|My TM8 Timer is reducing pressure in the system
||If your drip system is running on reduced pressure when you add a TM8 Digital Timer, make sure that the timer is the first component attached to the bib faucet. If your V4HD anti-syphon valve is first and above the TM8, the screen in the inlet of the TM8 can press against the lever in the bottom of the V4HD, cutting pressure to the system. You can also turn the screen in the top of the TM8 over so that the screen will not interfere with the V4HD.
|How do I install compression fittings easily?
||Use heat. Pour some boiling water over the tubing and then twist the compression fitting back and forth to push it onto the tubing. It's difficult to install compression fittings if the tubing is cold and stiff. We pour some boiling water into an old vacuum thermos to take when installing. We loosen the lid and pour enough hot water on the end of the tubing to soften it. Make a mark with some chalk or crayon on the tubing so that you can see when the tubing is inserted about 3/4 inch into the fitting.
|How do I
tell if my drippers are delivering the right amount of water?
||Leave the tubing in place and dig a hole in the soil
under one dripper large enough to put a coffee can or something similar
to catch the total flow from the dripper. Make sure that all the water
from the dripper goes into the collection container and does not run
down the tubing. You may have to twist the tubing to get the dripper
pointed down. Measure
of water in the container after a specific length of time irrigating. You should
have the same amount of water delivered as listed in the description
of the dripper or dripline, for example one gallon for a D4 dripper
which is rated at one gallon per hour.
are not delivering enough water. What now?
||If you are losing pressure at the drippers, it can
be dirt in the tubing, a kink or a break in tubing that is losing system pressure. It can also be too many drippers
on one circuit. If you are installing a large
the system one part at a time. Flush and test the first section or
circuit before you go on to the next, especially if it's your first
time installing. If you have installed a large system and have pressure
problems, it's best to go back to basics. Isolate the first row, get
it to work properly and then move on adding more rows. If you add too
many rows to the circuit and the pressure drops, it's easy to back
up in steps until the circuit is working properly.
|Will a little dirt
hurt my drip system?
||Dirt is the enemy, it can plug drippers and sprinklers.
When installing tubing, cover the open ends with tape until you are
ready to join parts. Flush the head assembly after assembling the
parts, flush the mainline when it's installed and flush the entire
system before closing the ends and pressurizing the system. Each spring,
open the ends and flush the system to get rid of fine sediment that
accumulates. Keep drippers and the open ends of small diameter tubing
above the mud or muddy water. If dirt gets in, it's hard work to get
it out. If you keep dirt out of your system,
you will have few problems.
I turn my drip system on by hand each day?
||Yes, of course. Especially if you work in the garden
every day and make it a part of your routine. But if you are like the
rest of us who are busy enough to forget, we recommend adding an
automatic digital timer. When you water by hand, if you forget to turn off the drip system,
you may end up wasting water and inducing runoff while it runs for
a day or more. If you forget to start it on a hot day, your plants
not enough water. With an automatic timer, plants become acclimated to a precisely delivered
drink of water on a regular schedule. Use a digital
timer and you do not have to remember to start and stop the system,
and your plants will grow at their maximum rate.
|Can I join pipe
threads and hose threads together?
||No. If you try to join hose and pipe threads, one set
of threads will strip and the connection will leak. If you have the
two thread types in front of you, the coarser thread is the hose thread.
finer thread is the pipe thread. If you need to join them, use adaptors
to make the conversion. We offer many adaptors in our online drip
irrigation store under Fittings.
Hose threads are always 3/4". Pipe threads
threads to keep them leak free. You don't need to add any teflon tape
to hose threads since there should always be a rubber washer to seal
the joint. An example is your
garden hose which is always hose thread.
In our online store, we
mark each part with an icon to show whether it is pipe threads or
hose threads .
|My TM8 timer won't
shut off at the end of a manual cycle
||If the water pressure is greater than 80 PSI, the valve
cannot close. The solution is to have your building staff or a plumber
reduce the water pressure to 50 or 60 PSI at the faucet, closer
pressure. Avoid trying to place the pressure regulator ahead of the
timer to fix the problem. That would cause the regulator to wear out
prematurely. Pressures higher than 80
PSI are common in hi-rise buildings.
is having programmed cycles turned on at the same time that you
have keyed in a manual cycle to open and close. Check your programmed
through the setup procedure.
|Can you look over
my order to see if I have missed anything?
||If you are not sure that you are ordering the right parts
from our online store, mention to us in the Comment
section of the Checkout that we should hold the order and check it.
