Finding An Elusive Broken Sprinkler Pipe

 
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Old 03-03-2005, 09:01 PM   #1
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Finding An Elusive Broken Sprinkler Pipe


Well with the hints I got here, the backyard project of grading by hand and taking care of runoff is coming along quite well indeed. But as I am out there tamping soil, digging and backfilling, I am thinking of my next project(s)...

Okay, I'll admit this is pretty silly, but I have to show some ignorance here and ask anyhow.

Simple task:
Find a broken sprinkler pipe.

Devil In The Details:
The lawn is a sod lawn, and there is a really large tree on it. The root system of the tree is extensive and fine. That is to say, it is a spider web of roots down there, they are not big around, but what they do not have in girth, they make up in tortorously twisted long roots.

Now the spiderweb that is the root system is rivaled only by the spiderweb of pipes the previous owners put in for sprinkler systems. I have run into pipes in the front and back yard in places that there is really no whisper of a reason to have one.

Okay here's the problem. Last fall I noted the 'bublin crude' type of geyser coming out of the ground about 3 - 5 feet in front of the tree. Thinking I'd be a hero to wife, kids, and dog, I simply dug down and found.... nothing... instead I followed the water. It was going in and out of, around and through the root system of the tree, skimming under the sod, and then diving back into more root system.

I dug up 3-4 feet of lawn before I decided there must be a better way.

So, I know I am asking for secrets of the inner circle here, but do you guys have any little tricks or suggestions that I could use to actually find the point of origin for the water? Bonus points for cost free solutions as I have a plate full of projects that each have a couple hundred dollar pricetag on them.

Oh and I am CHEAP and MISERLY.

Thanks!

Charles
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Old 03-03-2005, 09:20 PM   #2
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Re: Finding An Elusive Broken Sprinkler Pipe


I'll tell you what I know, and that is if you found a actual bubbling leak then the leak is close by so you might have missed it somehow. It would be pretty unusual for a leak far away to bubble they usually seap and get soggy and saturate if it is like 7-10 feet away.

I don't know of any easy solution other than to use the sprinkler heads to show you the way. Most people use the shortest and straightes distance between heads (sprinkler pipe is straight you know, and flexible sprinkler pipe only bends so much) so use the heads on either side of the leak to try to figure a best guess where the line is and start digging.

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Old 03-03-2005, 09:21 PM   #3
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Re: Finding An Elusive Broken Sprinkler Pipe


What mike said, or use a pipe camera like the sewer guys use to find busted/clogged pipes.
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Old 03-03-2005, 09:25 PM   #4
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Re: Finding An Elusive Broken Sprinkler Pipe


Quote:
Originally Posted by CGofMP
Bonus points for cost free solutions as I have a plate full of projects that each have a couple hundred dollar pricetag on them.Oh and I am CHEAP and MISERLY.
If you can feed compressed air into the system instead of water try doing that. Air molecules are smaller and may find their way to the surface through a more direct route.

Get a piece of 1/2" smooth round metal stock about 5' long, grind one end down to a dull point, fashion some kind of sturdy handle on the other end and 'probe' along the pipe's route watching for the flow to become more, or less, prominent.

Bonus points if you're actually doing any of this stuff and not just jerking us all off.
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Old 03-03-2005, 09:35 PM   #5
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Re: Finding An Elusive Broken Sprinkler Pipe


Quote:
Originally Posted by PipeGuy

Bonus points if you're actually doing any of this stuff and not just jerking us all off.
OUCH!

No sir, I am dead serious about all of these projects.... I appreciate the opportunity to ask folks that have a CLUE rather than the droids at HD, OSH, ACE, or other places.

I'll be happy to post pictures as proof if you like! I have a great one of 'The Charles River' becoming 'Lake Charles' (as I am digging it out), and now a pic of "nearly graded soon to be meadow Charles"....

I considered briefly posting an introduction of myself... in that I was gonna put an edited copy of my 'fixer upper journal' basically a list of dates and projects I was working on.... I thought that would be a bit self serving AND all my work of the last year does not add up to what one of your companies does at a single jobsite in a single week I am sure.

