Repairing a Lawn Sprinkler Poly Line Break or Leak

Polyethylene (poly) pipe is commonly used in residential lawn sprinkler systems because of its flexibility and resistance to most soil chemicals. Like any other system, however, it can break or develop a leak over time due to wear and tear, ground shifting, or accidental damage. Repairing these leaks or breaks is essential to maintain the efficiency of your irrigation system and conserve water. Here’s a step-by-step guide to fixing a poly line break or leak.

Materials and Tools:

  • Shovel
  • Replacement poly pipe (of the same diameter as the broken section)
  • Pipe cutter or sharp knife
  • Barbed fittings or compression fittings
  • Stainless steel hose clamps
  • Wrench
  • Pipe couplings (if needed)
  • Teflon tape
  • Clean cloth


  1. Locate the Break or Leak Begin by identifying the exact location of the leak or break. If there’s water pooling at a certain point in your yard when the system is active, that’s a good starting point.
  2. Excavate the Area. Using the shovel, carefully dig around the damaged pipe section. Ensure you create enough space to work comfortably without causing more damage.
  3. Drain Water and Clean the Area Turn off the sprinkler system and let the water drain out of the exposed pipe. Clean the Area around the break to ensure no dirt gets into the line during repair.
  4. Cut Out the Damaged Section Using the pipe cutter or a sharp knife, cut out the damaged section of the pipe. Ensure the cuts are straight and smooth to facilitate a better fit for the coupling.
  5. Install the Replacement Section
    • For Barbed Fittings:
      • Slide a hose clamp onto each end of the existing pipe.
      • Push the barbed fitting into the existing line on both sides.
      • Slide the hose clamps over the barbed sections and tighten them with a wrench.
    • For Compression Fittings:
      • Slide the compression nuts onto each end of the existing pipe, followed by the rubber gaskets.
      • Insert the replacement pipe section between the cut sections of the existing pipe.
      • Slide the compression fitting onto the pipe ends and tighten the compression nuts.

    If using a simple coupling without a gasket, wrap Teflon tape around the threads to ensure a watertight seal.

  6. Check for Leaks Turn on the sprinkler system and inspect the repaired section for any signs of leaks. If water seeps out, ensure the fittings are correctly tightened or seated.
  7. Backfill the Excavated Area Once you’re sure the repair is successful, carefully backfill the excavated Area. Make sure not to put too much pressure on the repaired section while doing so.
  8. Monitor Over Time Keep an eye on the repaired Area for the next few days to ensure no leaks develop. An adequately fixed poly line should last for several years.


Maintaining a properly functioning sprinkler system ensures efficient water use and keeps your lawn looking its best. Regular inspections can help you catch and repair minor damages before they become significant issues. Always opt for quality repair materials, as they play a pivotal role in the longevity of the repair.