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I had my irrigation system installed about 8 years ago. The guy who did it was a landscaper but did it as a friend on the side, and as such I have no idea what corners he may have cut to save me some money. He's kind of a bandaid-and-baling wire kinda guy, though I didn't quite realize that until after the fact. He doesn't respond to email anymore, so now that I'm having some trouble with the system I'm on my own to figure it out.

The system has three zones - sprinklers, drip hose for shrubs, and drip line for planters and hanging baskets. It's all controlled by a Rainbird timer in the garage.

As far as I know the sprinklers are fine. We covered over the grass with bark mulch about 4 years ago so I haven't used them since, but they were working then.

The first area to develop a problem was the drip line. Some of the lines just stopped dripping. Water would run from the drip head (if that's the right word for it) if I pulled off the line, but when I replaced it with new line, still no water. That was as far as I went with trying to fix that; I haven't had baskets for a few years anyway.

The more pressing issue is the drip hose for the shrubs. Our puppy bit a couple of holes in it, or so I suspect, and I need to repair a couple of places. I have tried that, first with the kind of fittings that you slip inside the hose, and then with compression fittings. Leaks, leaks everywhere. I found out from the person I bought the supplies from that what I have is .710 hose made by Fiskars, which is no longer available. From her I bought some .700 hose and some .710 compression fittings, and attempted to make a repair, but the ends of the fittings with the smaller hose in it always leak. Not even wrapping the hose with gaffer's tape to make the connection tighter is solving the problem.

She thinks the problem is too much water pressure; I sent her some pictures of my system and she doesn't see a pressure regulator. She wants me to cut off the fitting that the hose comes out of to install a pressure regulator. I may have to do that, but first I want to know more about the system before I start hacking into it.

So, my questions:

  • what are the right resources to read to learn more about drip irrigation in general? There's so much info out there but no way of knowing if any of it is correct.

  • it seems unlikely to me that the system has no pressure regulators already in it - wouldn't the city water pressure have blown out the drip lines long before now? I sent her this picture, which to me seems to show the three zones - sprinklers with no regulator, two drip zones with regulators - but she didn't seem to think I have any. Can anyone else give an opinion? What are those black things if not pressure regulators?

https://www.dropbox.com/s/jnt0dwqcc66m2j5/IMG_1067.jpg

  • one option is to just replace all of the drip hose with the new smaller stuff, but I'm not sure how to hook it into the system. There's a 1" pipe coming up out of the ground in the shrub bed with an elbow on it, and the other end of the elbow has hose leading to a T. The elbow has a nut-looking attachment which is glued on. There doesn't seem to be any way to switch from .710 sizing to .700 without running into the same leaking issue I already have. Picture of this:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/3i8ctarxvdgpjul/IMG_1073.jpg

This is the fitting she wants me to cut off and add in a pressure regulator, but it's very close to the ground and I don't want to do any cutting (losing more height) until I'm really sure of what I'm doing.

Any advice/insight will be appreciated!

Edit: one argument against just replacing the hose is that the Fiskars stuff seems to be much studier than the new. I have a post elsewhere on here about the attempted repair and people were amazed that my hose is still intact at all after 8 years in the PNW - now I understand why. Every time I tried to pull the new hose out of the compression fitting it tore - the old hose is much thicker and seems much less like it's made from barely-held-together bits of something.

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This is not a complete answer but may help with a few of your problems.

  1. Instead of replacing the whole hose, you can cut out the bad part(s), refit each end with threaded pieces, and get a small inline hose piece (of any size really) so long as the threading is the same.
  2. The drippers might have been jammed up with iron/calcium buildup.

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