How does an Irrigation System Work

Understanding The Irrigation System

Irrigation systems are an arrangement of sprinklers or drip irrigation applicators energized by the water pressure behind a single irrigation valve. An electrical irrigation controller determines when the water will be released through the valves to reach the thirsty plants.

Types of Irrigation Systems

Irrigation is done by artificial and natural means. Since rain in Southwest Florida can be unpredictable due to the hot climate, people resort to the synthetic methods to keep their plants hydrated.

Each type of system differs. For example, a farmer considers factors like soil type, crop type, topography, and weather patterns before selecting an irrigation system type. Listed below are the four major residential irrigation systems to assist homeowners in Southwest Florida when selecting their system. 

  • Sprinkler Irrigation

Sprinkler irrigation is effective for a small or large home’s lawn and garden.

This type of irrigation involves the usage of permanently or temporarily set tools that are used to spray grass. Spray head sprinkles waster like drops of rain on the produce when water is pumped through pipes. One should always use clean water to avoid blockage in the sprinklers. 

  • Surface Irrigation

 It is the most widely used irrigation methods and is perfect to use on mild as well as regular slopes. Soils with fine texture, with medium to minimum infiltration rates, are best irrigated by the surface irrigation system.

This type of irrigation system is entirely dependent on gravity flow to dispense water. Therefore, it requires plenty of groundwater and an adequate workforce as it does not require electricity for its operation. 

  • Subsurface Irrigation

One of the most frequently used irrigation methods. The homeowners adapt this irrigation system by fixing the structures below the soil. Subsurface irrigation is suitable for dry and windy areas as it limits the loss of water through evaporation

The water supply should be filtered at all costs to ensure smooth operation. They are used mostly on items such as vegetables and strawberries.

  1. Drip/Trickle Irrigation

This type of irrigation makes use of pipes with minute openings called drippers. Also known as emitters, these pipes trickle water on low rates on the soil. This method can be defined as an efficient way to save both nutrients and water.

Drip irrigation systems are fit for any slope or soil. It is germane for row crops and trees where each dripper supplies water to its plant. 

The Components Of An Irrigation System

  • Controllers – they are programmed to send commands to each valve to signal when it is time to open or close. There are various types of controllers, and the new ones are even connected by wi-fi.
  • Pressure Regulator – depending on the type of emitters, the pressure that this device regulates can vary widely. Not only does this keep the pressure consistent, but it also works to reduce the pressure.
  • Sensors these tiny little things make your irrigation system work like a human. Rain or soil moisture sensors can be added to prevent overwatering or to water when it is necessary.
  • Filters – there are different types of filters, but all used for the same purpose. For example, removing microparticles from water that could clog minerals.  
  • Master valve – the emergency valve. If a valve won’t turn off or breaks, this will shut the water supply and prevent water wastage. 
  • Mainline – the primary source of water supply to your irrigation system. It is usually under constant pressure.
  • Backflow prevention flow – a check valve assembly that keeps water from your sprinkler system from being recycled into the main water supply. This helps protect the primary potable water from being polluted.
  • Injectors – these are used to apply water-soluble fertilizers through the irrigation kit.
  • Solenoids, Cables, Connectors – connect the irrigation controllers to the valves. If not installed professionally, severe problems could arise. 

Types of Irrigation Heads

Traditionally there are two types of methods to distribute water, spray heads and rotary heads.

  • Spray heads 

Also called ‘Fixed Spray Heads’ these are small heads that spray a fan-shaped water pattern. The sprinkler can spray water in two ways, ½  circle and full circle, for which it requires interchangeable nozzles. They are spaced up to 18 feet apart and require 20 to 30 PSI water pressure to operate.

  • Rotors

A type of sprinkler operates by rotating streams of water back and forth or in circles over the landscape. Rotors can be spaced from 8 feet to 65 feet apart and require a minimum of 45 PSI to operate.

Now that you have a better understanding of how an irrigation system works, call your local experts at Coastal Irrigation to get the best advice for your intended use. Our experts come with years of experience and we’ve had hundreds and thousands of customers trust Coastal Irrigation. Contact us today!