A Beginners Guide: Drip Irrigation Fittings
Now that drip irrigation is becoming increasingly more popular, innovation is ramping up to produce more sophisticated and better-performing connection types. Every contractor is going to have his or her preferred way of making a solid connection when it comes to dripline but here are a couple of simple descriptions that may change your mind about when and where to use particular fittings.
Compression fittings have been around a long time and are available in many different ID’s, or inside diameters. Because of
this, contractors and growers will stock two or three different sizes to fit different size supply lines throughout a system. In the past some complications
have arisen with inconsistencies in manufacturer OD’s or outside diameters, and fittings have failed under nominal pressures. I have not heard
of this happening much lately and assume it’s because there is more consistency in OD’s and the scrutiny a manufacturer is under with such saturated
competition. An installation downfall is the fittings are not reusable, once the line is put into the coupling the odds of getting it out and not looking
like a piece of taffy are slim. Yes, you could spend ten minutes dissecting the line and make mincemeat of the fitting, but if you imagine the average
contractor charges $60/hour…you’ve now cost your customer $10 to save a little under a buck. Try not to waste dollars saving pennies.
A staple in the landscape drip market, insert fittings are a sure way to give yourself carpel tunnel before the age of 30. Manufacturers (I work
for one of them) have tried for years to make these fittings easier to install and ultimately more affordable. I’ve seen torches used to melt the dripline,
I’ve seen cuts made into the line, a little carbon choke cleaner or WD-40 to grease it on there and the best one yet, a drill bit to change the ID
of the dripline itself. None of these steps are going to improve your margins, or the quality of the installation. Consider yourself fortunate that
there are alternatives to these fittings and spend the extra dime to produce a quality installation with an efficient product solution. However, if
you do love working out those wrists, buy Jain insert fittings.
Last but certainly not least, the Power-Loc fitting. Thankfully manufacturers have realized
that not every contractor is prone to the cheapest solution and some prefer to keep their lower arms intact for future feeding purposes. A couple cents
more and these fittings not only handle water hammer pump systems can create but are also completely reusable. Why would I need a reusable dripline
fitting, how about repairs? Understandably in a perfect world you will not be making a lot of repairs on a system you installed properly but with bed
maintenance as chaotic as it can be this will help you capitalize on a trip instantly with the time it takes to release a loc nut and put in a new
section of dripline. Still on the fence about which fitting to use, provide me with a mailing address and I’ll send you Jain samples of each and you
can let me know what you think? If you enjoyed this post please consider following me on twitter @MDSaveswater.