Three Signs Your Sprinkler System Has Sprung a Leak

How do you know when you need us to come out and perform repairs to your sprinkler system?

Big sprinkler system leaks are fairly easy to see, and waste a lot of water quickly. You’ll probably notice an “un-engineered water feature” in your yard. But there are several less obvious symptoms of a sprinkler system that isn’t working optimally.

Over time, a small leak can waste an enormous amount of water, along with damaging your lawn and garden. Here are three signs that you may need a service call.

1. Soggy Grass

Three Signs Your Sprinkler System Has Sprung a Leak

Look for any soggy spots in your lawn, areas that remain muddy even when the weather is dry. There may not be any water bubbling up, and the leak won’t be clearly visible. But these wet conditions could damage your garden and grass and will certainly increase your water bill.

2. Damp or Wet Concrete

Three Signs Your Sprinkler System Has Sprung a Leak

If your sidewalk or driveway get wet when your sprinklers are on, then you system isn’t functioning properly. A sprinkler head is either leaking or needs to be adjusted. No one needs to water their concrete!

3. Brown Spots in Your Lawn

Three Signs Your Sprinkler System Has Sprung a Leak

Another sign that your sprinkler system might be malfunctioning is if your lawn starts to develop brown spots between sprinkler heads. While this could be due to disease, if the soil is dry, then your sprinkler heads may be misaligned.

If you see any of these three signs, give us a call, and we’ll check your sprinkler system.


About the Author:

Graduating from the Ohio state University in 1981 with a degree in Landscape Design and Construction Sean has worked in the green industry his entire adult life. Sean has been designing and installing efficient irrigation systems since the late 1980’s. Sean is certified with the Irrigation Association in the following areas: • Certified Irrigation Designer • Certified Irrigation Contractor • Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor • Certified Golf Irrigation Auditor • Certified RainXchange professional Sean is also registered with the EPA as a “Water Sense Partner” having demonstrated the ability to conserve water through proper design and management of irrigation systems. Sean is the owner of Applied Water Technologies an irrigation design and consulting firm and the operator of TriState Water Works the hassle free irrigation service provider Sean is also an Adjunct teacher at Cincinnati State Community College teaching the various irrigation classes and sustainable energy use in the landscape. Sean’s irrigation design work has encompassed Golf Course Irr., Sports Turf Irr. As in Baseball, Soccer, Football, Residential Irrigation., Light Commercial Irr., Large multi-family developments as in condominium complexes, apartment complexes, housing developments, agricultural irrigation as in field crops, pasture, vegetable farming, livestock operations, Irrigation for LID projects as in green roofs, bio-retention, natural area remediation, Industrial irrigation for temperature control, material cooling, and dust control, Nursery irrigation for both greenhouse crops, field crops and pot in pot operations, Waste water treatment for effluent dispersion, and odor control.


  1. Eli August 26, 2016 at 5:41 pm - Reply

    I know some people who don’t put much thought into maintaining their grass. They just let it grow, or not grow, as the weather provides. In dry areas the grass would die quickly without a sprinkler system. However, if your system breaks or you water it too much, you’re going to get lawn floods like the ones described here. Soggy grass IS a big problem if it goes unchecked because it can grow fungus or ‘drown.’ Too little or too much water can kill your grass.

  2. emily bennette October 7, 2016 at 4:50 am - Reply

    This is some really good information about irrigation systems. I like that you talked about how you should get your system looked at if you notice that your lawn has some pooling water. I would probably just ignore something like that and as a new homeowner, I should probably stop doing that.

  3. Kenneth Gladman October 7, 2016 at 8:40 pm - Reply

    It is important to pay attention to these signs. Sometimes the soggy grass can be difficult to detect on small leaks. I would also check your water bill periodically to watch for changes in your bill payments.

  4. Erika Brady October 10, 2016 at 5:44 pm - Reply

    There is one spot on my lawn in particular that has been very soggy the past couple of days every time I go outside. I didn’t think too much of it, but because it has not gone away I am thinking I need to get it checked out. I will need to have the professionals come take a look at my sprinklers and see if they can tell me what happened!

  5. Jon Lopez October 17, 2016 at 4:32 pm - Reply

    My driveway is always really wet after the sprinklers are on. I had no idea that could mean my sprinklers are broken. I’ll have to get someone out here to check on my irrigation system.

  6. john Mahoney November 21, 2016 at 11:05 pm - Reply

    I am having trouble with my new sprinkler system. I didn’t realize that if there are brown spots between sprinklers or if the ground is soggy that you need to align or check your system. It might also be a good idea to ask your friends or even a professional for tips.

  7. Danni Black November 28, 2016 at 6:39 pm - Reply

    We have been thinking that our irrigation system is out of date. There are a lot of spots that are leaking. We are most likely going to be getting a new system in the next few weeks so we will have to keep these tips in mind for the future, thank you for sharing.

  8. Deedee Lewis December 8, 2016 at 12:24 am - Reply

    I have had soggy spots in my lawn before but I never equated it to a malfunctioning in my sprinkler system. I will have to check for muddy spots even after the weather is dry next time. It’s informative to know that soggy spots could cause a damage in my grass because that’s something I definitely need to be aware of.

