Why a head assembly?
The head assembly protects and preserves the longevity of your system, as well as ensuring optimal performance from all devices.
Our recommended head assembly order of components is as follows: Timer (optional), Backflow Preventer, Filter, Pressure Regulator, then Swivel Tubing Adapter.
The timer is optional, although it does make running the system much easier. With a timer there is no need for manual operation to run the system.
The backflow preventer, otherwise known as a vacuum breaker is a necessary component in any drip system using a shared water source or when injecting fertilizers or chemicals. When a system shuts off and depressurizes, a vacuuming effect can happen where the water from the drip system is siphoned back into the water source. This device prevents contamination of the clean water source by not allowing water to flow back. See your local codes for the type of backflow prevention device required in your irrigation system.
The filter is an essential piece to the head assembly as it helps prevent the system and emitters from becoming clogged. When ordering a filter, it is important to keep in mind three things: first, is what kind of water you have (clean, dirty, reclaimed, hard...etc); second is the surface area of the filter. The more particles and debris in your water, the more often you will have to clean the filter. If you have dirty water, and a filter with a small surface area you may end up cleaning the filter every day or even more than once a day, depending on how dirty the water is. If you have dirty water and a large surface area you won't have to clean the filter as often. Lastly, the third factor to consider is the level of filtration, if you are using drip tape, for example, we recommend no less than 155 mesh as the level of filtration. To learn more, check out our filter buying guide.
The pressure regulator is also a key component in most head assemblies as well. Unless you are using a gravity system with very low pressure, we recommend using a pressure regulator, as most drip components only require 15-25 PSI to run at an optimal level. Many faucets/hose bibs/spigots have 40-60+ PSI at the source, which is too high for most drip components. Without a pressure regulator the system can be damaged or fail completely if too high of pressure is used in the system. Additionally, the pressure regulator maintains the pressure within the system and protects against spikes or sudden drops in pressure from the hose bib. This device ensures the pressure within the system will stay a consistent pressure, thus resulting in optimal performance from the emitting devices.
It is important to check the operating pressures of the watering devices used in your system to ensure the proper pressure regulator is selected. For example, drip tape, has a lower operating pressure of 8-15 PSI. (If the maximum pressure of the drip tape is exceeded it may cause damage or failure of the tape).
Lastly, the swivel adapter will be necessary to adapt the head assembly to the tubing or tape.
For assistance with installing your head assembly see the Head assembly Kit instructions linked to each kit item page or another of our resources, Head Assembly Installation.