How to clean clogged drippers

clogged drippersDrippers are very sensitive to pollution. Pollution in the drippers causes water flow differences, which has a negative effect on the quality of the crop. Therefore, it is important to clean clogged drippers as quickly as possible to prevent production losses. In this article our specialist explains how to clean clogged drippers.

Flow

A completely clogged dripper can no longer be unclogged. Therefore, first check whether there is still flow. If there is flow, the cleaning product can be sprayed through the dripper and the dripper can therefore be cleaned. If there is flow, check the degree of contamination to determine how you can clean the drippers.

Checking for contamination

You can check drippers for contamination by checking the filters. You can also open an end cap of a semi-line or dripping hose for control. Then hold a measuring cup or sieve underneath. Any dirt is then collected, so you can determine the degree of contamination.

Cleaning clogged drippers

Once you have determined the degree of contamination, you can start cleaning the clogged drippers:
  • If the drippers are slightly contaminated, use Huwa-San to remove the dirt. Observe 30 - 40 millilitres per m³. Spout regularly. 
  • If the drippers are quite contaminated, use a lower dosage of 20 - 30 millilitres of Huwa-San per m³. Check daily for loose dirt and sludge. 
  • If the drippers are seriously contaminated, there is a high risk of blockages. In this case, consult a specialist and make an action plan in consultation with him. 

Cleaning blocked drippers during the crop rotation

For the cleaning of blocked drippers during the crop rotation, you could also follow the cleaning advice of supplier Revaho:
  • In case of fertilizer precipitation: use a concentration of 2 to 3 liters of nitric acid (38% solution) per 100 liters of water, during a maximum of 12 hours. The pH to be reached is dependent on the outlet water, but should not be later than pH 2). 
  • In case of organic pollution: use a peroxide agent. Ask the supplier of the agent for the required concentrations, because peroxide agents can consist of different ingredients. In case of drippers with a silicon membrane or without membrane you can also use chlorine bleach lye. When doing this, stick to 3 liters per 100 liters of water (15% solution) during a maximum of 12 hours. 
  • Make sure that acid and chlorine do not come in contact with each other.
  • Suction is effective only for the cleaning of drippers without a sealing function. 
  • Increasing pressure is effective only for the cleaning of drippers without membrane.
In this case, consider the following points of attention:
  • Thoroughly rinse the system using clean water, before, between and after the treatments.
  • Start with the main pipe, then the supply line and finally the irrigation tubes.
  • Ensure that the fixed pH- and EC-meters do not come into contact with the cleaning agents.
  • Ensure that the (concentrated) cleaning agents do not come into contact with the crop.
  • See to it that the cleaning agents are removed from the drippers by administering short service using clean water after every few hours.
  • During repletion, check if the acid or the chlorine bleach lye has reached the last dripper.
  • Pollutions by sand, rust and/or (PVC)grindings, cannot be removed from the drippers. Replacement of the polluted drippers is the only option.
  • When in doubt, contact Revaho for the correct advice. 

Overview cleaning agent per Netafim dripper

In below overview the available cleaning agent per type of Netafim dripper is shown.
DripperAcidPeroxideChlorineIncrease pressureSuction
Kameleon (high)+++/-*--
CNL+++/-*--
Water spin+++--
Woodpecker+++x+
Cobra+++x+
Capinet+++x+
Capillair+++x+
+: well possible -: not possible +/-: possible, depending on type x: limited risk

*Kameleon(-high), CNL with silicon membrane can be cleaned with chlorine. The silicon membrane is transparent (Kameleon, Kameleon-High) or colored (CNL). All kameleon drippers with a colored bottom side have silicon membranes. Black membranes are made of EPDM-material (before 2002) and cannot be cleaned with chlorine agents. 

Preventing blockage

Prevention is better than cure. That is why it is important to clean the drip system regularly. In this way you can remove (most of) the pollution and prevent blockages. You can clean the drip system both during and after cultivation. It is also important to spray regularly in between to remove any loose dirt.


Questions about cleaning clogged drippers
Do you have any questions about cleaning clogged drippers, or would you like to get advice? Please contact product specialist Jan Willem Keijzer, or ask your question using the form below.

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