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New Member


Tuesday, June 15th 2010, 10:50am

Tapping into existing sprinkler lines for a few drip points?

I self installed a sprinkler system a few years back and am very pleased with it. Now I'm wishing that I had planned for automated watering of a few big pots that I have around the house. is it possible to piggy back a few drip lines onto my existing piping near the pots keep them watered.

I recognize that this would be somewhat of a patchwork system and not ideal (but hopefully pretty good). Limitations would be violating what I had always thought was the rule -- "don't mix different types of heads in the same zone" and that the watering cycle for the pots won't have the flexibility of a dedicated system, but it would still be a lot better than no system at all. Makes it hard to go away for a week when the big pots won't get any water.

Specific questions

1) Can I simply tap into the 1" poly pipes that serve my system? What sort of fittings and tools do I need for this?
2) What types of drip heads will I use? I guess the question really should be "are drip heads" the right product?
3) Is it possible to regulate the flow from these drip heads (if I'm even using the right term)
4) I'm in a freezing climate so every winter I blow out the system. Would that work for these drip fittings as well?

And of course, am I forgetting anything?

Thank you, Carlos

This post has been edited 1 times, last edit by "cbonilla" (Jun 15th 2010, 12:48pm)


Supreme Member


Tuesday, June 15th 2010, 12:49pm

As you've pointed out, the "problem" is the mixing of plants that need different watering schedules.

That said, it's still do-able, and not look like a hack job, but once you have things set up it will be difficult to change things. Here's what I mean... what you'll need to do to account for the watering schedules is to determine how much water the plants are going to need in a week, and compare that to your weekly watering schedule. Then you place the appropriate size and number of drip emmitters to get the desired amount of water to the plant during the time the lawn is watered. Of course if and when you ever change the schedule, the size/count of emmitters might need to change as well.

Otherwise, the key things you need to go to drip are a pressure regulator and a filter. One plan would be to tap into your existing line, run the tap to a valve box somewhere, then place the required regulator and filter in the valve box. Then run some more pipe from the valve box to a point above ground. The way I like to do that is run 1/2" copper from the valve box to the surface, and possibly up the sides of any pots... basically use copper anywere a week wacker is likely to ever be. Then terminate the copper with a copper female, and find a drip hose connector with a PIPE Threaded male like these ( you can find at Lowe's. The thing to keep in mind is that the Drip Kits you see are usually designed to work with a garden house, and the threads on a garden hose and spickot are different that threads for pipe. As such, you would need to get filters and pressure regulators from an irrigation supply house rather than any sort of drip kit you'll find at a big box retail store. You need filters and regulators designed to go on pipe and pipe threaded connections, not garden hose threaded connections.


New Member


Wednesday, June 16th 2010, 7:22am

Thanks for your reply HooKooDooKu. If you don't mind I'd like to ask a few more questions

I'm trying to avoid going all the way back to my valve box and 2want to just tap into the line that feeds a nearby sprinkler head. Recognizing that this is not optimal (but maybe good enough) , could I tap into the 1" line, install a pressure regulator as you recommended at that point and then go out to big pots.

Are pressure regulators expensive? Assuming I can do this I could do this by tapping into two different poly pipes (on in front and one in back) and thus could get by with two pressure regulators. Does a pressure regulator work as a manifold where I can connect multiple drops

Can you point me to the hardware on this site? And what would you recommend for distribution from the pressure regulator to the pots? And what type of fittings on the end of the line at the pots themselves?

Thanks again for your help


New Member


Wednesday, June 16th 2010, 8:06am

I wanted to get a bit more specific with my question on doing this.

From the forum sponsor's site I see the following product:

06-043 DIG four outlet drip bubbler 6 GPH

  • Pressure compensating range: 10-60PSI
  • Color coded outlet barb may be removed and replaced to change flow rates.
  • Used with 1/4" distribution tubing
  • Built in screen filter and large water passage to prevent clogging

seen at

Would this work for what I want to do? Could I simply tap into the 1" poly line that feeds a zone, add a riser and this device and then use 1/4" distribution tubing to send water to my pots? Could I so this with simple 1/4" tubing that let water flow into the pots?

