Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Why Every Drip Irrigation System Needs a Pressure Regulator

Homeowners frequently ask why we recommend a pressure regulator on every drip system.  “I have lots of pressure at my house so why should I spend an extra $10-$15 for some pressure reducer thingie?” There’s a very good reason why a pressure reducer should part of every drip irrigation system.

      House Water Pressure Versus Drip System Water Pressure
Water pressure in Santa Fe homes is generally between 60 and 110 pounds.  However,
drip irrigation systems are designed to operate accurately at between 30 and 15 pounds of pressure. Drippers and sprayers emit the correct amount of water only between these pressures, and the tubing and fittings are designed for this pressure range.

Excess pressure can cause fittings to come loose or pop off, emitters to put out too much water, and sprayers to produce a mist that blows away.

             Can’t I Just Open The Faucet Part Way To Keep The Pressure Down?

In a word, NO!  Water pressure and water volume are two interrelated but different measurements. When the faucet only open part way, the gallons per minute is reduced, but the pressure behind it is still the same 60 pounds. Instead of 5 to 9 gallons per minute at 60 pounds, you will just have 2 to 4 gallons per minute at 60 pounds. Therefore, once the line in the yard fills with water, the pressure inside the line will still be close to 60 pounds.  To hold back the water with your hand over the end of the faucet, you would still have to apply the same 60 pounds of pressure to stop the water.

If there are enough drip emitters and sprayers on the line to use up the reduced gallons, then turning the faucet down will result in “starving” of some of your emitters. Without enough water in the line to serve all the emitters, some plants will not get the water you were expecting them to receive.

                                    The Right Way Is Always The Best Way

Use a pressure regulator to reduce water pressure down to the range that the system is designed for.  Operate your drip system with the faucet all the way open to insure enough flow to serve all the emitters on the line.

Keep in mind that even though a fully open faucet can flow up to 300gph, you will only use as much water as your emitters call for.  50 two gallon emitters will only use 100 gallons per hour.

The Firebird carries a full selection of pressure regulators to meet any need.  We offer professional grade pressure regulators by Senninger Irrigation, a global supplier of irrigation tools for agriculture, mining, dairy, effluent, and wastewater industries.