PVC Pipe Leak Repair


Irrigation systems are designed to put water where it is needed in an effective manner. When water appears in new, unexpected places there is a good chance you have a leak. Fortunately, with most systems being made out of PVC, repairing the leak is relatively simple. We’ll go over a number of products and explain how each works, including one that handles galvanized. The first step is to make sure the system is turned off. Having a system come on while you are kneeling over it repairing a leak is an experience to avoid.

There are two important things to remember when you dig up the broken pipe. The first is BE CAREFUL. Don’t try to get all the dirt in one scoop. First, it’s bad for your back. Second, if you push too hard and end up hitting the pipe you could cause a brand new leak. When digging up a pipe it is best to take smaller, careful cuts to ensure that no other damage occurs.

Second, when you find the damaged area make sure to dig a few inches deeper and to each side. The system will have water in the pipe, waiting to get out. This water will want to flow out the handy opening you have just revealed. Digging extra deep allows for the water to drain below the pipe. Also, regardless of the type of patch you put in, you will need clear access to the bottom of the pipe. If you cannot dig deep enough to bring the water level down you will have to bail or pump it out. You will also need to dig to each side a little to give yourself working room for the repair.

Once you have found the leak you need to decide on what type of repair kit you need. All except one needs PVC primer and cement. We’ll discuss the exception first.

Compression FittingsPVC Compression Fitting

This can be used on either PVC or galvanized pipe. A compression fitting relies on pressure on a rubber seal to stop the leak. The compression collar and “O” ring slip on the pipe, the pipe slips in both ends, the collar is tightened and the leak is repaired. They have a number of advantages. Not needing cement means the pipe does not have to be completely dry to repair. If you need to you can do the repair while the water is running. Don’t laugh. It happens. They are quick to install and dependable. The primary disadvantage is they do not work for leaks at or near a fitting.

Leak Stopper Rings

Leak Stopper Rings

If you have a small leak at the junction of a pipe into a fitting, but the pipe and fitting are not cracked, it’s possible you have an area that was not completely glued. Rather than cutting out the entire fitting for a minor leak you can use a Leak Stopper Ring. These go around the pipe, both the ring and pipe are primed and glued, then the ring is pushed hard against the fitting. The glue creates a permanent bond with the ring, the pipe and the fitting, stopping the leak.

Snapper Repair CouplingsPVC SnapLock Repair Fitting

Snapper Repair Couplings are the Duct Tape of PVC: just wrap it up and it will hold. Snapper Repair Couplings are like two halves of pipe split lengthwise. A great advantage of these is you do not need to cut the pipe. The inside of both halves of the coupling and the outside of damaged area of the pipe are primed and cemented. The halves are snapped in place around the break and you have a permanent repair.

Pipe Dream FittingsPIPE Dream PVC Repair Fitting

Like many brilliant ideas this one is deceptively simple. Fittings and couplings tend to be a standard size. If you have a broken line you need to cut the break out. Now you need to reconnect the ends. To do this with standard fittings and pipe you must cut out a larger section of pipe, install fittings and install the new pipe. More work, more gluing. This is particularly hard if a corner or T fitting is involved. The simple idea of Pipe Dream is make the fitting extra long. Because they are longer than the standard coupler, elbow or tee Pipe Dream is able to completely cover the damaged area without the need for additional parts or supplies. Simple.

Kwik-Repair TeesPVC Kwik-Repair Tee

This is another “why didn’t I think of that” product. KwikRepair Tees are simply a replacement section of pipe with the slip fit couplings already installed. The couplings are pushed in to the shortest length. The broken pipe section is cut out to a matching length. The KwikRepair Tee is then put in place, the Tee and pipe are primed and cemented, and the couplings are pulled out to full length. Job done.

Quik-Fix Telescopic Repair CouplingPVC Quick-Fix Telescopic Repair Coupling

A Quik-Fix coupling is simple and quick. Simply cut out section of broken pipe slightly longer than compressed Quik-Fix, apply primer and glue to fittings and expand Quik-Fix to fill the gap. Leak repaired. A great advantage is, because the fitting expands, there is some small room for error in how big a section of pipe you remove. For example, if you cut 1” less than the suggested length the Quik-Fix will still work. You just don’t expand it all the way. However, don’t cut too long, they don’t stretch.

Pipe FixPVC Pipe Fix Repair Tee

Pipe fix give you more options in your repair. It is a section of replacement pipe with the fittings already in place. This provides a one piece, no hunting for parts, repair. It also offers the option of a straight repair or adding a Tee joint, allowing replacement of a failed Tee or the option of installing a new line.

Primer and CementFast Setting PVC Cement

Regardless of which method you choose all of these require a quality primer and cement, excluding the compression coupling.

For More Information

For more information about anything involving irrigation, please visit us at www.SprinklerWarehouse.com.

How often should I water my yard?