This post has been edited 1 times, last edit by "cbonilla" (Jun 16th 2010, 8:30am)


Supreme Member

Posts: 5,330

Location: Metro NYC


Thursday, June 17th 2010, 5:22am

Drip irrigation requires fine-mesh filtration, even on city water.


New Member


Thursday, June 17th 2010, 7:29am

Maybe I'm using terms -- "drip" -- a little too loosely. My needs would be met by a simple 1/4" hose that tapped into my existing 1" poly lines. With a valve on it I could regulate the flow "close enough." Any reason why this wouldn't work? Would it significantly affect (negatively) the sprinklers on that line to allow a little water to simply drip out. Would a valve on this line let me step it down to a gentle flow.

Would a valve like this work on the lines going to my pots?



Supreme Member


Thursday, June 17th 2010, 12:06pm

If you want to go the way of true "drip irrigation", here's an example of a pressure regulator...
... but you would need a seperate filter.

They do have this kit...
... that has the regulator and filter together, but you also have the unneeded valve (but that can be tossed). These can be purchased seperately, but I don't see where this site's sponsor sells THIS filter seperately. The filters they do have look like they are more designed for hose bibb applications that in an underground valve box.

As for the adapter you pointed out, it does have a filter in it, but it's listed as 120 mesh. Drip irrigation where you use emmitters usually require 150 mesh (higher the number the finer the mesh).

Otherwise, to combine drip irrigation with controlability, use something like these...
You twist the cap to change the flow rate... and they are better when you don't have the fine filtration like WetBoots pointed out. They also make some that can go on drip tubing like the "standard" drip irrigation emmitters. The difference is while finer drip emmitters put out .5 to 2 gph, these are more like 2 to 10 gph, and throw the water a few feet.

But basically, once you tap into an existing line, add a regulator and fine mesh filter, you then have all sorts of drip irrigation options, from those available on this sponsor's site to local big box supply houses.


New Member


Thursday, June 17th 2010, 4:44pm

Thank you all. I have ordered a variety of parts (including some parts I needed for my existing system -- it was a hard winter here!) and will report back with my success or failure.

Ordered enough parts to do the whole system (how many times have I said that?).

I'll be tapping into the existing system at three places on three different poly lines. I'll try the easiest one first (the one near the deck where the poly pipe just sits on the ground under a low deck and can be fished out by hand) before I do the others. Only $50 or so in parts, how can I go wrong?

Going for the simplest system. Tapping into an existing line and installing a 4-outlet drip bubbler and jsut letting it run when this zone operates. Running 1/4" tubing from there to the four points where I want water. Using the adjustable drip emitters that are like stakes, and trying my luck. Similar set up at two points in the front yard.


This post has been edited 1 times, last edit by "cbonilla" (Jun 17th 2010, 4:57pm)


New Member


Wednesday, June 23rd 2010, 9:59am

Just to say it worked

Yesterday I was able to install the first of the drip points to my garden pots. I used a retrofit adapter from sprinkler warehouse that allows you to replace a sprinkler head with a 4-port drip emitter. In my case I actually added a T to one of my lines where it was easily accessible (and even in the right spot). From there I ran four 1/4 inch lines to the pots on my deck. These run to simple drip stakes (the simplest kind with no drip head). I have a small valve on each line to regulate the flow as needed.

It all seems to work just fine. Yes, it only runs when that sprinkler zone runs, but I can go to the beach and not have my garden pots die. Worked well enough.

About to do the front pots. Here the poly lines are not as accessible. From another vendor I found a fitting which screws onto a shrub riser and gives a 1/4" port without costing you a sprinkler (basically an extension with a 1/4" port). Looks like it will be as easy as it comes.

Definitely "good enough"


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