A soaker hose is similar to that of an ordinary garden hose but has small pores throughout the length and is closed on one end. The water seeps into the soil through the perforations of the soaker hose. The porous hose when placed on the ground in the garden or lawn supplies water continuously in a slow and steady pace. Soaker hoses are mostly made of rubber and polyethylene plastic. However, BPA free ones are now on offer in the market for eco-friendly gardeners.
Soaker hoses are often referred to as the poor ‘man’s drip irrigation system for the low set-up and installation costs. There are several benefits of installing soaker hoses in your garden.
- The porous hoses supply water to the plants at the ground level which prevents plants from growing fungus and foliage.
- The soaker pipe is easy to install and can instantly put to use by connecting to a faucet and spreading across the garden.
- Most of the soaker hose pipes do not need power regulators as the water pressure can be regulated at the source of water supply by opening or closing.
- The low installation costs of the soaker hose make it economical for average home gardens and can conserve water to a reasonable extent when combined with timers.
Did you know you can even make your own soaker hose? We’ve got a tutorial for making one out of PVC right here.
Gauging Water Consumption
Apart from the benefits, soaker hoses do suffer from a few limitations, but they do not seem to overshadow benefits. But one significant question people do forget to consider the amount of water that soaker hose uses.
In developed countries, water consumption is taxed. Hence it is crucial to evaluate the water consumption of soaker hose, to decide whether the installation actually proves to be economical or not for the gardener or homeowner.
Soaker hoses are popular among homeowners and gardeners with average length gardens because of their water efficiency. However, the question cannot be answered in a straight forward way as the water consumption of a soaker hose depends on few variable factors. However, it can be easily calculated based on the pressure of water, size and the length of the hose. Soak hose use can be calculated either per minute or per hour.
The flow rate decreases with the increase in the length of the hose. If you are not sure of calculating it on your own, then there are online calculators to help you.
The soaker hoses are durable and non-collapsible with variable lengths between 50 and 100. One can buy a soaker hose of 100ft, 75ft, 50ft or 25ft depending on your requirements. Water consumption can be conserved using pressure regulators, adjustable adapters and timers.
Here is one of the most common pressure regulators on Amazon, as you can see they are quite affordable.
The factors that water consumption of a soaker hose depends on are plant size, type of plants, garden structure, and the area of the garden. There are two types of soakers hoses available on the market; ½ inch and ¼ inch.
The flow regulator inside the soaker hose regulates the water flow. However, it is advisable to connect a pressure regulator to prevent backflow and leakage. The device is crucial for soaker hose, as it works efficiently at low pressures, as the higher water pressure can sometimes result in pipe bursts.
Do Soaker Hoses Save Water?
A soaker hose is a poor man’s drip irrigation system which will help in saving time, money, efforts and water. The hose is similar to that of a regular watering hose but has holes punctured evenly for the water to leak and has one end closed. The porous hoses are ideal for small and average gardens and free you from carrying heavy hoses until the end of the garden for watering the plants.
The hose is left on the ground near the roots for watering the plants and does not spray water on leaves and stem unlike sprinklers thus preventing fungus growth. The water leaked from the pores is good enough to keep the ground under the plant, moist round the clock preventing water logging or drying of the soil.
Watering the plants using a soaker hose saves water consumption when used along with timers. The timers control turn the water supply on/off depending on the settings.
You do have to periodically check your soaker hoses for blockages and even water distribution but they do run relatively passively once you have them installed.
Using a Soaker Hose to Conserve Water
A soaker hose is used for saving water, as the water is supplied directly to the roots of the plant instead of wasting it by spraying into the air. The dripping water system of the soaker hose facilitates water conservation as there are less evaporation and over-spraying.
Here are few tips for saving water using a soaker hose:
- A soaker hose will work efficiently on a leveled ground than on uneven grounds. So make sure that the land is leveled when using this hose.
- Choosing the right length of soaker hose will prevent water circulation and leakage from unused length. Hence, next time purchase a soaker hose with the range that is perfect for your garden size.
- Attaching water timers to the soaker hose will ensure that your garden gets enough water and not excess or less and conserves water.
How Much Area Do Soaker Hoses Effectively Water?
How much area do soaker hoses effectively water is the most common question asked by the homeowners and small gardeners? Although one cannot accurately mention that a soaker hose can serve a specific length of the garden, but can help small and average length gardens.
