August 8, 2011

Converting Your In-ground Sprinkler System to Drip Irrigation

If you have a conventional underground lawn irrigation system and want to convert it to drip irrigation, it is completely possible and very easy to do. Dripper irrigation systems help conserve water and you can save more money in this tough economy.
Making the conversion to drip watering is quite simple. You do not have to convert your entire in-ground yard sprinkling system; you can simply convert the sprinkler zone(s) that have gardens, shrubs and plants. Drip sprinklers are not ideal for larger areas as you would have to place micro sprayers so close together you would spend a lot more money and time for installation. Doing that would not be practical so conversion to dripping irrigation should only be done in areas with potted plants, flowers and other garden areas.
To convert your traditional automatic sprinkler system to a water drip system, you need a few essential sprinkler parts:

  • Adapters
  • Pressure regulators
  • Manifolds
  • Drip tubing
  • Hole punch tool
  • Micro sprinklers
  • End plugs
In the sprinkler station(s) where you are converting to micro irrigation, remove the sprinkler heads from the sprinkler head risers. Attach drip adapters with pressure regulators to regulate water pressure at 25 PSI. Any higher water pressure can damage your garden watering system. From the adapters, use drip manifolds to attach sprinkler drip line. Route the drip irrigation tube down your garden and flower bed rows. With a hole punch gun, punch holes to attach water emitters where you need them.
Before connecting the drippers and mini sprinklers, flush the lines to make sure there are no drip tube fragments or debris left inside. Tie off the ends or use end plugs to cap off the irrigation drip line to maintain water pressure.
Install the water drippers or micro sprinklers in the holes you punched. From your automatic sprinkler timer, test the sprinkler zone(s) where you converted to a water drip system to make sure water is flowing correctly, water pressure is accurate and the emitters are working properly.
Reprogram those sprinkler station(s) on the watering timer to effectively water your gardens, plant areas, shrubs and flowers.
This do-it-yourself drip system project is simple and quick. You can have a water-conserving drip irrigation system without spending a lot of time or money.


Phil Goold is a retired landscaper of 30 years. He loves being outside more than anything else, except maybe pie. He enjoys connecting with other landscapers and gardeners because everyone brings something new and fun to the table. Connect with Phil on Twitter and Google+.

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