Probably the hardest adjustment when converting to drip irrigation is getting past the expectation to see a large wet spot on the ground or even puddling of water at the base of the plant, much like you see when watering by hand. Drip irrigation is a very efficient way to get water to your plant's root zone, so you don't need as much water as other watering methods. In fact, you should only see a small spot of water on the ground surface at the dripper. The water gets to your plant's root zone by traveling vertically through the soil due to gravity and horizontally through the soil due to capillary action within the soil. See our article Know Your Soil Type for additional details on soil capillary action.
Q. How long should I run my drip irrigation system?
A. There is no set rule on how long to water using drip irrigation. It is really a guess and check method. There are two ways. The first option is turn on your system for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes dig down into the dirt around your plants and take a look at the capillary action of the soil. If you are not happy with the results, wait 45 minutes and repeat by increasing the runtime of your system. Check your soil again. Continue this process by gradually increasing the runtime until you are satisfied with the results.The second option is to choose a time that seems good to you and run the system for a few days. During this time, monitor your plants; if they look very healthy, then you are close to the required time. To maximize the efficiency of your system, you may want to slightly decrease the watering time each day until you notice a negative change. From that point, you know exactly where the sweet spot is for watering your plants. If the opposite happens and you notice right away that your plants look dry, then increase the watering time until they look healthy again. Factors that affect watering time are: soil type, temperature and humidity.
Q. Can I run my drip irrigation system 24/7?
A. The answer here is no, because the faucet assembly parts, also known as head assembly, (Backflow Preventer, Filter and Pressure Regulator) are not designed to be under constant pressure. If they are subjected to constant pressure, they will eventually fail, resulting in the need to replace them.