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3 Tips for Installing Pressure-Compensating Drip Irrigation Emitters

Pressure-compensating drip irrigation emitters ensure every plant on your irrigation system receives the exact same amount of water and fertilizer regardless of location, for uniform and high-quality growth on any topography.

Let's take a look at a few reasons you might consider using pressure-compensating drip emitters over drippers that do not compensate for fluctuating pressure:

  • Your plants are located on sloping or uneven terrain. Pressure-compensating emitters prevent over-watering and under-watering from occuring in the lower and higher areas of your system.
  • You desire the most accurate, uniform water delivery across all plants. 
  • To promote green, healthy plant growth evenly and precisely thoughout your planting area
  • For better crop quality, quantity, and uniformity using less resources. 

Once you've determined whether using pressure-compensating drippers is right for you, here are a few best pactices for properly installing your drip emitters.

1) Determine Which End Drips

Pressure-compensating drippers often have similar looking barbs at both ends, so it may difficult to know which end is supposed to be inserted into the tubing and which is supposed to deliver the water. It can be easy to accidentally install them backwards! Consult the instructions for whatever drippers you've purchased. In the case of Habitech's Pressure-Compensating Drip Irrigation Emitter Kits, the colored barb goes into the tubing and the black barb is where the water will drip from.

2) Decide your preferred method of installation

Irrigation drippers are versatile and can usually be incorporated into your drip irrigation system a variety of ways. Three common methods include:

  • Install the drippers directly onto the 1/2" irrigation tubing main line. Habitech's Pressure-Compensating Drip Emitter Kits include an irrigation hole punch to use for installation, as well as 10 goof plugs, which can be handy if you ever need to patch a hole or relocate any of your drippers to a different spot along the tubing.
  • To reach plants not located directly along the main line, you can attach 1/8" tubing (also called spagetti tubing) to the water dripping end of the emitter and run that tubing out to your plant.
  • Alternatively, you can run 1/4" tubing off your main line and then attach the dripper to the end of the 1/4" tubing at the base of your plant.

3) Get familiar with the special features of your emitters

Can your emitters be disassembled and cleaned? Are they anti-clogging? Do they contain a check valve or have a minimum operating pressure? Emitters can come with a variety of different benefits and features and it's worth taking some time to familiarize yourself with them. Knowing the features of your drip emitters can especially come in handy when you need to troubleshoot an issue. Drip irrigation challenges (and solutions) will also depend on your unique field conditions, such as how long and large your system is. Knowing how your emitters are designed to handle clogging or drops in pressure can help you spot small issues before they become large ones.

What best practices do you follow when installing irrigation drip emitters? Share them in the comments!

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