If you give us an idea of what you are trying to accomplish, we will
look over the order and suggest parts that may be needed. Many times
to complete the job.
|Do I need to use
teflon tape on the threads?
||There are two types of threads on drip irrigation equipment,
hose thread and pipe thread. Hose thread is the coarser of the two.
If you try to join hose and pipe threads, one of them will strip out.
On hose threads, no silicone tape and no sealants are required and
almost all of our items are hose
threads, a good example is your garden hose. You never need to use
tools on our drip irrigation fittings. Hand-tighten only. Small
common with drip irrigation fittings,
no matter how
tight, one reason they should never be used indoors. On items with
pipe threads, use three wraps of teflon pipe thread tape from our online
store for irrigation products.
|Is drip irrigation
suitable for prairie farm shelterbelts?
||Drip irrigation is ideal for starting and growing shelterbelts.
Once the trees are mature, drip may no longer be needed except in
very dry regions. Wind has no effect on drip irrigation and you can
save up to 50% water compared to sprinklers. Drip is easy to automate
and divide into a number of circuits that turn on at different times
of day. That takes the load off pumps and low-recovery wells. Drip
irrigation also encourages deep roots necessary for shelterbelts.
|How does a
slight change in elevation affect a drip circuit?
||Try to keep the supply tubing for a drip irrigation
system at the high point of a slope. Any time that water has to be
pushed uphill, water pressure is lost and the branch lines must be
shorter to compensate. If water runs down a slope, you can extend
the length of the circuit because gravity is compensating for some
friction loss in the tubing. A 5 foot elevation change in a yard won't
matter much but anything more will make a difference with irrigation
systems. Always use pressure-compensating drippers if you have changes
in elevation on the site over 5 feet.
|How do soaker
hoses compare to dripline?
||Soaker hoses work but it's difficult to control the
rate of flow. Dripline has a very slow and exact rate of flow for better
water to root depth. Soaker hoses come in fixed lengths that are difficult
to fit to various garden beds. In contrast, it's easy to cut and fit
dripline to any shape bed using fittings for corners and connections.
Dripline can also be integrated with other drippers and sprayers on
the same circuit. Dripline has a turbulent flow at each dripper that
reduces clogging from silt.
for clogging and uneven distribution of water is the result.
|Is drip irrigation
OK for low-pressure gravity-fed water systems?
||Yes, but choose non-compensating drippers and dripline
if the water pressure is less than 10 PSI. Pressure-compensating drippers
require about 8 PSI to open but our flag drippers (D2) will
4 PSI and are best for low-pressure water systems.
non-pressure compensating and suitable for gravity systems. Experiment to see what your gravity system can irrigate. Attach
up to 30 drippers on the system and note the flow from each. Attach
another 30 and see if the flow rate is significantly lower. Adding
and testing is the best way to see if the pressure is degrading, common
to very low pressure systems.
|Will drip irrigation
work on hillsides?
||Yes. Because drip irrigation delivers a slow trickle
of water to the roots, problems with runoff, erosion and uneven distribution
can be eliminated. Be sure to use pressure-compensating drippers such as our D4, D5, D6 or D7 that
deliver a precise amount of water at the varying pressures found in
a hillside system. Keep all drippers slightly uphill of the plants
they serve. Air relief valves may be installed at high points to avoid
be supplied to the system at the top of the hill and allowed to flow
through branch tubing on the way down the irrigation systems. See the How-To
article for more.
|Can I increase crop
yield with drip irrigation?
||Yes. Drip irrigation provides a consistent supply of
water to the entire root area on a continuous basis so that "drench
and dry-out" stresses are reduced. Root growth is encouraged and the
result is a healthier plant at the fruiting stage and greater resistance
to disease and pests. Drip irrigation keeps the leaves dry and can
reduce fungus and mold problems. Consistent soil moisture
maximizes growth at early stages and can result in early flowering.
|How much water
can I save with drip irrigation?
||Drip irrigation saves up to 50% compared with sprinklers.
