Looking for Leaks in Hydroponic Equipment
When you work with water, pumps, and pressure, you’re eventually going to have leaks. The risk of springing a leak in your hydro system can be mitigated, however, by identifying the most susceptible areas and sticking to an inspection schedule.
One of the biggest issues that you can have with your indoor hydroponic set-up has to do with water: leaks. Leaks can be a pain. When they occur, leaks create slipping hazards, wastewater and nutrients, and take effort to clean-up. While high-pressure systems are more likely to leak than low-pressure systems because of the pump pressure used, leaks are possible in any set-up because you’re working with water. Here are some common areas you can experience leaks and how to keep them from leaking in the future.
Growing reservoirs may experience leaking when you use a deep water culture set-up or similar systems. This issue can happen if you have many roots and a smaller reservoir. It’s important to have a reservoir big enough to handle what you’re growing in addition to the amount of solution that needs to be run through the system. You also must keep in mind the roots themselves can become clogs that cause leaks and other issues.
Also, depending on what your grow set-up is made of, you may have areas that get weakened over time due to the pressure of the water and, possibly, the roots. Wear and tear can happen, and over time, even the most durable materials can be weakened under the strain caused by the water and weight. You’ll want to keep an eye on your reservoirs for any potential issues. When you find a weakened area, assess it to see if there’s a way that you can shore it up or repair it.
The hose fittings on your spray or drip system need to stay tightly in place. However, the pressure of the pump can cause them to weaken or move over time. They can even eventually become disconnected. This type of leak can be a big mess to handle. You may find it necessary to set a regular maintenance schedule to keep them staying secure and in good condition or replacing the fittings when needed.
The size of your pipes may also cause some issues with leaking with your hydroponic system. Going too small with your pipes to save money may result in your system having leaks, which can evaporate any savings gained from having smaller pipes. Pipe size can also be an issue if you have vigorous roots that are able to get into them.
Power issues are another factor that you need to watch when it comes to leaks. If your hydroponic system loses power, this can cause your solution to drain back into your nutrient reservoir. Not having the power necessary to push the water and nutrients to your plants can be a leaking hazard if your reservoir isn’t big enough to accommodate all the solution coming back at it. You’ll experience an overflow of all that excess liquid.
The key is to always to be vigilant. Check out the different areas where leaks can happen, including all junctions, fittings, and connections. Also look for places where cracking may occur or for parts that may slip from where they should be. There are some things that you may not have control over, such as power outages, but looking over your system often can help you to prevent many of the leaks that could turn into real issues for your hydroponic growing set-up. Keep your expensive water and nutrient solution in your system by identifying potential problem areas and by creating a maintenance inspection schedule and sticking to it.
Written by Shannon McKee | Freelance Writer, Gardener
Shannon McKee lives in Ohio and has been a freelance writer for several years now, including on her blog, whyiwah.blogspot.com. Nicknamed by loved ones a garden hoarder over the past few years, she grows a wide variety of plants in her urban garden.