Still, the offer is there, if you think I'm just trolling I'll post photographic evidence that I am at least trying to better my property.
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Old 03-03-2005, 09:40 PM   #6
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Re: Finding An Elusive Broken Sprinkler Pipe


No need Charles, I was just kiddin' around. Glad to help when I can.
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Old 03-03-2005, 10:01 PM   #7
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Re: Finding An Elusive Broken Sprinkler Pipe


Charles, Pipe is right in that air will find its way faster than water. Unfortunately, at this point, both tend to follow the path of least resistance, meaning that the air will tend to follow the same route as the water. Sometimes you just have to dig. You might consider the leak detection option, the ones here charge $1K just to show up. I'd do a little more digging.
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Old 09-27-2008, 04:13 PM   #8
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Re: Finding An Elusive Broken Sprinkler Pipe


Did any give the answer?
Quote:
Originally Posted by CGofMP View Post
Well with the hints I got here, the backyard project of grading by hand and taking care of runoff is coming along quite well indeed. But as I am out there tamping soil, digging and backfilling, I am thinking of my next project(s)...

Okay, I'll admit this is pretty silly, but I have to show some ignorance here and ask anyhow.

Simple task:
Find a broken sprinkler pipe.

Devil In The Details:
The lawn is a sod lawn, and there is a really large tree on it. The root system of the tree is extensive and fine. That is to say, it is a spider web of roots down there, they are not big around, but what they do not have in girth, they make up in tortorously twisted long roots.

Now the spiderweb that is the root system is rivaled only by the spiderweb of pipes the previous owners put in for sprinkler systems. I have run into pipes in the front and back yard in places that there is really no whisper of a reason to have one.

Okay here's the problem. Last fall I noted the 'bublin crude' type of geyser coming out of the ground about 3 - 5 feet in front of the tree. Thinking I'd be a hero to wife, kids, and dog, I simply dug down and found.... nothing... instead I followed the water. It was going in and out of, around and through the root system of the tree, skimming under the sod, and then diving back into more root system.

I dug up 3-4 feet of lawn before I decided there must be a better way.

So, I know I am asking for secrets of the inner circle here, but do you guys have any little tricks or suggestions that I could use to actually find the point of origin for the water? Bonus points for cost free solutions as I have a plate full of projects that each have a couple hundred dollar pricetag on them.

Oh and I am CHEAP and MISERLY.

Thanks!

Charles
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Old 09-27-2008, 10:04 PM   #9
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Re: Finding An Elusive Broken Sprinkler Pipe


I had one blow off above me on a job once. Solid oak door swung into it , still cant figure out how the termites did that .

Sediment , cutting oil and aqua shower.

Not to mention a trip to wills eye hospital.
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Old 09-30-2008, 01:00 AM   #10
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Re: Finding An Elusive Broken Sprinkler Pipe


Glad you wrote "here is the problem" since I skimmed the reams of text to find the question.

Sometimes you can push a metal rod like a probe to see if water will come up a second place.

Generally, I'm very interested to find the pipe to know its orientation, as much as looking for a single leak.

You can also have more than one leak in one place.
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Old 09-30-2008, 01:09 AM   #11
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Re: Finding An Elusive Broken Sprinkler Pipe


Quote:
Originally Posted by Snow Man View Post
I had one blow off above me on a job once. Solid oak door swung into it , still cant figure out how the termites did that .

Sediment , cutting oil and aqua shower.

Not to mention a trip to wills eye hospital.

At least you went to the correct Hospital/Institute.
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Old 09-30-2008, 09:58 AM   #12
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Re: Finding An Elusive Broken Sprinkler Pipe


There's no easy way.
-Hire inexpensive labor to dig [my choice]
-Put buku air in the line and listen [ you will need to isolate the system]
-Run a fish-tape in the line,and energize with a remote transmitter,then locate the line with a line locator

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