Unlike other drip irrigation systems that rely upon connection to an outside tap – see drip irrigation systems on Amazon UK – Irrigatia automatic watering systems are designed to be used with any water storage system – most commonly water butts if used at home.
We decided to test the Irrigatia Sol K12 system at home to water our patio pots.
There were two reasons for this:
- To water our plants when we go away on holiday
- To save us time on a daily basis
Since installing the system, we’ve also noticed that our plants look healthier. We think this is because the Irrigatia Sol K12 releases water gradually throughout the day, meaning they never dry out.
The Irrigatia Drip Irrigation System
The Irrigatia system works in a very simple way. Within the body of the unit there is a small diaphragm pump that sucks water out of a water butt or other reservoir, and pumps this water through the drip irrigation system. The system can pump upwards enabling it to water hanging baskets.
Perhaps best of all, the Irrigatia system is 100% powered by the sun. On the outside of the body are solar panels to harvest the sun’s energy, which is then stored in rechargeable batteries contained inside the pump unit. The sunnier a day, the more the batteries are charged, leading to the batteries providing more power to the pump. This means that the system automatically provides more water on sunny days when plants need it most.
At the time of creating this video, Irrigatia are selling the Irrigatia Sol K12, and the new model, the Irrigatia Sol C12, aimed at the patio watering market of up to five large hanging baskets, or 12 ten litre pots.
The main difference is that the newer model contains a night mode sensor that turns off the pump at night. Good if the pump will be situated below a bedroom window. Perhaps most useful is a water level sensor that switches the pump off if it detects that the level in the water reservoir is too low – helping to protect the pump.
Our water butts are replenished from a drain pipe that collects water from the roof of the house.
We’ve connected two water butts together using their taps to provide a reservoir of 400 litres, and in dry hot weather we estimate that we could leave the Irrigatia Sol K12 system running for 3 to four weeks with no care or maintenance.
Installation of the Irrigatia system is quite straightforward. First step is deciding where to site the pump body with the solar panels. This needs to be near the water source, and not in shade. It is possible to purchase additional plastic pipe to enable you to put the pump body in a sunny part of the garden.
After mounting the unit, the next step is to connect the unit to the water reservoir, ensuring that there is enough length of pipe to reach down to the bottom of the water storage.
The water out tube is then connected to the pump. Like nearly all other drip irrigation systems, it requires you to create a network of pipe and drippers in a chain to water all your pots.
The Irrigatia Sol K12 comes with 12 drippers and 15m of tube to enable you to do this. The pipe is simply cut with scissors, and using the supplied tee joints, it is possible to make branches off the main supply tube to water each pot.
For more flexibility it is possible to purchase additional pipe, drippers, and tees online – as well as drip hose. This would give even great control over water usage by giving larger pots more drippers, and hence more water.
Once installed, for the first few days we regularly checked the drippers to check that they were watering correctly. An easy test is to place a jam jar at the end of a dripper to collect the water.
We found it took 24 hours before the system was working properly, probably because it took this long for the batteries to be fully charged by the sun.
We also experimented with turning up and down the pump output. There are five settings available using the control knob on the side of the pump unit. For our set up the recommended mid-setting works just fine.
Since installing the system a couple of months ago we have not experienced any problems, and our flowers are blooming.
Only time will tell how long the pump unit, and other components will last, but it is possible to buy spare parts, as well as extension kits, online.
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