Now is a great time to replace the back-up battery inside your irrigation controller. What? You didn’t know there WAS a battery (or place) for a battery in your control box, since it is plugged into the wall?!?! Well…you’re not the only one!! Most people don’t realize there is a place for you to install a 9-volt battery in the controller.
A back-up battery will not operate your controller, however, it will hold your program settings in case of a power outage. If (really, we should say when) your controller loses power and you have no battery, or a dead battery, many controllers will reset to factory default program settings. Default settings will vary by brand and model, but often times they will be 10 minutes/zone, 7 days/week, with multiple start times. Unfortunately, people usually don’t realize this has occurred until they receive the high water bill, which could be 30 days down the road. You can prevent that from happening by installing a back-up battery.
The battery spot is usually behind the controller face in most brands of controllers (Hunter, Rainbird, and Irritrol or Rain Dial are all like this). See the pictures. You simply need to “open” or flip over the face of the controller. There are little finger grooves to the right-side of the controller face that allows you to open and turn it, much like turning the page of a book. There will be a little pocket for the battery to connect into. Most controllers require a 9-volt battery.
So, when replacing your smoke detector batteries annually, I recommend you add the irrigation controller battery to the list! This may save you money, frustration, and some water down the road.