The answer to this question varies as greatly as the climate across the country. The amount needed on the Gulf Coast of Texas would starve grass planted in New Mexico. Region, grass type and soil all play a part.

I’ll attempt to give some general answers first. Then I’ll try and get more specific.

An often used rule of thumb is that your lawn should receive at least 1 to 1 ½” inch of water per week. However, how often you water also depends on weather, area restrictions, grass types and more. Under watering is as common as overwatering. It may be more common, especially during high heat times. Under watering causes shallow roots, making the grass more vulnerable to stress. Eventually the grass turns brown and dies.

Many are not aware of the problems caused by over watering. Your lawn needs moisture, nutrients, and air to grow. If you water too much, you can saturate your soil to the point where air cannot get to the roots. The lawn basically suffocates. So a water balance is very important.

Generally you want to water in such a way that the water penetrates 6” to 8” into the soil. This helps establish deeper roots for your grass. On a recent test in a public park in Houston, Tx, a generally well watered area, grass roots were found going down more than 12”. This is an example of the difference between a little every day and a lot on one or two days a week in absorbent soil. Look at the root depth chart that follows.

Daily versus weekly watering chart

Another consideration is how short you cut your grass. Taller grass helps shield the soil from heat and retains moisture better. Try to avoid extremely short settings on your mower.

After all this I still haven’t told you how often to water your yard. Ok. Here’s my answer, sort of. Figure that your grass needs about 1” to 1.5” per week. You also want to water in such a way that it soaks into the soil to enough depth to encourage root growth but does not run off due to non-porous soil or sloped yards. Look at this illustration:

How to water different soil types chart

In clay you might want to water three or four times a week, about ¼ inch per time, twice a day. Since clay absorbs water so slowly you won’t risk water runoff. With sand you can have water absorb past the depth the grass can use it. In this case you might water ½” at a time, three times a week. This should keep it moist. In loam you can often get away with twice a week, ½” to ¾” at a time. The loam will absorb and hold the water for a long time. Remember to water in the early morning, before the wind and sun comes up to dry out the yard.

There really is no set rule – every other day, once a week, or every third day. The best thing to do is be in tune with your lawn. By doing so, you will notice signs when your lawn needs a drink.

I would like to offer one piece of advice that I know is good: get to know your local nursery or your area county agent. Also, most areas have a college that does research into local growing patterns. Their information is very valuable and usually free. The lawn in Maine varies greatly from that in Louisiana and that in Oregon. You local experts are your best resource.

For More Information

For more information about anything involving irrigation, please visit us at www.SprinklerWarehouse.com.

But it is cheaper this way…irrigation parts, performance and problems.


A fact: some parts are cheaper than others. I’ll give you another fact: sometimes the cheaper part is as good as or better than the more expensive part. Why then wouldn’t you save money by buying the cheaper part?

There are a number of ways to save money. Sometimes it is by buying the least expensive part. Other times it may be by buying the most expensive part. Sometimes it is by cutting coupons. It’s a mixed bag. So how do you get the most return on your dollar? Simple: buy the most efficient product for your system and your life style; the product that works best with your system, providing the best service over a period of time. But best doesn’t only mean mechanically. It means best as in “efficient mechanical performance with the fewest demands on the owner’s time and effort.”

Nozzles

Let’s talk about sprinkler nozzles for a moment. We’ll compare Rain Bird, Hunter and K-Rain in a 12’, full circle spray. There is about a $0.50 spread from low to high. They all work; they all put out 12’ of water in a full circle. The yard gets wet.K-Rain Sprinkler Nozzle

The problem is the Toro nozzle puts out 2.19 gallons per minute (GPM). The other two put out around 2.65 GPM. So if you have a system with Toro nozzles and put in one Hunter or Rain Bird nozzle then that area will be over watered, harming the grass, water will be wasted and you will pay for that wasted water. Conversely, if you put a Toro head on a Hunter zone then that area will be under watered, may start to suffer and you’ll wonder why. The least expensive is whatever is the most efficient for your design. To find the correct nozzle for your system, go HERE.

Rotors

Let’s look at rotors for a moment. We’ll compare the Hunter PGP against the K-Rain RPS75. These two rotors are almost identical in design. However, the nozzles they come with are not. If you have 40 psi of water pressure and you need to spray 40’ their water volume differs. One uses 3.0 GPM, one uses 4.3 GPM. Your system will be designed for one or the other. If you mix them then one area will be over watered or another will be under watered. Cost to you if you install the wrong ones? Lots of head scratching and frustration as you watch lawn problems develop.K-Rain Rotor

Remember, a well designed system will water your yard in the most economical and efficient manner possible. As in many things, consistency and uniformity are important. When you change the design by mixing in unmatched parts just to save a few dollars, or more expensive parts because you like the brand name, you can cost yourself money, time and stress wondering why your yard is no longer as healthy as it was.

More Information

As always, you can come to Sprinkler Warehouse for more information. We’ll be glad to help.