Suction cups, insurance to maintain the performance of your installation
The suction cups, despite being one of the smallest elements of the installation, have a fundamental function for optimum performance. This is due to the presence of air in piping, filtering and pumping systems, which can lead to load losses and malfunctions of the different elements, as well as the dreaded conduction breaks.
In comparison with the rest of the elements of the installation, the suction cups involve a small investment. However, not carrying it out or misplacing the suction cups in the installation can make a big difference in efficiency, even reaching the stop of the installation or causing breakage of other elements.
Air is always present in pressure irrigation installations. Therefore, having suction cups and their correct disposition will make the difference between having an efficient irrigation or not.
Due to this, the suction cups not only protect us against yield losses, but also against other possible costs derived from the maintenance or change of those elements affected by the air present in the drip irrigation installation.
What problems can cause the presence of air in pressure irrigation networks?
The air present in the irrigation facilities tends to be grouped in the highest areas of the installation (due to the difference in density with water). The air – unlike water – is compressed, so that in the accumulation zones it results in:
- Point overpressures in accumulation areas, causing breakage.
- Depressions in pipes: At the time of emptying of the pipes, a vacuum is caused that can cause crushing of the pipes.
- Limitation (partial or total) of water circulation.
- Loss of efficiency in key elements such as filtration or pumping.
- Cavitation in other elements of the installation.
- Reduced in the measurement accuracy of the flow and wear of the meters, in particular of their moving parts.
All these problems translate into a decrease in the performance of the installation that leads us to an increase in the irrigation costs of our crop, as well as an increase in costs in the maintenance and change of elements of the irrigation installation.
How is air introduced into a pressure irrigation installation?
Air is an element that is always present in irrigation facilities. From the first commissioning of the installation until in its normal operation. Even the water we drink from the source also has dissolved air in its composition.
Therefore, and to properly install the suction cups of our irrigation network, it is important to know when air is introduced into our irrigation:
- Air dissolved in water taken from canals, rafts, supply network, etc.
- Vortices can be created during the suction process of the water from the source and, with it, air can be introduced into our installation.
- The changes of slopes in the pipes cause changes in pressure in the circulating water. These sudden pressure changes cause a release of dissolved air in the water that leads to the formation of air pockets.
Where do I install the suction cups in a pressure irrigation installation?
All of the above leads us to the conclusion that it is essential to have suction cups for the removal of that air in our irrigation network that can lead to loss of efficiency. However, it is as important to have quality suction cups as their correct location throughout our installation.
Thus, the key points where we must have a suction cup to protect the entire irrigation system from the effects of air are:
- High points of the irrigation facilities for better purging.
- Slope Changes If the slope changes are prolonged, it is recommended to install a suction cup every 400-1,000 meters.
- In case the pipe rises above ground level.
- Large branches with uniform slope and pipes in underground irrigation.
- High pumping points and cavitation zones.
- At the entrance of the measuring instruments as counters to avoid errors and prolong their useful life.
- Downstream of pressure reducing valves (pressure reduction releases dissolved air in the water).
- Before reductions in pipe diameters.
- In the upper part of filtering systems that incorporate collectors.
On each side of the crosses below roads.
Recommended use of suction cups: In high points to facilitate the filling of pipes, before measuring devices (meters), filters and every 400 meters in conduits with uniform slope.