A drip irrigation system is becoming a popular choice amongst consumers. It conserves water and saves you money. Plus, you have little or no work to do when it comes to watering your property.

Yet, you’ve still got to do a few things to maintain your system and keep it in tip-top shape. In fact, a well-maintained system should last you for many years.

But what should you know? How do you maintain your drip irrigation system?

The good news: It’s not exactly hard work and it’s not super time-consuming, but it pays off in the long-run. Let’s take a look.

How Often Should You Check Your Drip Irrigation System?

The system doesn’t necessarily require weekly or daily checks. But you may want to consider checking it periodically to ensure it’s functioning optimally. For instance, look for spots that may have been overwatered or underwatered. These can provide key indicators on whether or not your system is working efficiently or not. It may also be a smart idea to check the system out before the hot summer season starts. Do a quick run-through every spring to ensure each part is functioning properly.

You’ll want to periodically look at the following parts of your irrigation system:

→ The Fittings. Are the connections secure at each valve control zone? If these are broken, water loss can happen quickly, costing you. Check them out to make sure they are secure.

→ The Filters. The right filter size and type matters. It’s a good idea to ensure these are right for your system. The filters help keep contaminants and dirt out of the system preventing blockages. They help ensure that your system lasts.

→ Check For Potential Leaks. This is where you’ll want to check the water distribution. If one spot seems overwatered, there may be a leak present. In conjunction with this, there is also usually a dry spot that isn’t getting water due to a leak further up the line.

→ Assess the Controller. Turn on the controller. Make sure all the valves are open. Then, make your rounds and check for leaks and adequate flow. Mark the leaks as you find them.

→ Check the Pressure. High pressure is the most common issue with drip irrigation system malfunctions. The average drip irrigation system operates at about 20-50 psi. How do you check this? Go around to each lateral drive. Make sure the pressure is within the right range.

Keep Extra Parts on Hand (Just in Case)

Keeping extra parts on hand guarantees that you can make the repair quickly and easily. It’s not particularly difficult to fix a drip irrigation system. And if you’ve got a few extra parts of common breakages, it can save you time and hassle, as well as provide an easy fix. Store a few parts in your shed or garage. When the time comes, you’ll be happy you did!

Cover Your Irrigation System Using Mulch

Sun and foot traffic may cause damage to the tubing of your system. To prevent cracks or sun damage, cover these tubings with mulch. It won’t only extend the life of your irrigation system, but will also improve the aesthetic look of your yard. Mulch also prevents water loss via evaporation.

Make a Checklist!

Make a checklist of items to assess periodically and actions to perform to ensure the optimal functioning of your drip irrigation system. Or use the one below:

→ Flush the system. If you don’t have a self-cleaning filter, this includes flushing the filter and the screen.

→ Check each part of the system separately. Turn on one part at a time. Is it functioning well? Is the flow good? Are there dry or super wet spots?

→ Check for damaged or clogged emitters, damaged or missing fittings, and kinked or damaged tubing.

→ If the emitter is clogged, soak it in vinegar.

→ Check the pressure!

→ Replace the damaged emitters or other parts.

→ Clean your drip system.

It doesn’t have to be complicated when it comes to taking proper care of your drip irrigation system. Remember, having an irrigation system is supposed to make your life easier. Make sure you’re maintaining yours properly today.

Resources:
https://www.gramacirrigation.com/irrigation-systems-north-carolina/maintaining-your-drip-irrigation-system/
http://www.groworganic.com/organic-gardening/articles/how-to-maintain-your-drip-irrigation-system
https://www.digcorp.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-maintain-your-drip-irrigation-system

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