  9. Georgia B December 13, 2016 at 10:04 pm - Reply

    I’m glad you mention brown spots as a sign that the sprinkler system needs repair! I’ve been noticing a couple of brown spots popping up in my yard and have been attributing it to disease. However, I may have to get a repair service in to see if it actually has to do with my sprinkler system!

  10. Dave Anderson January 9, 2017 at 7:27 pm - Reply

    I think that it is very important to make sure that your sprinkler system is working correctly for multiple reasons. One of the reasons is because in many places there are droughts and if you have a leak in your sprinkler system you can potentially be wasting a lot of water that can be used for other things. Also, If your sprinkler system is not working correctly then you will not have a good looking lawn and you could end up killing plants or trees.

  11. Lillian Schaeffer February 16, 2017 at 5:40 pm - Reply

    This is some great information, and I appreciate your point that soggy areas in your lawn can indicate a sprinkler leak. The area around my back door has been kind of muddy and soggy, and I thought it was just from the rain, but it’s been a few days since we last had a storm and the spot is still there. I’ll definitely look into having a professional come and check the irrigation system to see if we have a leak somewhere.

  12. Nellie March 2, 2017 at 6:22 am - Reply

    Concrete is always wet around my sprinkler. So, definitely mu sprinkler system Has Sprung a Leak. Now please give me advice what should I do to avoid this problem. I can’t change whole sprinkler system.

    • Sean Mullarkey July 16, 2017 at 12:20 pm

      Well, it depends on what always means, if it is wet even after two days with the sprinklers not running then you have a weeping valve and your control valve for that zone will need to be cleaned or repaired. If it stays wet for several hours after you stop watering then you might have low head drainage and just need to fit the sprinkler with a check valve to keep the water in the pipes from slowly draining out that sprinkler head.

  13. Rachel Lannister March 2, 2017 at 9:23 pm - Reply

    You wrote in your post that if you notice brown spots in your lawn, it could be because your sprinklers aren’t properly watering your lawn. Every year I have this area in my backyard that gets rather brown, and I wondered what the issue was. I’ll have to have a good service come out and see if any adjustments are necessary, so that I can get a nice green lawn again.

    • Sean Mullarkey July 16, 2017 at 12:14 pm

      Sometimes we have seen isolated areas that get brown and when we explore the soil profile we have found rock and or gravel under the grass left from construction so chack for that as well.

  14. Braden Bills March 9, 2017 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    I’ve noticed that the water around my sprinkler systems is soggy. I didn’t know that it could be a leak! I’ll hire someone to come in and fix it for me.

  15. Maxine Wilson May 2, 2017 at 8:15 pm - Reply

    I didn’t realize that brown spots in your yard could mean that your sprinkler system could have a leak. We have lots of big brown spots in our backyard, and last year we never had a problem with that. We could very well have a leak! I guess it may not be a leak, but possibly just misaligned.

    • Sean Mullarkey July 16, 2017 at 12:10 pm

      Could also be a turf disease. Last year we saw a lot of brown spots that were caused by a disease.

  16. Scott Adams June 22, 2017 at 8:59 pm - Reply

    I’m glad you mentioned that your sidewalk shouldn’t be wet. I have noticed water flowing on my cement recently. I’ll have to call a repair service, if wet pavement means the system isn’t working. Thanks for the information!

    • Sean Mullarkey July 16, 2017 at 12:08 pm

      If water is only running over walk when the zone is on you might not have a problem but if it is constantly wet then you have a leak of some sort.

  17. Sandra Hexner July 14, 2017 at 4:50 pm - Reply

    Thank you for all this great information about sprinkler system leaks! I really like your point that there is a spot that is always soggy and for some reason it stays wet even if it’s dry weather, there must be a leak of some sort. This is exactly what’s going on in our lawn and I’ll be calling a professional sprinkler specialist and maybe they can help with maintenance as well.

    • Sean Mullarkey July 16, 2017 at 12:07 pm

      I hope you are able to find and get your leak repaired, thanks for your comment.

  18. Braden Bills September 28, 2017 at 2:03 pm - Reply

    I noticed that a good amount of my grass is soggy. It makes sense that it would be a broken sprinkler head! Maybe it would be a good idea for me to get a professional to take a look at it for me.

  19. Deb Pearl September 29, 2017 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    My husband and I just recently got a sprinkler system installed in our yard and I would love to know the signs to watch for if we have a leak or a problem with it. I didn’t know that brown spots could be a sign that things aren’t working well. I will keep a look out for any of those signs! Thanks for the tips!

  20. Georgia B April 26, 2018 at 11:44 pm - Reply

    Thanks for mentioning that soggy grass could be a sign of a leaky sprinkler system! My husband recently noticed a patch of our lawn that seems really muddy. I’ll definitely call a repair service to come take a look at our sprinkler system and see if it needs work!

  21. Ellen H. October 27, 2018 at 5:33 am - Reply

    You got my attention when you said that you should consider having your sprinkler repaired if you notice that there are areas in your lawn that remain muddy no matter how dry the weather is. Our water bill has been spiking since the other month. I checked our lawn and was surprised to see a flooded area. I’ll make sure to consider all your tips.

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