When drippers have less or erratic flow, it is most often an indication of pressure loss. Pressure loss happens if there is a break in line or if one or more system limitations have been exceeded. Here are few questions that will help in troubleshooting dripper issues.
- How many drippers in your system and what are the flow rates? Every system has a maximum flow rate and this is often the one thing that is most exceeded. You will want to count up all drippers, sprayers, etc on the troubled system and add up the total flow requirement. For example, if you have five of #1105, our adjustable dripper, each one is equal to 10 - 15 GPH (depending on system pressure) so you may have a total flow of 50 - 75 GPH.
- What is the flow rate at your water source? This is crucial information when designing a system. If you do not know, please refer to our Flow Rate Calculator and Instructions on how to determine flow rate of your water source.
- What size mainline do you have? Each mainline has a maximum flow rate. Please refer to our Tubing Capacity charts.
- What is the run length of your mainline? Each mainline has a maximum run length. Please refer to our Tubing Capacity charts.
In most cases, you will discover the issue by working through these 4 easy steps.
Q. My drippers are spraying and not dripping; what should I do?
A. If you experience this, the first question we would ask is if you have a pressure regulator. If you don't have a pressure regulator, then your water pressure may be too high. If you have a pressure regulator, then the next step would be to place your finger over the hole where the water comes out of the dripper and block the flow of water for a few seconds. This helps to reset the dripper. If you still experience this problem, check to see if the head of the dripper is screwed all the way down (only applicable for cleanable drippers).
Q. Why are my drippers not dripping?
A. If you are using pressure compensating drippers, it may be that your pressure is too low. PC drippers are designed to open at a set pressure (roughly 5 - 15 PSI) which varies by dripper type. If this is not achieved, the drippers may not open or will not regulate. The best remedy is to install a pressure regulator.
Q. My drippers are leaking from the hole in the tubing, what can I do?
A. If the drippers are leaking from the connection in the tubing, make sure the dripper is pushed in all the way. If a punch was used that is not for drip irrigation or is dull the dripper may not seal correctly. Also if the dripper has been removed and replaced a few times the holes can stretch. You may have to punch a new hole and plug the leaky hole with a goof plug.
Q. How close together should drippers be placed?
A. While there is no set spacing, placing your drip emitters too close together or too far apart can be a problem. Placing them evenly will ensure that your plants get the proper amount of water without having areas oversaturated. A good rule of thumb is to place a drip emitter evenly spaced along the plant line and a minimum of six inches from the base of the plant. Knowing your soil type and how the water moves through it is helpful. See our article: Know Your Soil Type.