A crack in a PVC sprinkler system will usually result in a loss of pressure or in water seeping up out of the soil. Although repairing a crack in a PVC sprinkler line is not difficult, it does require some digging and a little bit of searching for the leak. However, it is something most DIYers can do themselves and save money in the process. So, use this handy how-to guide to help you learn how to isolate a leak in a PVC sprinkler line and repair it.
Step 1 - Locate the Leak
Before you can repair your sprinkler system, you'll first need to isolate the leak. There is no easy way to find the leak; however, you may be able to find it using one of two methods. The first is to look for water that is seeping up to the surface of your soil on dry days (and when sprinkler is not on). This could be an indication that the leak is nearby. Take a shovel and dig down a few inches below the surface of the soil and see if you notice more water. Another way to find the leak is to look for a point in the sprinkler line where pressure seems to drop off. A crack in the line will cause pressure from that point forward to be less than the sprinkler heads in the system that are positioned before the crack.
Step 2 - Dig Down to the Pipe
Once you have an idea where the leak is located, begin digging down to the PVC pipe. Once you find the leak, dig out an area about six to eight inches deep and about one to 1 1/2 feet wide around the cracked area of the pipe. This will give you enough room to work.
Step 3 - Measure Pipe and Purchase Materials
Use the measuring tape to measure the diameter of the PVC pipe. Then, visit your local home improvement center and purchase the same size pipe along with a couple of couplers, some PVC primer, and some PVC glue.
Step 4 - Turn Off the Water
Turn off the water to your sprinkler system by switching off the isolation valve or the main water shut off valve in front of your home.
Step 5 - Cut the Pipe
Take the hack saw and cut the PVC pipe in the area with the crack. Try to avoid cutting out too much pipe if possible. If the crack is relatively small, cutting a small one or two-inch section may suffice. However, if the crack is longer, just cut out as much pipe as is needed.
Step 6 - Install Pipe and/or Couplers
Now you need to cut a new piece of PVC pipe or install a coupler (depending on the length of the crack). Cleanup sawed edges with a piece of sandpaper and apply PVC primer to the edges and the inside of the coupler. Connect the pieces with PVC glue.
Step 7 - Cover the Pipe
Once you have connected the PVC pipe, give it a few hours to dry and set. Then, cover the pipe again with dirt and turn the water back on. Your PVC sprinkler system should now function properly.