While digging in the yard I came across 2 PVC pipes. I broke one of them. I then ran the irrigation and discovered that (luckily) the one that I broke is old and no longer in use. The other I don't know about.

How do I test or discover if that pipe is still used by the irrigation system or is also an old unused one. I know that one answer would be to also break that pipe and run the irrigation again. For obvious reasons I don't want to do that.

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  • Hard to get a sense of scale, but those look more like sewer or drainage pipes if the greenish color is not a camera artifact. If they are actually gray, look for wires in the broken one. – Ecnerwal Dec 9 '16 at 19:19
  • The broken pipe to me does look like thinwall irrigation pipe, is it just over an inch in diameter. As far as figuring out if the other in use feel it with the system running. It will either be a station in that area, or a main feeder which in that case you would need to select a downstream station to be able to feel the water flowing thru. Temp and slight vibration is what your feeling for. – Tyson Dec 9 '16 at 19:49
  • They're 1 inch PVC pipes. There is a larger sewer PVC pipe somewhere in the area that I hope I never break. I did try that @Tyson and couldn't feel anything but am skeptical. – Guy Dec 9 '16 at 20:01
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    Sewer pipes are generally far deeper and thick walled. Only irrigation pipe is that thinwall. I was actually going to suggest a stethoscope, we actually have a cheapy one around the house, but I'm guessing that's not common. – Tyson Dec 9 '16 at 20:06
  • Tyson has the right idea, put your ear to the pipe and listen while the water is flowing. – Preston S Dec 9 '16 at 21:53

Maybe pour some warm water around the uncertain pipe and run your irrigation system again and see if the colder irrigation water cools down the pipe in question, or if the pipe stays warm, indicating no water flow?


The pipe you broke, good practice is to carefully see if there are any wires in it. Either irrigation controller wires or dangerous house voltage wires.

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