How To Find Irrigation Parts & Supplies

Most do-it-yourselfers who look online for how-to's on irrigation projects are intending to do the job themselves. Some are intending to cost out the job to see if it's worth it to do it themselves. And others have no intention of doing it themselves, but neither do they want to be ripped off by a contractor charging too much for supplies.

In all three cases the availability, quality, and price of parts is key information to have. This article provides resources the price-conscious DIYer will find useful. First, a number of leading manufacturers of irrigation parts and supplies, then a couple of leading parts distributors. Let's start with a definition of irrigation.

Do It Yourself (DIY) Irrigation Project

Project: Repiping the irrigation system. The system was old and had corroded metal pipes that were wearing out. We replaced them with copper tubing, which has a really long life. We also redesigned the sprinkler valves, making them easier to reach.
Project: Repiping the irrigation system. The system was old and had corroded metal pipes that were wearing out. We replaced them with copper tubing, which has a really long life. We also redesigned the sprinkler valves, making them easier to reach. | Source

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How To Define Irrigation

Irrigation is watering plants or crops, using a distribution system that takes water to the roots of the plants. Technically, watering with a hose is irrigation. So is running water through a series of ditches, like many agriculturalists do.

In drier climates, water is usually run through irrigation pipes buried in the ground to minimize evaporation. The water passes through valves, which are controlled by timers and sent to various stations. Each station has a set of sprinklers, rotors, or bubblers that direct water to the plants (or grass). The best systems are turned on and off automatically, using one or more controllers (programmed timers) guided by the weather.

Since irrigation systems work best when they're well maintained, it's a good idea for DIYers to experiment with regular maintenance projects, so they get an idea for what they can do themselves vs. what needs to be hired out. In the process, the DIYer will be building up a basic set of tools and supplies for general maintenance, then acquiring more that are specific to each new project.

Work Table With Irrigation Parts & Supplies

It's important to gather all your parts, supplies, and tools together ahead of time. We set up a table in the middle of the lawn to hold them, which we cover at night with a tarp. Large tools are underneath.
It's important to gather all your parts, supplies, and tools together ahead of time. We set up a table in the middle of the lawn to hold them, which we cover at night with a tarp. Large tools are underneath. | Source

Hunter Industries

Hunter specializes in irrigation equipment for the landscaping and golf course industries, and for the upscale homeowner. The company started in 1981, and holds more than 250 product patents and 40 trademarks. Their first product was a compact landscape sprinkler called a "professional gear-driven popup" or PGP. Here is their product listing:

  • Pop-up, gear-driven rotors
  • Spray sprinklers and bodies
  • Broadest lineup of control valves in the industry
  • Drip and micro irrigation supplies, including new pressure-compensating emitters
  • Smart controllers that base their timing on the weather
  • Central controllers, i.e. centralized clock system that runs controllers on several different sites
  • Couplers, accessories, tools

Hunter recommends hiring one of their specialists to design the ideal irrigation system for your home. They give many tips on their website as to what to look for. They do not mention DIY projects and do not appear to sell many parts online, except sprinkler heads.

Copper Pipe Fittings

Source

Orbit Irrigation Products

Orbit has been manufacturing and distributing residential and commerical irrigation products since 1986. Orbit is the leader in the DIY irrigation industry, having captured over 60% of the market. They distribute 2,000 products to more than 40 countries, and have production facilities in China, Taiwan, and the United States. Here is a list of their product categories:

  • Watermaster sprinkler heads, timers, valves, accessories, and tools
  • Dripmaster drip lines and other drip irrigation parts for gardens and trees
  • Sunmate sprinklers, timers, nozzles, pistols, and wands - everything that hooks onto the end of a hose
  • ArizonaMist misting systems and kits that make a hot day cool

You can buy Orbit products online at Amazon.com and offline at most hardware stores, including Home Depot, Ace Hardware, Target, Costco, Walmart, True Value, Lowes, and more.

PVC Piping Elbows

Source

Saw All Or Reciprocating Saw

This saw can cut through anything, I was told. It certainly worked well for the copper pipes we used.
This saw can cut through anything, I was told. It certainly worked well for the copper pipes we used. | Source

Rain Bird Corporation

Rain Bird is a privately held company that was founded in 1933 to make irrigation products. Their 4,000 products and services serve sports arenas, golf courses, farms, commercial developments, and homes. They sell internationally to more than 130 countries.

The company's goal is to manufacture only the best, most water efficient products they can. They want their reputation to be linked with the intelligent use of water, and their vendor and customer partnerships to be long term. They offer irrigation awards, hold summits, and set up film and video competitions about the value and use of water. Their home products include:

  • Timers, controllers, valves
  • Sprinkler heads - rotors and impact nozzles
  • Drip irrigation supplies & kits
  • Sprinklers & kits for the end of the hose
  • Tools & accessories
  • Repair kits & parts
  • Advice and help with designing your own irrigation system

You can buy Rain Bird products online at their website and on Amazon.com, or in offline stores like Home Depot, Ace Hardware, OSH, True Value, and many other hardware stores.

The Toro Company

The Toro Company was created in 1914 and now sells to more than 90 countries worldwide. They have built their business and reputation on trusted customer relationships and constant innovation. Their brands include Toro, Exmark, Lawn-Boy, Irritrol, Lawn Genie, Pope, and Hayter. Each brand has its own website.

