Friday, March 4, 2011

The Frugal Garden: Micro Irrigation Troubleshooting

Earlier this week dear husband informed me that a connector had failed on the front micro irrigation system.  I fixed the connection, BUT I missed a critical step.  I should have removed the end clip from the poly tube and flushed the system to remove any dirt that entered the system.

So, we turn on the system the next day, it runs for two minutes, then every sprinkler head died.  I mean every single one.  I knew I had messed up and today I had to pay penance.

But I do get to share with you how to make this type of repair.  Plan on getting very wet!  I mean very, very wet.  Wear old clothes and put all electronics in a safe, dry place.

First of all flush the entire system to get any dirt and hard water deposits out of there.  Next you need to take apart the connection that attaches the riser to the main poly tubing.  It should unscrew.

Two Piece Connector From Riser

Most people don't realize that inside these connectors is a small filter.  This is the first place debris will accumulate.  Remove the filter with a unbent paper clip and use the paper clip to make sure the hole in the center of the filter is not clogged.

Filter In Connector

Filter Removed

Turn on the water to purge the end of the connector still attached to the poly tubing.  Stand back, it's going to shoot aways.  Reassemble the connector and it's time for the next step.

Turn on the water.  Is the sprinkler working now?  If not, the spray head itself may be clogged.  Unscrew the spray head from the riser.  Use your paper clip to be sure that the spray head is not clogged.

Spray Head Removed From Riser

Spray Head Disassembled
After being sure that the spray head is not clogged, reassemble it and screw it back onto the riser.  It should be working at this point.  If not, you may need to replace the spray head.  If that doesn't work you will need to try a new riser and spray head, but this is a rare occurrence.

Now your system is up and running.  Since you're so dirty and wet you might as well pull some weeds and dream of future plantings.

God bless,

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