Occasional maintenance should be carried out on all drip irrigation systems. To do this, you need to inspect the emitters, flush the lines by opening the end cap, and clean the filter. Depending on water quality, the frequency of filter cleaning may vary. The development of drip irrigation products has led to successful and trouble-free systems for both the commercial grower and the homeowner. The design of the system using filtration and quality emission components will make maintenance a simple yearly task. Visual inspection of the system is the best way to observe performance, and can be done in minutes while gardening.

If you are having trouble with your system, conduct the standard maintenance procedures first. Should the problem be a single emitter, replace it. If it is more widespread, look for a break in the lines. If the problem cannot be determined by observation, it may be the result of an inadequate water supply or faulty system design. “Goof” plugs can be used to plug holes from which emitters have been removed. They are very simple to use and are indispensable when doing repair work or changing your planting pattern. Likewise, couplings come in very handy when any repair needs to be made on a damaged section of line. Simply cut out the damaged section of line and install a new piece using the couplings to connect the two pieces together. And remember, each time you make a change or repair to your system, the lines need to be flushed to remove any debris that may have gotten into them as you worked.

“Goof” plugs and couplings should become a part of any repair kit. If they are not needed or used in the initial installation, they will be at some time in the future.