Sealing broken sprinkler system pipe

I have a sprinkler system in my from lawn. I’m in the process of getting rid of the grass and going to low-water landscaping. I was changing one of the sprinkler heads so it would only spray the remaining grass and not the new landscaping, and I must have inadvertently cracked a pipe, and now water is bubbling up from undergrouns.

This pipe can be completely sealed off–it went to a sprinkler head that never worked anyway. My question is, how do I do it? My notion is to use a Sawzall or something to cut the pipe, then jam something in to prevent water coming out. I’m wondering if there’s some kind of self-tapping plug I can screw into the pipe end? Or is there some kind of wet-setting epoxy that is strong enough to hold under pressure?

Thank you in advance for your help.

If it is made of PVC, you can buy caps for the various pipe sizes. It can be installed either on the cut off stub of the riser, or on the horizontal part of the piping system. Very easy…in fact you can take out the old riser and put in a threaded short riser - add a threaded cap, and you will be able to reactivate the system in the future if needed.

Unfortunately it’s metal.

Does it screw in, or is it soldered? I’ve cracked more PVC pipe than I care to remember. The way mine works is a vertical piece screwed into a connector which connects the horizontal pipes. You’re going to have to dig around the leak to find it, which will tell you what is possible. If it is really metal pipe I can’t imagine how you could have broken it - maybe you unscrewed it inadvertently, which will look like a leak.
The hardware store sells PVC cutters and repair kits. When you find out what happened, maybe you can find a metal pipe repair kit.

It must be quite old. Existing lines are broken all the time when installing underground utilities and repair is typically done like so: find the leaking area and cut it out. Clean the ends of the existing pipe, measure, cut a new piece and put rubber couplings on the ends of it. Fit it on and tighten the clamps. You might want to consider replacing the system with pvc if the whole thing is old and deteriorating.

Get a dresser coupling of the appropriate size, a 4 inch long nipple and a cap. Cut the pipe wherever you need then cap it off with those parts.

Self-tapping seems too unreliable, When you apply so much force that the self-tapping works, it may well crack or tear the pipe. But it is possible to fit a termination onto copper pipe…

Well, yeah my grandad would have just hacked up a piece of wood to be cylindrical enough, covered it with sealant, and hammered it into the end. That would last ten years wouldn’t it ?

Is it copper ? hammer it flat, put some sealant inside, and hammer it flat and fold it , or roll the end… you have some length to try again when it fails.

There’s all sorts of other ways given this is only irrigation use and outside… Eg fitting a hose over the end , with some sealant inside, and using a hose clamp to clamp the hose down onto the metal. Then the hose can be terminated somewhow… Generally fold it over and it seals off,right :slight_smile:

The pipes are iron, they’re incredibly rusty and irregular now–that’s why I first went with the idea f putting something inside. But I like the hose/hose clamp/seal hose solution, that might work.

I don’t want to replace the irrigation system because I’m in the process of getting rid of what I need it for–i.e., the grass. I do have a drip system connected to a couple risers, and I suppose some day that will fail, but for now the old system is fine–if I can seal that leak.

You can also use pvc or hdpe if you can find a piece that fits over the ends of the existing pipe snugly. You still use the rubber couplings.

If you know how the pipe is routed underground, you could go to the nearest joint or fitting, dig it out, unscrew the “downstream” pipe that’s broken and screw in a cap or plug. The risk here is that everything is old, brittle and rusty, so you might end up cracking something else.

As it sounds like the underground pipe’s days are numbered, it’s probably simpler to dig out the section that’s leaking, clean off the pipe and if it’s just a small hole, put a pipe repair clamp on the leak.

If the leak is large or otherwise not fixable with one fo those clamps, you might be able to entomb it in hydraulic cement. It’s not a forever fix, but it should last long enough until you get the xeriscaping established.

Thanks, gotpasswords, those sound like good options.

Last time I had a plumber in the house, he used a thing called a “sharkbite” fitting to connect two iron pipes. They’re expensive, but they don’t require any threading of the pipe; you essentially just push it onto the pipe and tighten it a bit.