Month: January 2011

Drip Irrigation Filters—why they are necessary

In drip irrigation, tiny particles of dirt are your worst adversary.


Because they clog up your drip tubes and emitters, making them ineffective. To avoid this clogging problem, a water filter of some type is recommended.

From a broad stance, filters come in two configurations: mesh and sediment filters.

Mesh filters are made from small layers of . . . well . . . mesh. The size of the mesh openings determines what size particles will be stopped and what size will pass through.

Most drip irrigation kits generally include a mesh-type filter.

The other type of filter, the sediment filter, is most often used in whole house water filtration.

Sediment filters consist of a cartridge and housing, and the cartridge does all the filtering. Some cartridges filter out particles down to 0.5 micron and even reduce certain chemicals (e.g., chlorine, lead, etc.).

IMPORTANT TIP: You will need to change your cartridge (or clean your mesh filter) periodically.

For mesh filters, check and clean them weekly (or more often if you find your water is not clean).

Drip Irrigation System Products

parts of drip kit




All of these are important when you want to make sure your yard, lawn, or garden is the best it can be.

The advanced and elegant drip watering systems from Orbit Irrigation Products, Inc. provide you all three of these.

How does drip irrigation work?

Drip irrigation products conserve water by slowly and accurately applying the right amount of water to plants’ root zones instead of non-growth areas. This means less water is lost to evaporation and runoff.

Also, Orbit drip irrigation systems are more convenient because they eliminate hand watering of small areas and reduce weed growth.

Orbit drip irrigation systems are sold in kits and are available online and in many retail outlets. These kits make it easy to install yourself, and you can also use the drip components to customize your irrigation system.

What other benefits do you see to having a drip irrigation system installed in your yard, lawn, or garden area?

Winterize Your Sprinkler System

How do I winterize my system?

A common question for those with yard, garden, or lawn irrigation systems.

There are several things that must be done to winterize a sprinkler system.

The first step is to determine if the system uses auto-drain valves. If auto-drain valves are present, then all you need to do is turn the main water supply off, and then loosen the solenoid on each valve to let air inside. The water should flow down hill and out of each zone through the auto drain valve. You may have a manual drain for the main line between the shut-off valve and the valve manifolds.

If a valve is present open it to allow all water to drain.

If your system does not use auto-drain valves, then an air compressor must be used to blow the water out of the zones. Turn off the main water supply to the sprinkler system, and hook up an air compressor to the system. Pressurize the tank to about 60 psi and then open on of the valves manually. Run that station for 2 to 3 minutes to allow all the water to be removed from the system. Shut that valve off and pressurize the tank again. Repeat for the next zone. After all zones are empty, loosen the solenoids to allow air to enter the top of the valve.

This is a general guideline for winterizing a system. You system may require additional steps depending on the particular installation. There are professionals who can offer this service for you.

Please look under Sprinkler Installation if you need someone else to do the work.

Note: Air Compressors will also need an air flow rate between 4 and 8 cubic feet per minute.

Does Orbit offer a sprinkler winterization guide?

Yes we do.

winterization kit 51028

Drip Irrigation Systems: The basics

orbit drip manifold

Ever walk by a house after the sprinklers are done irrigating and see the sidewalks wet with overspray?

How about seeing a small flower garden where a large area sprinkler head is not only watering its intended target, but everything around it (the fence, the rocks, the neighbor’s yard) as well?

These are just two examples of poor water conservation practices.

One way to help curb the use of water and drop it more accurately on the spots that require it is to use drip irrigation.

Drip irrigation is also known as micro-irrigation. It combines a low-volume of water and a low-pressure release of that water so that it is more accurate with its irrigation delivery mechanism.

Drip irrigation systems can easily be camouflaged under bark, mulch, or decorative rock; they can also be on top of the ground.

So, why consider drip irrigation systems? View the video below and read the tips that follow.

Conserve water:
Drip irrigation systems manage water. A sprinkler can often deliver too much water for the soil to hold and runoff can occur.

Water precisely:
Certain areas won’t be over- or under-watered because you can focus the water exactly where it is required for plant growth.

Curb diseases:
Fungus (and resulting diseased) are less likely to occur in soil that is not constantly saturated with water.

Reduce erosion:
A fast release of water will often be disruptive to soil. A slow drip, on the other hand, can help the moisture penetrate the ground in a same and non-disruptive manner.


Install easily:
Orbit drip irrigation systems are sold in kits and are available online and in many retail outlets. These kits make it easy to install yourself, and you can also use the drip components to customize your irrigation system.

Do you have a drip irrigation system installed?

What other benefits do you see to having a drip system installed in your yard, lawn, or garden area?
Please leave your comments below.

How Much do Automatic Sprinkler Systems Cost?

Sprinkler on edge of patio

The best answer to this question is that it depends on where you live, what type of equipment you plan to install, and whether you will do some of the work yourself.  But the following will help you at least ballpark what you ought to be paying for an automatic sprinkler system.

Do you plan on having a professional contractor install part or all of the system?

A basic rule of thumb is that a sprinkler contractor will price things out so that he has 1/3 of the total bid price in materials, 1/3 in labor and overhead, and 1/3 in profit. That leaves enough room so that he can still make money on the job even if some of the site-specific variables like a hard to find mainline, lower-than-expected pressure, or hardpan soil throw him some surprises. You should be able to buy equivalent materials at a home improvement store for about 15-20% more than the contractor installing pipe in groundwill pay at a contractor supply store, but you will need to factor in rental of trenchers and whether you can install the backflow prevention yourself, so you should figure your total cost of installing the system yourself will be around half the average of three competitive bids. A really simple way to estimate the cost of installing the system yourself is to use the Orbit Sprinkler System Designer.

If you need a quick and very rough range of where you might expect bids from professional sprinkler contractors to come in, you could use a range of $0.50 to $1.25 per square foot of area to be watered and probably not be too surprised. Just keep in mind that small properties will tend to be at the higher end of the range.

This is the first of a four part series that will ask the questions to help give you a good idea of things that will drive the cost of an automatic sprinkler system up or down. Some are things that you can choose and some are things that your specific region, climate or building codes will drive.