The higher a sprinkler throws water, the greater the loss to evaporation
Sprinklers wet the surface quickly and when the soil surface is saturated,
puddles form. As the puddles grow, water can flow downhill and cause
runoff and erosion even though the subsurface may still be dry. Sprinklers
often distribute the water unevenly with some areas too wet and others
dry. Drip irrigation solves the problem by delivering water slowly
and under control to a precise area at the roots, with no appreciable
loss to evaporation and none to overspray, runoff or erosion.
I bury tubing under a sidewalk?
||Carefully strip the lawn back and dig a hole about 12"
deep on both sides of the sidewalk where you wish to cross under. Slip
a 36" length of rigid steel pipe a bit larger than the garden hose.
Turn on the water and let the garden hose in the steel pipe flush a
hole through the soil under the sidewalk using high water pressure.
It's a messy job but all you need to do is apply steady pressure and
the water will do the work. Work from both sides if you can. When the
hole is complete, cap the tubing to keep out dirt and slide it through.
Replace the dirt and lawn with the turf you removed.
|What are the
disadvantages of drip irrigation?
||Drip irrigation is not suitable for watering large areas
such as lawns. It operates so quietly that you have to check drippers
to see if it is on. Small openings in dripline and drippers can clog
with algae, silt or mineral deposits if there is insufficient filtration
or a dirty water source. If the system is not buried, vandalism or
damage by animals can be a problem.
should my drip irrigation be turned on?
||That will depend on your soil. Sandy soils drain quickly, you will need to water more frequently and at a higher rate of flow
so that the water wets the largest possible horizontal area. Clay soils
need a slower rate of flow so that the water can penetrate down to
the roots. Clay soils hold moisture longer so that you may only
have to turn the circuit on every other day. Greenhouse operators turn
on small quantities of water as often as every hour during the middle
of the day. In all cases, do not allow the soil to dry out. The soil
damp for maximum growth and fruit. See the How-To
|How long should
I keep the drip circuit turned on?
||For most plants, 45 minutes to one hour is time enough. If you keep the circuit turned on longer than
that, gravity's pull on the water will make it flow down below the
roots and the water is wasted. Of course, if you are watering trees
with deep roots, it may take longer to wet the entire root
area. Dig down to see. In hot weather, drip irrigate more often rather
than for a longer period of time.
|There is only
a small wet area at each dripper, is it working OK?
||Yes, that's the beauty of drip irrigation. The surface
of the soil stays relatively dry, but if you dig down, you will
see that an entire soil area from 18" to 36" wide and
up to 24" deep will be wet. The drip irrigation water flows
down and out by capillary action. And at such a slow rate that
air is maintained in the soil unlike other irrigation methods that
saturate the soil. Plant roots can be stressed if the soil is completely
saturated with water. An added benefit of the dry
surface is that you are not watering all the weeds nearby.
|Why do I need
drip irrigation when there is enough rain?
||If you live in a coastal area with regular rain through
the growing season, rain may be enough. But for all the rest of
us, we have rainy periods and dry periods and it only takes a couple
of dry spells to stress our plants. Plants prefer a regular drink
of water, especially during early root and leaf growth and again
while setting fruit. Plants irrigated by drip develop deeper, stronger
roots, grow faster and develop more fruit than plants that suffer
the drench and dryout cycle of seasonal rains. It's all a matter
of giving the plants what they need, a regular and dependable drink
of water at the roots.
|My 1/2 inch tubing kinked
when laying it out. Is that a problem?
||No problem. We have tested our 1/2 inch tubing by
kinking it 180 degrees at the same spot for 200 times with no visible
weakening or splitting. So you could kink it repeatedly without
The only thing you have to do is make sure that the kink is straightened
out before you turn on the water. Water will not pass through a
kink in the tubing. Especially important if you are burying the
tubing. Always use elbow or tee fittings when going around sharp
corners with tubing.
|Will my drip
irrigation system take frost?
||The tubing is not harmed by frost - it can stretch.
