Water Wise Now

Helping you use less water in your landscape

Please Note! Minimum purchase is $50
Done with sprinklers? Try Our Switch2Drip Kit

Built-in Emitter Drip Irrigation Guide

Built-in Emitter Drip Guide (Model # BuiltInEmitterGuide)

What is the Built-in Emitter Drip Irrigation Guide? Water Wise Now, as part of our mission to help homeowners take control of their irrigation systems to conserve water, developed an authoritative guide for homeowners on how to design, install, and maintain a drip tubing irrigation system.

Why Built-in Emitter Drip Irrigation? Drip tubing with built-in emitters is the fastest and easiest way to efficiently water a large or densely-planted area. The tubing comes “pre-assembled” with the emitters built-in so there’s not much customizing to do—this makes it super important that you order the correct tubing. We’ll help get it right with our complete guide.

Converting from Sprinklers? Check out our authoritative Switch2Drip Guide: How to convert from sprinklers to drip irrigation to do it the easy way! This Built-in Emitter Drip Irrigation Guide in included in your $14.95 purchase price.

Drip irrigation may seem intimidating, but when it comes to automatic watering of your yard, it's the simplest and most flexible way to achieve long-lasting results. If you’re considering removing some or all of your grass, or just changing a few planting areas to make them more water efficient, this guide is a great way to make the switch easier.

Drip irrigation is 20-45% more efficient than overhead sprinklers depending on what condition your current irrigation system is in.

The key benefits of drip irrigation

Significantly reduced water usage due to:
Watering only where the plant can use the water, at the roots
Almost no water loss to evaporation or wind
Doesn’t create run-off unless there’s a leak or the wrong equipment is used

Is easy to install and maintain without hiring a professional

Is relatively low cost

No need to rip out your old sprinkler system

Most people believe they need to rip out their existing irrigation system to switch to drip, but that's just not the case anymore. Now there is an easy-to-install drip conversion kit that only costs $30. Purchase the kit, drip tubing, and a few useful tools, and you'll be well on your way to significantly reducing your outdoor water use. Note: Your total costs will vary based on how large of an area you’re converting and how your yard is planted.

Converting from Sprinklers? Check out our authoritative Switch2Drip Guide: How to convert from sprinklers to drip irrigation to do it the easy way! This Built-in Emitter Drip Irrigation Guide in included in your $14.95 purchase price.

Regardless of whether you're starting from scratch or converting an existing sprinkler system, there are some drip irrigation basics to learn.

Drip Irrigation 101

Lesson #1
There are two ways to install your drip irrigation: on the surface or underground. Underground (sub-surface) is the most efficient way to water, but makes leaks harder to detect. If you live in the desert or anywhere with a high UV index, burying the tubing under at least a couple of inches of soil or mulch is highly recommended. You can also install drip tubing on the soil surface, though applying mulch over the tubing is still recommended as it reduces trip hazards and looks better. On-surface drip installation is so easy you won’t believe it.

Lesson #2
There are two types of drip irrigation: built-in emitter drip tubing and point-source irrigation. Built-in emitters are most useful when you have an area where the plants are relatively close together or are well-established. This method ensures you are applying water evenly in the area you are irrigating. Point-source allows for more fine-tuned control over how much water each plant receives and is most effective when plants are spaced far apart. As your plants mature, you may find you want to switch from one method to the other. That’s no problem, the conversion kit works with either method.

Lesson #3
Important concepts in drip irrigation are pressure regulation and filtration. Residential drip systems function best under low-pressure situations. All drip systems require good filtration and without it tubing emitters can get clogged. Fortunately, it is easy to control both with a control zone kit (if you're starting from scratch) or a drip conversion kit (which has pressure regulation and filtration built in).

In the Los Angeles area, you could save more than 25,000 gallons per year by switching just 500 square feet from turf to low-water plants with drip irrigation.

Included in this guide

  • Built-in Emitter Drip Irrigation Guide ($9.95)
  • Soil Type Identification Worksheet
  • Controller Station ID Worksheet
  • A coupon good for $9.95 on a single purchase of $50 or more

Topics covered this guide

  • Choosing drip tubing and determining how much to order
  • Choosing blank tubing and determining how much to order
  • Planning for fittings
  • End-of-the-line set-ups
  • Testing the newly-installed system
  • Calculation worksheets and order forms
  • Pro tips for every step along the way

Converting from Sprinklers? Check out our authoritative Switch2Drip Guide: How to convert from sprinklers to drip irrigation to do it the easy way! This Built-in Emitter Drip Irrigation Guide in included in your $14.95 purchase price.

Drip Irrigation Glossary

Flow Rate (GPH): This is the rate at which water comes out of the tubing. Drip irrigation flow rates are measured in Gallons per Hour (as opposed to regular sprinklers which measure flow in Gallons per Minute).

Emitters and Emitter Spacing: Emitter is a fancy word for "hole where the water comes out of the tubing." The emitter is technically more than just the hole, but for homeowner installations, this is specific enough. Emitters can be built in to tubing directly (often called drip line) or can be installed separately for point-source irrigation design.

Lateral: Refers to a single run of tubing (or PVC pipes). It might be blank (supply) tubing, or it might be drip tubing, with emitters.

Distribution Tubing: Goes by too many names... you may also find it listed as Supply Tubing, Blank Tubing, and in the case of 1/4" diameter, spaghetti tubing! Fortunately no matter what you call it, it serves the same purpose—to bring water to another part of your yard without irrigating the soil/concrete/mulch along the way.