Drip Irrigation Design Guide-Retrofitting Existing Sprinklers with Drip
Retrofitting Existing Spinkler with Drip
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Option 1-Threaded Bubblers and Emitters
Replace each sprinkler with pressure compensating drip bubblers or emitters and run 1/4” tubing from the riser to your plants. Single-outlet emitters allow you to run 1/4" drip tubing to individual plants. With a 6-outlet bubbler on top of a 1/2" riser, you can run up to 6 1/4" drip tubes from the bubbler.
The emitters and bubblers operate at 10 psi - 40 psi. Check your water pressure before installing. If your pressure is 40 psi or less, you are good to go. If not, you will need to install a pressure regulator.
Pressure Compensating Emitters
There are three emitters available: 1/2 gph (red inside), 1 gph (black inside), and 2 gph (green inside). The barbed tip accepts 1/4" drip micro tubing. To install, simply remove the sprinkler from the 1/2" threaded riser. You can screw the emitter directly onto the riser or add a Marlex elbow as described in the Quick Tip below.
QUICK TIP: Use a Marlex Elbow for 90 degree turn - To run the 1/4" tubing parallel to the ground rather than straight up off of the riser, use a Marlex Elbow. This allows the tubing to run flat on the ground and avoids a trip hazard.
Option 2- Micro Jet Sprayers
Replace sprinklers with drip micro spray fittings. Swap out the sprinkler with a micro spray adapter. The adapter will accept threaded micro spray fittings.
The adapter threads directly onto a 1/2" riser. Micro jet fittings thread into the top.
Micro Jet/Spray fittings operate best between 10 psi - 30 psi. Check your water pressure before installing. If your pressure is 30 psi or less, you are good to go. If not, you will need to install a pressure regulator.
These spray fittings come in a variety of configurations from fixed patterns and outputs to adjustable spray and stream options.
Option 3- Cap Sprinklers & Add Drip Regulator to the Supply Line
Cap off all of the sprinklers and add a standard drip system with 1/2" drip tubing and drip emitters. You can leave your irrigation valve in place. Just add a drip regulator, filter and swivel adaptor to the existing PVC line. From there you can add drip mainline tubing and drippers or emitter tubing. Irrigation Direct carries a selection of adapter fittings (like the one shown) that will help with most connections.
An MH9 adapter elbow (with male hose threads) is glued onto 3/4" PVC pipe. The inline filter, drip regulator, and swivel adapter are then attached.