However, the efficiency of the soaker hose in medium and large sized gardens can be ensured using a pressure regulator. A pressure regulator attached to the hose with a setting of 10 or 12 psi can provide the right amount of water supply to the garden. However, this can be checked at regular intervals by digging a spot near the roots of the plants. The plant’s roots area should be half-covered with water when water is run for 40 minutes with a pressure of 10 or 12 psi.
Soaker houses work efficiently for average and small sized gardens with a leveled ground. The start-up cost of soaker hose is low and installing the hose is easy and just needs snaking around the plant beds. Raised beds are ideal for soaker hoses.
Can Soaker Hoses Be Connected Together Without Changing Water Output?
Another commonly asked question about soaker hoses is whether the hoses can be attached together to cover the length of the garden without changing the water output.
Yes, soaker hoses can be connected together using hose connecting screws to make the length of the hose to fit your garden length. However, the maximum length of all the connected hoses should not be more than 100ft.
If you intend the hose to serve different directions of the garden, then you can use hose splitters to save on the length of the hose. If the faucet is far away from the plant bed, then an ordinary garden hose can be used for connecting the soaker hose from the faucet to the garden bed. This will save on the soaker hose length and also water.
Here is our post reviewing a few of the best (and longest) hoses on the market that can all be used to connect a soaker system to a far away faucet.
Two plant beds separated by a lawn or a piece of the paved path then running a regular hose in this area is the best way to save water and soaker hose length.
How Much Pressure is Needed to Use a Soaker Hose?
As discussed, earlier soaker hose works efficiently at low water pressure and high water pressure can often result in bursting of the pipe. Installing the backflow regulator can facilitate water conservations and at the same adequate watering of the plant beds. The pressure regulator attached to the hose when being set at 10 or 12 psi should work efficiently.
But if you are unsure whether the pressure set is watering the plant beds sufficiently or not, you can test it by checking the water distributed in the first 3ft and last 3 ft of the hose. If there is a lot of difference in the quantity of water delivered, then you may need to recheck the entire system. However, it is recommended to maintain low pressure as high water pressure results in bursting of the pipe which can sometimes uproot the plants or cause severe damage.
See this post for some ideas on how to increase your outdoor water pressure.
Are All Soaker Hoses the Same?
Now that we have discussed everything crucial related to soaker hoses, it is essential to know which type best suits your garden requirements. But before deciding on the type of soaker hose, it is crucial to understand whether all soaker hoses are the same or are there different types available on the market.
Although all the soaker hose types work the same way, there are different types made of different material on offer in the market.
The Most Common Types of Soaker Hoses
Plastic or Vinyl Soaker Hoses
Soaker hoses made of plastic or vinyl are more affordable for homeowners when compared to heavy rubber ones. However, one cannot guarantee the quality as plastic and vinyl are the most inferior materials of all used for soaker hoses. These hoses are perforated throughout the length and come in variable lengths of 25ft, 50ft, 75ft, and 100ft. The diameter of the hose ranges from ½ inch to ¾ inch. One major disadvantage of plastic and vinyl soaker hose is that they tend to break when exposed to extreme hot or cold weather conditions.
Fibrous Soaker Hose
Soaker hoses made of rubber material is robust and last for a longer time when compared to plastic and vinyl material. The fibrous material is sturdy and can withstand the rough conditions of the garden. The holes punched into the hose allows water to seep slowly into the soil. The fibrous rubber hose is priced a little higher than the plastic/ vinyl hose but is worth the money.
Soak and Spray
The soak and spray soaker hose do two watering jobs simultaneously. The soaker hose when left on the plant bed soaks the ground below the plant in the water at the same time sprays the water upward onto the plants nearby. The height of the spray can be adjusted by adjusting the pressure. One good thing about this is that there is no fear of pipe bursting at even high-water pressure as spraying will relieve the pressure of the hose.
Sprinkler type of soaker hose features an oval-shaped hose on which a line of perforations is made. The hose when laid on the ground, the water is sprayed onto the plants through the holes. The pressure of the water controls the height of the spray. The hose can be turned into a soaker hose when turned around.
Soaker hoses are known for water conservation and the efficient watering of plants in small gardens. Low set-up cost, easy installation and improved water conservation makes them popular among households and small gardens.