How long will a drip system function before needing replaced?

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Az Gardener, Aug 13, 2006.

  1. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    Drip is a staple here in the desert, and on Xeriscape landscapes I have no problem with it but on some of my older estate homes that are densely planted I am having big problems.

    As the plants mature they pinch off the poly, both 1/4" spaghetti lines and the 1/2" supply lines. Az landscapes are not all that old so a 10-15 yr old estate is an old system. We have much older homes but the intensive landscapes like in the south east are relatively new. We have spent most of the summer band-aiding some 10-12 year old systems and it is just that. Patch and re route and wait for the next section to go brown. The plantings are so dense I have not been able to see an emitter or tube for years so you don't know its pinched off until stuff is stressed.

    I am trying to come up with an alternative. In the more rural desert where rodents are a problem we hard pipe the drip systems. Trying to do a retrofit hard-piping new drip would destroy the plantings. Overhead sprays are not an option because of the supply lines to the beds are poly and would not handle the pressure needed. Come to think of it they too will eventually get pinched off most likely. I'm screwed :confused:

    I don't see a simple solution, any one got any Ideas or a better long term experience with drip?
  2. jerryrwm

    jerryrwm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,274

    How long would you expect these drip systems to last?

    Like most everything else, irrigation system components to wear out and eventually fail. Valve diaphragms wear out, wiper seals lose their wiping/sealing ability, controllers crap out sometimes for no apparent reason. Poly laterals get pinched by roots, and so does drip tubing. Sometimes you just have to replace and or repair some components due to age.

    It never ceases to amaze me that people expect the irrigation systems they install to last for 20-30 yrs, yet they have changed the vehicle they drive probably 3 or 4 times, refurnished their house, bought new television sets, stereo equipment and several computers in that same amount of time.

    There is no hard and fast rule for longevity of an irrigation system. When it fails due to age, then it fails and the owner is going to have to pony up some cash to keep it running. And it's all time and materials.
  3. sildoc

    sildoc LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,925

    I figure every system will need a decent amount of work when it reaches 10 years. I have some that need major repair at 5 years and many that are 15 years old. Now I am guessing where I am out we fill in a lot quicker than in the desert with extreme heat and limited H2O. when I get a new client I let them know this so that they are prepared when I tell them xy and z need repair. I dont think there is another way other than strait hard pipe and drip for every 5 feet. To over kill in my opinion.
  4. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    I feel pretty stupid about now. I take pride in educating my clients on everything about their landscapes. I have never given much thought to this. Clocks, valves, heads all simple fixes. I would call it irrigation maintenance, the pinched tubing is renovation time. My previous 15 years was all in desert L/S, shrubs 5-10 feet apart Trees 30 40 ft apart, if something was pinched it was easy to find and fix. It has only been in the last 10 years that I have been into the "Garden scene" with European and English style gardens to maintain, lush plantings and plants rootball to rootball in beds. I am just now beginning to see the complexity of the problem.

    Well at least I have a good topic for my next newsletter. BTW well put jerrywrm, great analogy. Also we have a 12 month growing season here and with irrigation systems there is no water problems so things reach maturity pretty quickly.
  5. hoskm01

    hoskm01 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,690

    I guess I havent really seen many poly systems pinched off, though I havent seen many (actually any) poly systems in old yards. This is an interesting point to ponder. I reckon thiry years of PVC in the ground would have a few problems as well. Instead of being pinched off, it may just crack and you would know real quick you had a problem.
  6. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 47,720

    Stuff like this is why I'll sometimes skip the shrub sprinklers, in favor of heads out in the lawn, throwing water into the beds.
  7. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,207

    This is slightly off subject but can that Rainbird emitter tubing be put under sod for watering. I got a three foot patch of grass between my sidewalk and the curb that is hard to irrigate with heads. Rainbird indicates I can attach it directly to pvc pipe from the valve?

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