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1-2 gpm zone leak (when turned on), cant find.

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by RhettMan, Nov 2, 2012.

  1. RhettMan

    RhettMan LawnSite Silver Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 2,156

    Cant find a leak...

    How do i find it?

    Large low laying deck, underside too low for crawl.

    A drain tile will flow the leak after a few minutes of run.
    Cant hear the sounds of flowing water from anywhere, Execpt the drain tile exit.

    Supposedly the drain tile is under the house...

    House addition, but reportedly piped around after construction.

  2. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,976

    Could there be zone valve(s) under the deck? We've sure been there. :dizzy:
  3. irritation

    irritation LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,248

    I assume it's a main leak. Put a good quality pressure gage on the main and shut off the water. Even a drip will cause it to drop in no time. If it drops cap off the main before the deck and test again. If good reroute main around deck.
  4. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,976

    Fire the zones, locate the valves, if you're missing some, guess where they'll be? Then drag out the 521 and trace the wires. I still think it's a rock in the valve.
  5. 1idejim

    1idejim LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,437

    You isolate - test - eleminate. Turn the system off for a day or 2 and listen for the leak at the same place you are hearing it now. If you hear the noise look toward leaking main or other source.

    If you don't have a MV and the sound of water is not present when the system is off and the meter is still or pressure stays up (well doesn't cycle) - eleminate a leaking main line -

    With a MV you can listen to the valve with a sounding stick or piece of pipe. No noise - eleminate MV - Listen to all of the valves, no noise or meter movement/cycling - eleminate valves -

    Plug or cap all but 1 head on the suspect zone. Attach a pressure gauge at the remaining head POC. Activate the valve watch for pressure drop while listening to the valve. If the valve is silent and the pressure doesn't bounce around - eleminate the lateral -
    There are many places where a leak could be but if its in the irrigation system, thats where i would start.
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  6. RhettMan

    RhettMan LawnSite Silver Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 2,156

    When controller off, no flow from drain tile...
    when controller on, MV wire in, zone wire out, no flow
    when controller on, MV wire in, zone wire in, flow from tile.

    I outfitted all sprays nozzles on the zone with Closed VAN's to see if the meter would stop completely, sure enough, still rolling a few gpm's worth when the zone valve is wired in.

    Perhaps worth noting, the heads and valves in question are on opposite sides of the house. the outlet from the zone valves is pointing staight toward the new house addition which now divides the yard, (or valve and heads).

    ___ Thanks guys

    P.S. what are my options on tracking the lateral line by cutting into it near the located valve, and attaching a (for lack of the correct term, "chatterbox", "sound-maker", "water pipe tracker".

    I suppose a could run a wire down the lateral and track it with a 521, seems that might be foiled by a 90 , etc.

    anyway, thanks again yall! (you fixed the hammer issue btw :)
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2012
  7. mitchgo

    mitchgo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,780

    The longer it takes to hear the sound or see the leak after you turn it on the farther it is away. If it takes as long as you say it does...

    Finding a leak not surfacing on a lateral is very hard. Personally for me what I do is use accoustical equipment when all the heads are shut off at the base of each head.. The probability of the leak to occur at the base of a head and then just flowing into a drain is much much higher then the piping itself.

    If I don't hear the sound I try to systemically break down the design of the zone and best guest cut the zone in half to continue on isolating . Sometimes there is no way to figure this out depending on the design.

    If you have metal rod you can listen at each head. This would be my first thing to suggest to do .. You could just have a cracked marlex not surfacing and flowing into the drain . recommend to get a cheap phonoscope or stethascope

    Try to isolate the piping at a mid way point at least the elimates 50%

    I had a awesome job the a few weeks back which I should have taken pictures. A zone had a break somewhere and you could hear after a while a roar of rushing water flowing into the foundation drain. After some bit of time I discovered a failed fitting about 15' from the foundation drain I hear it from INSIDE a corrigated drain pipe middle of the yard. lol
  8. Waterlogged

    Waterlogged LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 581

    RhettMan, Don't know if you really mean a tile drain, or just a drainline? Don't know if all your drainline is under the deck?
    I've had the same situation, but I was able to find the drainline and cut it at the midway point. Turn your valve on. If the water comes from your right, go that direction. If it doesn't, go the other direction.
    Hopefully your deck boards are screwed down, instead of nailed. I had one that I had to remove the deck boards to get to it.
    You mentioned stuff going under the new addition. I would definitely reroute around it.
    Some of these issues just take patience. Stick with it. You will eventually find it. I've found that I usually do better after I've slept on it a night.
  9. txirrigation

    txirrigation LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 977

    If I understand your problem right, you almost had it with the closed VANS.

    Close all the VANS and set the zone for 15-20 min, then go find the wet spot. If you do not find a wet spot, put more time on the zone and wait.
  10. mitchgo

    mitchgo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,780

    Tx usually you have more sound advice. I don't think you understand his problem correctly .

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