Soaker Hose Problems: Causes and How to Solve Them
Soaker hoses are perhaps the most inexpensive yet a convenient solution to a myriad of gardening problems. They provide an efficient way of irrigating plants without wasting much water. Unlike other hoses, soaker hoses have tiny pores on the length of the rubber which permit a little amount of water to seep through.
Water goes directly into the root zone at a low pressure thus eliminating runoff problems, unlike overhead sprinklers. Enjoying these benefits of soaker hoses requires that you find the best soaker hose in the market. As you may know, a huge number of soaker hoses are made of arbitrary construction from recycled tire rubber.
However, some people opt for fabric materials as they don’t kink. Compared to fabric soaker hoses, those made from recycled tires are comparatively rougher, work by weeping water and more porous.
If you have chosen soaker hoses for your farm, you may find it prudent installing them correctly. Otherwise, expect frequent problems as some are caused by poor installation procedures. That said, outlined below are five reasons why your soaker hose may not be working correctly.
5 Common Hose Problems
Some of the common hose problems include:
1. Unequal Pressure Distribution Problem
Soaker hoses often range from 25 to 50 feet long. Note that having a soaker hose of an extended length may lead to equal pressure distribution problems. Just by mentioning pressure issues, any critic will jump to the conclusion that your soaker hose is overly lengthy.
Nonetheless, even with this length, the hose won’t achieve an equal pressure distribution. This results in unequal water distribution, and to a larger extent, other parts of the garden may lack water. This is why most gardeners prefer installing a pressure reducing system to equal the hose’s pressure system.
A good number of houses average water pressure is 50psi. Soaker hoses work effectively with water at 10psi. A pressure reducing system makes this possible. You just need to fix this system at the beginning of your soaker hose.
2. Soaker Hose Length Problem
This is the second most problem that affects the working ability of your soaker hose. This perhaps lies more in ignorance rather than deficiencies within the system itself. As mentioned before, soaker hoses length range between 25 to 50 feet. Factually, they should never exceed 100 feet.
There is a direct link between the length of the hose and water pressure issues. Certainly, you may have seen some homes supplying water for 600 feet or more without any problem. This is possible; however, long hoses especially flexible models, suffer a great pressure drop over a long distance.
It actually becomes impossible to evenly distribute water with equal water pressure past 100 feet. The mouth and end of the hose get little water.
3. Evaporation Problem
This problem is perhaps self-explanatory. Evaporation of irrigation water is one of the common issue experienced especially during summer seasons. Similarly, any soaker hose exposed to direct sunlight suffers greatly from evaporation. Once excess water is lost through evaporation, plants fail to grow to reach sufficient heights, develops discolored leaves and weak roots.
Simple problems often warrant simple solutions. This case isn’t an exception. To avoid such problems, ensure that you cover your soaker hose with organic mulch, especially during summer. During planting seasons such as spring, expose your hose to prevent accidental cutting of the hose when digging a hole for new garden plants. Besides, you can map out the outline.
4. Clogging of the Hose
Hose clogging is arguably the most common problem spoiling a soaker hose yet difficult to deal with. To begin, mineral water, otherwise known as hard water, may not play nicely with hoses. Minerals contained in tap water may calcify and clog the pipes causing unimaginable inconvenience.
That said, the first step of avoiding or rather preventing this problem is by testing your water for hardness. This isn’t a daunting task, bearing in mind that various stores are offering DIY kits used to check water hardness. If you realize that you have hard water, mitigate it before it becomes a problem.
Mitigation can be through using a water softener or other methods. This should dissolve all the minerals preventing clogging of the pipes.
What if you found out too late and the pipes are already calcified? Here, the damage is already done but worry not as there are other measures to solve this. You can begin by dissolving the minerals by passing regular doses of white vinegar, a brick cleaner (a diluted solution of hydrochloric acids) or alternatively, beat the pipe against the wall till the calcified sediments fall off.
5. Horrible Timing
Horrible timing is the other difficult problem to account for when using a soaker hose. This basically involves determining how long your soaker hose should be left running. Remember that you need to water only enough amount of water to your lawn as overwatering or underwatering can lead to unwanted lawn growth patterns.
It is therefore important that you have your soaker hose running for a predetermined, adequate amount of time. Just to mention, one inch of water per week and two inches of water per week for summer and spring respectively are enough. Determining this amount is the biggest challenge.
The time problem can be fixed by using a can of tuna, and timing how long it takes to fill approximately one inch. Note that time and keep your hose running for that period every week. That aside, note that the time your soaker hose should be kept running often varies based on the prevailing microclimate, the moisture content of the soil, water pressure and composition of your lawn soil. Always consider these factors when figuring this out.
Soaker hoses are perhaps the best thing that happened to garden watering systems. However, using them correctly is the key to enjoying its benefits. Some of the watering tips when using a soaker hose include:
Installing your soaker hose in line with the above considerations among others will help you avoid soaker hose problems. Perhaps, also consider purchasing the best soaker hose in the market.