But all the timers, fittings and connectors are rigid plastic and
if water remains at the fittings when it freezes, the expansion
of the water (ice) can break them. The best method is to drain
all drip irrigation lines before frost. Battery operated timers
should be brought indoors over the winter and the batteries removed.
You can leave all tubing and fittings in place in the garden during
freezing weather. Just make sure that the system is completely
|How long will
my drip irrigation system last?
||The service life of drip irrigation parts is determined
by exposure to UV radiation from the sun. All the parts we offer
are commercial grade and are designed to stay outdoors all year
round. Our heavywall tubing has UV blocking ingredients and should last at
least five to seven years in the most severe sunlight and twice
as long if covered with mulch. Fittings and drippers should last at least as
long. Snow cover in the winter can shield parts from the sun. Plant
growth in the summer can shade parts and extend their life. There
are small passageways in drippers, sprinklers and dripline. Always
use a filter to keep sediment from clogging parts and avoid extremely
hard water that may leave deposits in the system.
use drip irrigation indoors?
||No, drip irrigation parts are only meant to be used
outdoors where a small leak will do no harm. Any indoor watering
system should be installed by a licensed plumber and may require
building permits and inspections as well as pressure testing at
rates too high for drip irrigation equipment.
|How do I
uncurl my roll of tubing?
||Leave the entire coil in the sun to warm up before
you try to unroll it. Trap one end of the tubing under a fence
or a heavy object and roll out the tubing on your lawn in the same
way that the tubing was rolled in the factory. Leave any curls
and avoid trying to straighten the
sun for a while. It will relax and begin to straighten. You may
have to use shepard stakes to keep it in place in the garden but
within a few days, the tubing will relax and conform to the shape
of the ground. If the tubing kinks as you try to straighten it,
don't worry, kinks will
Water will not flow through a kink so be sure to use elbows or
tee fittings to go around corners.
|How do I
insert barbed connection fittings into tubing?
||In cool weather, pour hot water (140 degrees F)
on the end of the tubing to soften it. Then the barbed insert will
be easy to insert. We use an old thermos full of hot water but
an old bucket would work well. As soon as the cold water flows
through the connection, the tubing will shrink to a fit so tight
that you should not be able to pull it apart. Push the fitting
into the tubing past all barbs for maximum strength.
|How do I get
rid of hard water deposits?
||Avoid very hard water if you can. Mineral deposits
can build up in the small openings in drippers and other parts.
Otherwise, you can soak parts in vinegar or a similar acid to remove
hard water deposits. Leave overnight and rinse clean. Hard water deposits form when water dries. If you keep the drip parts shaded and wet continuously, deposits have less chance to form. Mulch can help keep the parts wet.
Punch sometimes fails to cut a clean hole
||If you try to cut a hole slowly, the tubing sometimes
has time to distort and flatten under the pressure. The secret
is to squeeze the handle quickly. Try it on a scrap piece of tubing
first. Practice makes perfect. You'll notice that the cutter removes
each cut plug of tubing and passes it out the top of the punch
- very ingenious and keeps the waste plug out of the tubing.
I use sprayers instead of drippers?
||Use drippers if you can. They are more efficient
and don't wet the leaves. But if you need to keep the surface of
the soil damp or if you wish to keep the foliage wet, use sprayers.
Or if the plants are planted very close in a bed, sometimes a sprayer
is easier to add than dripline. Our sprayers are easy to move and
they are quiet. It's easy to irrigate odd-shaped beds accurately
and the radius of spray can be adjusted. The droplets
are smaller than those from a regular high-pressure yard sprinkler
and will absorb easily into the soil.
enough room under the faucet to hang all the drip parts.
||You can add a length of garden hose to the faucet
and then add the drip irrigation parts to the end of the hose,
close to where the circuit will start. You could simply lay the
drip parts on the ground but usually it's better to make a standpipe
to attach the parts and keep them off the ground. We have a tutorial
on building a standpipe in the How-To pages.