Leaks in your irrigation system can waste a lot of water. Ideally, you should monitor your system for leaks on a regular basis. Here are some tips to help you ensure you don't have leaks:
1. Monitor your water bill for shifts in usage.
If your irrigation system runs on a well, this step is irrelevant, but in most other cases, you should monitor your bill for weird fluctuations. If your water usage is unusually high one month and you know that you haven't run the irrigation system more than usual, that is a sign of an issue. If you cannot explain why the bill is more expensive than usual, start to look for a leak.
2. Look at the flow meter.
Most irrigation systems have flow meters attached to them. Watch the flow meter whilst your system is off. If it shows water flowing, that means you have a leak somewhere.
If the flow metre is attached to the water running into your home, make sure all the taps in your home are off, as well as the irrigation system. If the flow metre indicates water is running, turn off the valve connecting your irrigation system to the rest of your home. If the metre continues to show that something is flowing, the leak must be in your home. However, if the flowing stops when you turn off your irrigation system, that means the flow is somewhere in your system.
3. Check each zone for leaks.
Most irrigation systems are set up with a number of zones. To look for leaks, turn on each zone one at a time. While the zone is running, walk through it. Look for water bubbling up from the ground—that typically means that one of the irrigation hoses under the ground has a leak. Also, look for sprinklers that aren't releasing water—if the water isn't reaching the sprinklers, that typically means that there may be a leak somewhere in the line. Additionally, a leak in the line can also relate to slow flows from the sprinkler.
4. Dig in to find the leak.
If you find the site of a suspected leak, dig into the ground to see if you can find it. If you find the leak, you can attempt to patch the hose with a bit of waterproof tape. However, for large leaks, you will need to contact a local irrigation specialist.