Just Passing Through: Choosing The Right Filters For Your Irrigation System

Whether you manage a small vegetable garden or acres upon acres of commercial farmland, installing irrigation systems on your growing land can be a tremendously effective way to increase your yields and protect your plants against the brutal Australian summers. However, any irrigation system is only effective if the water it distributes is clean and uncontaminated, and filtration systems are a vital component in even the smallest sprinkler system.

If you are constructing a new irrigation system or refurbishing an existing one, choosing which type of water filter to install in your system can be challenging; there are a number of different filter types available, each with their own distinct strengths and weaknesses. To help you make the right decision, take stock of the following pros and cons of each filter type:

Screen filters

The simplest, cheapest and most common type of irrigation filter around, these simple filters consist of interlaced and finely-woven fibres contained within a rigid housing. When water passes through these filters, solid particles of detritus and contaminants are removed.

These filter types are ideal for applications where removing solid matter from your water supply, such as loose soil and fertilisers, is vital to the health of your plants. They are also prized for how easy they are to remove and clean, and their low price means they can be replaced regularly without eating into your budget. However, these filters tend to be quite fragile, and can be rendered useless if they are heavily damaged by stones or other hard materials passing through your system.

Media filters

These filters consist of a sizeable container of solid filtration media (usually sand, but sometimes charcoal or other natural filtration materials), through which water is forced when the irrigation system is activated. Water is allowed to pass through the media, while solid contaminants are removed.

Media filters are very inexpensive to purchase, and the natural nature of the materials they use make them a highly environmentally-friendly choice. Most media filters need little more than a supply of sharp sand to operate properly. You should bear in mind, however, that these filters are quite difficult and messy to empty and maintain.

Disc filters

These unusual filters contain a number of discs which are pressed together inside a singular housing. These discs sport tiny, sharp spikes, and as the water passes through the gaps between the discs these spikes serve to catch and retain particulate matter.

Disc filters are capable of extremely fine filtration, and are ideal for removing finer materials such as sand and brick dust from your irrigation water supply. Though they are somewhat more complex than other common filter types, they can be easily cleaned by simply reversing the water flow through your irrigation system, reducing the need for messy and tiresome manual cleaning. If your disc filter becomes damaged, however, they can be difficult to repair and will usually have to be replaced.