Toro sells 70% of their products to professionals (including agriculture) and 29% to residential customers. Their residential products include:

  • Rider and walker power mowers
  • Snow and leaf blowers, both electric and gas
  • Sprayers, trimmers, aerators
  • High tech water-saving irrigation systems and parts

Each brand has its online store, but they encourage you to buy in their distributorships offline to get good service and advice.

Valley Irrigation

Valley Irrigation started in 1946, as Valley Manufacturing, building farm elevators. They pioneered the manufacture of computerized pivot systems for irrigating farm crops. A subsidiary of Valmont Industries, Valley Irrigation has a Facebook page and an extensive global network of customers. Here are some of the agricultural irrigation parts and services they offer:

  • Center pivots, corners, benders, and linears
  • Drive train, flotation and traction tires to match your terrain
  • Pumps, sprinklers, and pivot parts
  • Professional repairs of all brands of pivots
  • A range of control panels, both computerized and not
  • Software that enables remote programming from Smart Phone or laptop
  • Soil moisture probes with 12 sensors
  • Consulting services for farmers in drought management and wastewater solutions

DIY farmers can find Valley supplies by locating one of their dealerships on Valley's website. They do not sell online.

Farm Pivot System

The most water efficient pivot systems are close to the ground, where water is sprayed directly on plants, rather than up higher, where it can blow off in the wind.
The most water efficient pivot systems are close to the ground, where water is sprayed directly on plants, rather than up higher, where it can blow off in the wind. | Source

Ewing Irrigation Products

Ewing started as an irrigation distributor in 1922 and now has 195 locations across the United States. They sell products from hundreds of manufacturers, including those above (except Valley). Their products include all kinds of parts and supplies for all kinds of residential, commercial, and industrial piping and landscape projects. They also include water features, lighting, and other decorative products.

You can purchase product online, but you have to log in. To help you purchase supplies, they offer a cash card or charge account. And they have a special partnership program you can check out. You can purchase offline at one of their 195 stores.

Elbows Join Different Levels of Piping

With this sprinkler pipe redesign, two copper pipes on different levels had to be soldered together with two elbows. Changing directions also requires soldering an elbow.
With this sprinkler pipe redesign, two copper pipes on different levels had to be soldered together with two elbows. Changing directions also requires soldering an elbow. | Source

Horizon Irrigation Distributors

Horizon was created in 1999 as a merger of two other companies started in the 1960s and 1970s. They are now one of the nation's largest irrigation distributors, with more than 60 locations in 11 states.

Horizon has a catalog of thousands of irrigation, landscape, outdoor living, and equipment products - too many to list here. They provide training videos and toolkits for professionals, along with other services that help professionals succeed. Although they do not sell products online, their website does help you find a local store, and you can download the catalog.

Amazon.com

Amazon.com is a huge online distributor of massive amounts of goods, including irrigation supplies. Their online store is very easy to use and buyers often get free shipping. Of the manufacturers above, here are the ones whose products Amazon sells:

  • Hunter - Very few items: A hose sprayer, a couple of rotors, a couple of simple irrigation timers
  • Orbit - Lots of things: Sprinkler heads, valves, manifolds, controllers and sensors, repair kits, hose connectors, drip irrigation kits and nozzles, hose sprinklers and sprayers, and more
  • Rain Bird - Lots of things: Sprinkler head packs, rotors, dripline hoses and couplings, as well as kits, elbows and connectors, valves, pressure gauges, controllers, manifolds, fittings, and more
  • Toro - A few sprinkler heads, but mostly equipment, rather than parts
  • Valley - A few nozzles and many hand spray guns

Where Do The Irrigation Manufacturers Sell?

Manufacturer
Online
Own Dealers or Distributors
Popular Hardware Stores
Hunter Industries
 
X
 
Orbit Irrigation Products
X
 
X
Rain Bird Corporation
X
 
X
The Toro Company
X
X
 
Valley Irrigation
 
X
 
 
 
 
 
DIY parts and supplies are found most easily at popular hardware stores, like Home Depot. But because Ewing and Horizon specialize in irrigation supplies they are the best places to buy, ask for advice, and strategize on projects.

Irrigation Association (IA)

Many irrigation professionals are also DIYers. For support to irrigation companies and professionals, this leading association founded in 1949 is unmatched in the United States. To their 1,500 irrigation company and professional members they offer the following:

  • A recognized IA certificate for irrigation skills.
  • Courses and seminars on irrigation topics, most of which contribute CEU's (Continuing Education Units) to those aiming for an irrigation certificate or who are keeping up their requirements (akin to teachers who are required by law to refresh their skills through ongoing education).
  • A section for latest policies and regulations that affect the irrigation industry.
  • An irrigation "museum" online with stories and photos about the history of irrigation, including links to original equipment manufacturers.
  • Every November the IA holds an irrigation tradeshow that draws up to 4,000 participants to browse 300+ exhibits, listen to speakers from all over the world, and take classes for certification credits.
  • An Irrigation Foundation that promotes the industry to young people looking for a career.

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3 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

Good info for anyone into self-sufficiency as I am. Thank you and I promise to put this to good use.


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Awesome information. Which would you lean towards for hydroponics?


watergeek profile image

watergeek 2 years ago Author

Thanks guys! Billybuc, best of luck. Eric, Hydrofarm seems to be a popular seller on Amazon. They've been in business for 35+ years: http://www.hydrofarm.com/index.php

That said, here are a couple more links for you. The first is a great learning site for hydroponics. It has links to different kinds of systems and manufacturers who make them: http://www.hydroponics.net/learn/

This is a manufacturer they don't list, maybe because they started out more commercial (1984): http://www.amhydro.com/

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