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What is a Swing Pipe?

By Emma G.
Updated May 17, 2024
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A swing pipe, sometimes called a funny pipe, is used in sprinkler irrigation systems to connect pop-up sprayer heads to underground pipe lines. Swing pipe is made of polyethylene, the plastic most commonly used to make plastic shopping bags. It is flexible, allowing full movement of the sprayer head. This kind of pipe can handle water loads reaching up to 10 gallons (about 38 liters) per minute.

Sprinkler irrigation systems often use pop-up sprayer heads to deliver water to the garden or lawn being irrigated. These systems are made up of three basic components: buried water pipe lines, the pop-up sprayers and swing pipe that connects the two. The swing pipe is held in place using barbed fittings or clamps instead of glue. This makes it much easier to install than other pipes since there is no mess or dry time to worry about. The barbed fittings are just screwed into the end of a pipe and then another pipe is screwed into the end of the fitting, creating a watertight seal that will not pull apart.

Since swing pipe is flexible, it can be used even in areas where space is limited. For instance, this type of pipe works well when the sprayer must be installed near an existing wall or landscaping element. It allows the sprayer head to move without putting any pressure on the buried water pipe lines.

Pop-up sprayer irrigation systems are often used on golf courses and other large lawn areas. These spaces generally see heavy traffic both from people and equipment. Golf carts, lawns mowers and other such large equipment may pass through the irrigation area on a regular basis.

When rigid pipe has been used to connect the sprayer head to the water line, pressure exerted on the head could break not just the head but the connection and the line as well. This can lead to costly and time-consuming repairs when the whole line has to be dug up and replaced. Swing pipe allows the sprayer head to move independent of the water line; the sprayer can be stepped on or run over without breaking the buried water lines.

Another advantage to using swing pipe rather than rigid plastic tubing is that it allows flexibility. During the installation process, the flexible pipe allows installers to move the pop-up sprayer up and down without cutting a new pipe. It also allows installers to easily add new sprayers to existing sprinkler systems.

It is possible to buy swing pipe as part of a flexible swing assembly. These devices consist of a length of pipe with a fitting on either end. They are installed by connecting one fitting to the water pipe and the other to the sprinkler head.

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