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All About Swing Pipes and Usage in Irrigation Systems

All About Swing Pipes and Usage in Irrigation Systems

Dec 11th 2023

A swing pipe, also called a funny pipe, is used to connect pop-up sprayer heads to lateral pipelines in sprinkler irrigation systems. Sprinkler systems use sprayer heads to deliver water to a garden or lawn. The key to quickly installing a sprinkler system is using a swing pipe. This is the basic and essential component of this system that connects the pop-up sprayers to underground pipelines.

In this guide, you will learn all about swing pipes, their installation process, advantages, and applications in irrigation systems to make your life easier. Let's begin!

What is a Swing Pipe?

Swing pipe or funny pipe is flexible tubing that is made from a high-quality form of polyethylene. If they are installed above ground, UVA and UVB rays won't harm them. This type of pipe connects pop-up sprinkler heads and rotors to underground poly pipelines in an irrigation system.

Swing pipes can be efficiently used in areas that are confined or restricted because of hardscaping or water meters that can't be moved before irrigation system installation. Its flexibility allows the complete movement of spray heads. Swing pipes are capable of handling water loads of up to 10 gallons per minute. These pipes cost a bit more than regular PVC pipes. However, its durability and flexibility make the investment worthwhile.

What are Swing Assemblies?

Swing pipes are also used to create swing assemblies. You can buy a swing pipe as a flexible swing assembly. Swing assemblies allow easy, controlled movement of spray heads. They are reliable, low-cost, and flexible connections that connect heads to lateral pipes. They are made up of a length of swing pipe with threads on both ends. Swing assemblies are installed by connecting one fitting to the sprinkler head and one to the water pipeline.

If you are having problems determining the correct riser length and are having trouble installing sprinklers to the proper finish grade, swing pipe assemblies or swing joints are the perfect solution. It allows you to adjust your sprinkler to the appropriate height and placement. Swing assemblies prevent heads or pipelines from being damaged when lawn equipment passes over them. Additionally, they make installation of sprinklers on slopes fast and easy. Their adjustable nature makes them perfect to use in landscapes with irregular terrains.

Applications of Swing Pipe

  • Swing pipes are used to connect pop-up sprinklers to lateral irrigation lines.
  • You can use a swing pipe in areas with limited space and heavy traffic.
  • Use swing pipes in golf courses and large lawn areas where humans and the use of heavy equipment are common. Golf carts, bicycles, and lawnmowers may pass through these areas on a regular basis.
  • Swing pipes work well when the sprinklers need to be installed near the wall or any landscaping element. Its flexibility allows the head to move freely without putting pressure on the water pipeline.

Swing Pipe Fittings and Tools

Using a swing pipe while installing your sprinkler system will simplify your task and reduce the time, cost, and tools needed to complete the job. To begin the installation process, you must ensure you have all the tools on hand to install your sprinkler heads with swing pipes correctly.

Here are the tools you will need to install sprinkler heads using swing pipe:

  • Swing pipe itself
  • Shovel
  • Pipe cutter or sharp knife to adjust pipe length.
  • Swing pipe fittings or special barb fittings to use in conjunction with swing pipe.

No glue is required to secure fittings. However, it's optional to use thread sealant tape otherwise known as Teflon tape on fitting threads.

How to Install Sprinkler Heads with a Swing Pipe?

  • First, make sure you have a landscape design and layout plan for your sprinkler system before you start digging.
  • Next, maintain the proper distance between sprinkler heads to ensure head-to-head coverage.
  • Start digging a trench with a shovel according to plan. At sprinkler head locations, remember to leave plenty of space for the swing pipe.
  • After digging all the trenches, place lateral PVC pipe into the trench. This is the pipe that will be connected to your swing pipe.
  • From there, locate points where you will have a sprinkler head. Measure distances between the head and length of the required swing pipe.
  • Cut the swing pipe accordingly and install it into the trench.
  • In colder climates, it is easier to install fittings if the swing pipe is slightly warm. You can place the pipe in the sun or on asphalt to soften it.
  • Connect the swing pipe with PVC pipe using barb fittings or swing pipe fittings on both ends. Fittings have barbs that firmly grab the walls of funny pipes and secure the connection.
  • If you want to use thread sealant tape, use it on the barb fitting. Screw the fitting into the PVC pipe and another into the sprinkler head base.
  • Repeat these installation steps for every swing pipe you install on your sprinkler heads.

Advantages of Swing Pipe

There are multiple advantages of using a swing pipe in your sprinkler irrigation system. Swing pipes are more durable than alternative options available for irrigation systems. When the rigid pipe is used to connect the sprinkler head to the pipeline, pressure applied to the head can break the head, connection, and even the water line.

When the entire water line needs to be dug up and replaced, this can result in time-consuming and expensive repair. With swing pipe, heads can move independently of the pipeline and can be stepped on without damaging the buried pipelines.

Another benefit of using a swing pipe compared to rigid tubing is its flexibility. Most pipes are either flexible or durable, but not both. The swing pipe is highly durable and flexible, allowing the installer to move the sprayer up and down easily without cutting a pipe.

Due to its flexibility, you can run the pipe easily from an above-ground sprinkler down to PVC piping despite the terrain. As a result of this, you can make seamless adjustments to your head placement. Also, it allows you to easily add new sprayer heads to the existing sprinkler system.

The Bottom Line

Swing pipes are durable and flexible tubing options to use in sprinkler irrigation systems. With swing pipes, you will save money and time because you won't have to worry about frequent repairs and replacements in the future. With the right tools, essential guidance, and swing piping, you can install your own sprinkler heads easily and keep your landscape hydrated.

At DripWorks, we carry a comprehensive selection of high-quality components for sprinkler irrigation systems. Explore our range of irrigation supplies and get the one that best suits your needs!