Drip irrigation is an effective way to provide plants with water right where they need it, which allows you to conserve water in the landscaping. Some general maintenance is needed to keep the system running properly.
1. Filter Cleaning
Most drip systems have a filter just in front of the main control valve, which is designed to filter out any particles in the water that could clog the small system emitters. This filter should be checked at least once per year at the beginning of the watering season, although monthly checks may be a better idea if you have hard water. Dirty filters can be cleaned or replaced as needed.
2. Regular Line Flushing
Flushing out the narrow drip irrigation lines ensures that no debris or hard water precipitate clogs them and blocks the flow of water. The system will have a flush cap at one end, opposite the control valve. Simply remove the flush cap then turn the valve so that water rushes through the lines and clears out any particles. Line flushing should be done regularly throughout the watering season.
3. Emitter Inspections
A clogged drip emitter won't deliver water where needed. It can also lead to a line leak, as water pressure may build up in the line due to the backed-up water. Inspect the system when it is running to verify that all emitters are working properly. If not, then you may need to clean out the emitter or replace it, depending on the extent of the damage. This is also a good time to readjust the emitters so they are delivering water accurately.
4. Component Replacements
Over time drip lines other than the emitters can wear out. Check your lines monthly to make sure they aren't leaking and wasting water, and replace any leaking lines immediately. You may also need to replace components like pressure regulators if they fail since poor water pressure will prevent water from reaching all the emitters set up on a drip irrigation line.
5. Schematic Adjustments
Your landscaping or garden bed will likely change and evolve over time. A normal part of spring maintenance should include reassessing the drip line and emitter schematics and adjusting the location of these so that they better target the plants that you will be growing in your garden this year. This is relatively simple to do since the emitter lines are placed on top of the soil.
Contact a drip irrigation system company like NY Plantings Garden Designers & Landscape Contractors if you need more help with basic maintenance