Ask a Question forum: Pressure Regulators for Drip Irrigation

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Southern California
Nomadman2003
Aug 14, 2017 11:53 PM CST
I am setting up a drip line system in a couple beds and I'm a bit perplexed by how to use the pressure regulator. I am hoping someone who has set up a drip system could help me.

I bought a simple pressure gauge with a female hose fitting to test my water pressure at the end of the hose. It read 66psi. I measured the water flow as well, it was just shy of 6gpm. I then installed the pressure regulator, which is rated for 25psi between 1gpm and 15 gpm. I put the pressure guage on the other end of the pressure regulator and turned the hose back on. The guage then read 39psi.

This is higher than the drip system recommends and I wanted to know if I'm doing some wrong, my assumptions on how it would work are incorrect, or if I have a faulty piece somewhere.

Thank you in advance for your time.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Aug 15, 2017 12:44 PM CST
When I put in my first drip system, I worried about pressure and pressure regulators. But then in a light bulb moment, I realized that, although the question seems complicated, the answer is pretty simple.

Toss all the regulators and build your system. If the pressure is too high and the whole system blows apart (that's actually never happened), turn down the faucet. If the pressure is too low and water doesn't get all the way to the end, split it up and make another system (or two).

In California, I watered 2 acres on 10 systems connected to 5 faucets. I added battery operated irrigation timers at the faucet end to turn water on and off on a schedule.

Here in Reno, I converted my sprinkler systems to drip when I took out the lawn. Once again, I was warned that it couldn't be done because the water pressure would be too high on such small systems. Simple solution: turn the water pressure down at the solenoid.

Hope this helps.
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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Aug 15, 2017 1:47 PM CST
I agree with Daisy. I live in town.
Converted 1 sprinkler valve system to 3 - 50 foot half inch poly lines, i made up, with a total of 150 - one gph emitters. Works fine !!!
A friend of mine, asked if i used a pressure regulator.
I didn't even know what he was talking about. Shrug!
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Southern California
Nomadman2003
Aug 15, 2017 9:46 PM CST
Thank you both for your responses. Daisy I, today when I got home I tried your suggestion.

I hooked up the pressure guage to the hose again and turned on the water really low. The pressure was very low, even nonexistent for a bit, then the hose sort of filled up and the pressure rose up to 39psi again.

So I think it may work if I have just the right amount of emitter, like you two were saying.

Thanks again

Robert
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
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dave
Aug 16, 2017 6:29 AM CST

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I agree that you can easily get away with drip irrigation without using a pressure regulator (and even a filter). For piece of mind, though, I like to use them so I don't have to worry. They are really cheap - $8 each. These are the ones I use:

https://www.dripworks.com/senn...

I have a box of drip accessories and have several of these in that box. It's easy to add to a faucet and then I can open it wide open (getting the full flow) and don't have to worry about blowing an emitter out.
Southern California
Nomadman2003
Aug 17, 2017 8:54 AM CST
Thanks for the response and link Dave.

As an update I think the drip line trouble are sorted. There seem to be a number of issues I had with my set up. First, I found that I broke a coupler when I tried the system at full municipal pressure, so that got replaced.

I also bought a second pressure regulator, again at 25psi, and after testing it out on the static pressure at the end of the hose is read 26. (My guess is that I grabbed a 35 from the bin at the home store the first time)

The other bit that I had chalked up to a misstep in my build was that a lot of the connection points on the hose end were leaking. After hooking up all the new parts there was considerably less leaks at the connection points but still more than I expected. So I put some teflon tape at the threads for each connection, being very very careful to not let any hang in inside the pipe. This pretty much stopped all the leaks.

The one bit that remained leaky was the pressure compensator. It leaked from a hole in its side, looks like an intentional pressure relief design feature. I did some internet research and found a lot of people saying that is common of the cheap regulators sold at the big box stores. They recommended a much heavier duty looking one, one that looks very similar to the link Dave posted. I think I'll be ordering a couple of those in the near future.

Robert
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Aug 17, 2017 10:19 AM CST
Nomadman2003 said:I am setting up a drip line system in a couple beds and I'm a bit perplexed by how to use the pressure regulator. I am hoping someone who has set up a drip system could help me.

I bought a simple pressure gauge with a female hose fitting to test my water pressure at the end of the hose. It read 66psi. I measured the water flow as well, it was just shy of 6gpm. I then installed the pressure regulator, which is rated for 25psi between 1gpm and 15 gpm. I put the pressure guage on the other end of the pressure regulator and turned the hose back on. The guage then read 39psi.

This is higher than the drip system recommends and I wanted to know if I'm doing some wrong, my assumptions on how it would work are incorrect, or if I have a faulty piece somewhere.

Thank you in advance for your time.


A possible minor concern, but if your irrigation shuts off there can be a backfill into the house water supply from unclean irrigation hoses. There is an attachment that can stop that. It might be part of your irrigation kit, but maybe not. They are cheap. It is just a small one-way valve thingie.

Name: J.R. Baca
Pueblo West Co. ( High Dessert (Zone 6a)
josebaca
Sep 2, 2017 2:54 PM CST
Nomadman;
I had the same problem with my soaker system that is fed off a spigot, not on its own dedicated line. After much trial and error I just went to an RV supply store and bought a brass regulator they are easily adjustable and very hard to overload. Since then I've had no problem.
Hope this helps.
J.R
P.S.
The thingy Yardenman is talking about is called a backflow preventer.
[Last edited by josebaca - Sep 2, 2017 3:01 PM (+)]
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Southern California
Nomadman2003
Sep 2, 2017 3:29 PM CST
josebaca said:Nomadman;
I had the same problem with my soaker system that is fed off a spigot, not on its own dedicated line. After much trial and error I just went to an RV supply store and bought a brass regulator they are easily adjustable and very hard to overload. Since then I've had no problem.
Hope this helps.
J.R
P.S.
The thingy Yardenman is talking about is called a backflow preventer.


JR, thanks for the tip! I just got a hefty regulator from Dripworks, I'll be installing it this weekend. But if that isn't working or eventually fails I'll definitely check out an RV supplier. A brass regulator sounds like a great idea.

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