Drip System Explained!
The drip system consists of a main or supply line, that provides water to the valves.
A valve either automatic or manual controls when the watering will be supplied to the drip system.
The sprinkler clock/controller/timer provides automatic scheduling of watering. There are many different types and brands.
A pressure regulator is used to control pressure in the lines feeding the drip components. Desirable PSI allowed will vary from 20 PSI to 50 PSI normally depending on system components.
A filter to filter sand and debris from the water supply so as not to clog the emitters or micro sprays. The cap on the bottom is the flush point or you can unscrew the lower portion to clean the filter inside.
The lateral or supply line goes from the valve to the plants. This can be ½” ¾” or larger depending on the volume of water needed.
The Spaghetti tubing (¼” or 1/8”) is the small tubing that runs from the lateral drip line to the plant.
Emitters or micro sprays. These can be attached directly to lateral lines with spaghetti tubing ran to the plant or a spaghetti tube is attached to the lateral line and emitter is attached at the end of the spaghetti tube above ground near the plant.
End caps These are placed at the ends of the lateral line so lateral lines can be flushed out to clean lines of debris. There are also automatic drain valves that are used on end caps so system can self flush each time it runs.
Air vacuum relief valves . This is normally located at the highest point of the drip system. This valve allows air into the system when It shuts down so the emitters will not suck in the sand and debris as the water drains from the system.
The parts of the system that need routine maintenance:
Clean out the first month. Observe how much debris is in it. If there is just a light amount of debris, clean again at 6 months. If debris is heavy clean again in 30 days. Observe debris load and adjust cleaning intervals as needed.
If you do not have the self flushing type, follow recommendations for filter intervals. Is you have the self flushing type clean at 6 months. If debris is light, do yearly.
Air/Vacuum Relief Valve
This normally needs no maintenance. But sometimes they get a pebble or sand in them. This will cause water to spray out of them during operation. disassemble, clean parts and reassemble. Also sometimes they freeze and water sill spray from them. Run drip when not freezing.
Emitters and micro sprays.
During the season when in operation, walk your system weekly while it is operating and check that each emitter or micro spray is working. Sometimes they become clogged. Emitters can be removed from the tubing, and reinserted backwards while in operation and let water flow through to flush. Re-insert emitter in the proper orientation and check to see if flow is correct. If that does not correct it, replace emitter with same kind and color. Color indicates GPM, gallons per minute but might vary if a different brand is used. Always replace with the same GPM as the one you removed.
Check micro sprays to see if spraying correctly. Some micro sprays look like regular sprinkler heads and have filters in them. If they have filters, then remove, inspect and clean if necessary and re-assemble. If you have the type of micro sprays that do not have filters, remove from tubing and spray air through the orifice through which the water comes and reassemble. If still not operating correctly, replace.
While doing the weekly inspection of the system, look for holes or problems with the tubing. Often animals will chew on exposed tubing or birds will peck holes in it. Repair as needed.
The placement of emitters should be ¾ of the way between the trunk and the outer edge (also called drip line) of the plant. Also the plans matures, it will be necessary to add or increase the GPMs of emitters as needed and move the placement of the emitters out away from the trunk of the plant.