An automated sprinkler system is a solid investment for people who want to keep their landscape looking pristine. A professional sprinkler system can help save you money and time, yet there are a number of issues to look out for as well. For instance, if your sprinkler system is leaking, you may be losing money and putting your landscape at risk.

Unfortunately, even a small leak can mean a big loss. Leaks can increase your water bill and waste a lot of water. Not only this, they may damage your plants and sod, either from over or under watering. They may also put other landscape elements, such as lighting, rocks, or even concrete, at risk.

Here are 5 signs your sprinkler system is leaking and needs repair

Skyrocketing water bills

Once your landscape is set up, you should start to get a handle on how much water it is going to use. Water use will typically be pretty regular, depending on what the season calls for. There may be normal fluctuations in water use and your overall water bill. However, if you notice a big spike in your water bill from one month to the next, it can be a red flag there is a leak in the system.

If you notice a big increase in your water bill, look for other sources of the issue. This may be a leaky toilet or faucet, or a washing machine using too much water. If these are not the issue, inspect the sprinkler system for leaks or call a professional.

Wet spots

After your sprinkler system completes its normal cycle, keep an eye out for particularly wet spots. While it is normal for the landscape to be wet after the sprinkler system finishes its cycle, there should be no signs of excessive watering. Signs of too much water include:

  • Marshy, wet patches of grass
  • Pools of water
  • Mud
  • Wet concrete
  • Bubbling water from the ground

All of these signs indicate there is too much water in one area. While some may also be a sign that the program you are running uses too much water, they can also be a sign there is a leak in the system.


Natural weathering may be a part of any landscape. With that said, signs of unnecessary erosion in the landscape may be a big indicator of an underground leak. This may be due to an unexpected source, such as tree roots working their way into the pipes. There may be a more obvious cause as well, such as digging or landscape work that breaks a pipe just underground.

Erosion may appear near the sprinkler heads themselves, or anywhere along the line. It can appear at first like something small has been digging in the area, and may even look a bit like a groundhog hole. The erosion will continue as more water leaks into the area. It may cause a small sink hole or erode away the side of a landscape element and resemble digging from a large animal such as a dog at that point.

While it very well may be an animal causing this erosion, look out for other signs of a leak as well. It may be time to call your landscape professional for a repair.

Fungus growth

Fungus growth in some areas may be a normal occurrence, but it can also be a sign of too much water in any given area. If you start to notice that one patch of grass or area of your landscape is growing mushrooms of any sort, it could be a sign that there is too much water in the area.

Common culprits include pipes that flow near trees. The pipe may have a leak, putting too much water into the root ball. This creates the perfect environment for many types of mushrooms, which may spring up quickly and multiply if the leak is not fixed.

Drop in water pressure

Assuming your sprinkler system was installed professionally, the water pressure coming out of the system is going to be even and regular, providing the correct flow to hit all key areas of your landscape. If you start to notice signs of low pressure, such as sprinkler heads not coming up, low coverage, or strange patterning from sprinklers, it may indicate there is a leak.

Again, there may be other issues at play here. The municipal water supply may be low for some reason. Additionally, there may be issues with the backflow valve on the system itself. If these are not the cause, start looking for a leak in the system.

Final thought

While there are a number of signs your sprinkler system is leaking, there is only one solution – finding and fixing the leak. Professionals such as New Jersey’s own Quench Irrigation can help diagnose and repair leaks in your sprinkler system quickly and easily, saving you the trouble.