Hey, not a Rachio question specifically but a general drip irrigation question I could use some help on:
My drip irrigation seems to have a high failure rate, meaning drippers slowly reduce their output and then clog. I have 22 stations of drip irrigation across 2 controllers, so it’s not a small amount of drippers. They are a combination of Raindrip pressure compensating drippers and Toro blue stripe drip line. The water is the same water that goes into my house and it isn’t cloudy or anything, but it is slightly hard (calcium).
In the course of 3 years of debugging, I’ve concluded a few things:
Zones w/o pressure regulators fail quickly, so contrary to intuition, higher pressure doesn’t result in more output but is, in fact, harmful to the drippers. So I now have 30psi limiters on all zones.
0.5 gph (red) drippers: about 20% are bad out of the box and only last a few months
1.0 gph (black) drippers: about 10% are bad out of the box and the rest last a few years
2.0 gph (green) drippers: about 5% are bad out of the box and they fail the least
The drip line (0.5 gph) is highly variable (from a few months to >10 years life expectancy)
Above MTBF estimates are just a guess (the original irrigation system is 20 years old and I’ve owned it 3 years). So I’m starting to favor 1.0 and 2.0 gph drippers, and use multiple per tree so if one fails the tree doesn’t die, but it’s still becoming tiresome.
I’m starting to wonder if, like pressure, sun also plays a role as the longest-lived drip lines are covered. Any thoughts there?
Also I’m starting to wonder if I should just change to a different drip system. IIUC there’s two types:
- The type I’m using where you deliver moderately high pressure (20-40psi) and use pressure-compensated drippers
- The type where you do a more restrictive pressure and flow limit upstream, and then basically have “open” drippers (no meaningful regulation)
but my local Ace hardware store only carries Raindrip. Any product suggestions here would also be appreciated as I’m willing to try something different if I just knew where to source the parts.