should also be able tell you how to take it apart if you can locate the model number on the valve. You may contact Rainbird to see if they have any tips for you. *Note if you do see that a valve is leaking from the bottom body, the whole valve will probably need to be replaced.--Which then, you would have that extra new body; it would be just a matter of finding someone who knows how to do it.

Also, here is a video of how a sprinkler head is changed out: A key note to follow is trying not to get debris in your line.

The above videos should give you a general idea of the process. Doing these things yourself can save you money, and are relatively easy. If after having your valve internals/valves replaced does not eliminate the wet dirt around the valves, you may have a leak. Then you or a professional should determine the source of the wetness and repair. Do you notice any leaks when the system is on or off?

All of the above should be able to be done by an irrigation contractor. If you are not electrically inclined, you can do the valves and sprinkler heads yourself, and have a pro change out the controller and wiring. Again, I am not sure what you are looking for costwise, but their services will cost you. Rainbird has a place on the website with information on finding a contractor.

This post has been edited 3 times, last edit by "irrigirl" (Dec 5th 2014, 10:03am)

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