How to Repair an Irrigation System


Automated irrigation systems are used to regulate the watering of landscape and garden plants. Irrigation systems can be buried under the earth, as is the case with drip irrigation systems, or above ground using sprinkler heads or drip hoses. A leaking system will cause damage to plants by flooding the soil, removing topsoil through runoff, or from a lack of water reaching the plants. Repairing an irrigation system requires inspecting the system, locating the leak and patching as required.

Step 1

Inspect the sprinkler, if your irrigation system has them, looking for dirt or debris that is clogging the head, or damage to the sprinkler head. According to the University of Florida, the two types of sprinkler spray heads are sprays and rotors, a spray head having a fixed head that does not rotate while the rotor does. Inspect the action of the rotor to ensure it is not getting stuck anywhere in the rotation.

Step 2

Rinse the sprinkler head to clear dirt away, unscrewing the top of the spray head and running it under a tap until debris is cleared. Remove the internal components of a rotor head and rinse the filter thoroughly. Test the system after checking the heads.

Step 3

Look over the soil for large puddles of water, or heavily drenched areas when dealing with an underground system. This will indicate a leak. Dig into the soil until the drip hose is uncovered. Locate the section that is leaking and cut it away, making a clean cut on each side of the leak.

Step 4

Measure the new piece of drip irrigation tubing against the old piece cut away. Cut a new section equal in length. Attach the plastic elbow pieces to the new section of hose and attach them to each side of the irrigation hose underground. Turn on the system and test for leaks from the patch. Bury the hose once inspection is complete.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Knife
  • Drip irrigation tubing
  • Plastic elbow


  • Oregon State University: Drip Irrigation: An Introduction
  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Basic Repairs and Maintenance for Home Landscape Irrigation Systems
  • Oregon State University: Irrigation System Walk-through Inspection Analysis

Who Can Help

  • Irrigation Tutorials
Keywords: irrigation system, irrigation system troubleshooting, irrigation troubleshooting repair

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.