Santa Barbara Irrigation Systems; Shut off Valves are Important!

Santa Barbara Irrigation Leaks

Irrigation leaks in your yard? No shut off valves? You’re not alone. These past few weeks we’ve been working to pinpoint several Santa Barbara irrigation leaks on estates throughout the county. From lavish mansions in Montecito to working farms in Summerland, they all have the same problem; Long irrigation lines with several, small, pesky holes. These are all easy fixes, but difficult leak locates. This is all because of the scope of the property and the path of the pipe. There is an endless area to search and few people remember the complete run of their irrigation sysetm. So without further ado, we hope to share a few irrigation leak detection tips for our Santa Barbara friends. Keep your water bills down!

Know the Path of Your Pipe

It sounds obvious, but few Santa Barbara estates retain their original irrigation system outline. Keep your estate’s plans! Things change. A line gets added here. A hose bib is buried over. It is amazing how quickly a garden can slip away. On one particular Summerland estate, five gardeners were working independently. Each had their own take on how the irrigation system ran and the leak was on a hose bib no-one knew existed. Even if you start today, you could keep tabs on something totally hidden five years from now.

Make Your Own Map

Even if you have to do it yourself, a good map is priceless. Walk your yard. Be sure to note every hose bib and irrigation box throughout it. Sketch these points in relation to your home and connect the dots between them. If it seems like two dots don’t readily connect, look closer. There could be a hidden hose bib or irrigation box. Any missed item can potentially shield a leaking pipe forever.

Install Shut off Valves

In Santa Barbara, shut off valves are essential. They can instantly isolate a leak. Almost everyone has one installed on their house. However big estates, being bigger, will need more. Farms will need more. Ideally one should be installed for each section of your property. We recommend installing a shutoff valve every time the pipe goes from indoor to outdoor or branches out to an entirely new area (tennis courts, guest houses, front gates, etc).
You can use any exposed section of pipe. This valve is a relatively easy install and will take an experienced plumber only 1 to 2 hours. There have been countless homes throughout Santa Barbara County that have required us to install a shut off on the main line before we can continue. While we’re happy to do it, it’s easier on everyone to have it done ahead of time.

irrigation leak at the shut off valve in Santa Barbara
Irrigation leak at the shut off valve in Santa Barbara

Test Your Meter Regularly

Although unusual, there have been Santa Barbara Water meters inaccurately measuring water. It’s rare, but does happen. If you have any suspicion, we recommend testing it with a five gallon bucket. Make sure you’re not using any other water. Fill this bucket to the brim and check the meter read out before and after. If your meter doesn’t register a 5 gallon loss exactly, you have a problem. If you are worried your meter isn’t reading correctly, call the Santa Barbara water district.

We hope these tips help you keep your Santa Barbara estate in check. It’s important to tackle those pesky irrigation leaks when they arise. California cannot afford to lose any more water. Even a small leak can cost upwards of $1000 a day. Good luck and keep those water bills down!

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