Now is the time of year to think about turning off your sprinkler system, if you haven’t already. Remember, it’s about to be winter, plants go dormant, we’re having regular rainfall, cooler temps… you know all this.
So, it may seem like a strange time to think about sprinklers, but I wanted to see if you knew the City’s water conservation program offers rebates on various items to help make your sprinkler system more efficient? One of those items is a smart, weather-based controller.
So, what is a smart controller? Simply put, it’s a controller that takes into account the current weather, the weather forecast, the type of sprinkler head (drip, spray, rotor, etc), the plant material (grass, shrubs, trees, etc), and probably the slope of the yard, and the soil type to come up with a watering schedule that is truly personalized for your yard. No more guessing how much time you need to set for each station!
The smart controller will come up with a personalized schedule, though it probably will need some tweaks. Full-disclosure, I installed a smart controller at my own house back in March or April of this year. However, with all the rain this spring, it didn’t actually run until July and at that point I really thought is was watering some areas way too long. I had to go into the application on my phone and adjust some settings to reduce watering time. However, I will say that my highest water bill this summer was in August for 8,200 gallons–so not bad at all! The smart controller I have estimates the amount of water used (in gallons) each time it waters, and the numbers it was reporting for my yard were very high. The estimate of gallons used isn’t too accurate in my case.
But, back to the point; really, it’s ideal to water when the plants actually NEED the water, not just because it’s a Wednesday (or whatever day of the week your controller is set for). AND, since we’re not in water restrictions, this is the ideal time to try out one of these controllers. The controller will determine when it’s best to water and for how long, although they all have options to select specific days to water if/when we are under water restrictions. Maybe all the zones won’t be watered on the same day, that’s the beauty of these controllers. It’s watering to the plant, not to a schedule.
Many smart controllers are also designed to be used over WiFi: on home computers, phones, tablets…which may make it easier to control and set up. No more trying to figure out all those buttons, knobs, and programs! Through the internet connection, or an on-site weather station, they determine the current weather conditions to come up with the watering schedule.
If your interested has been peaked in smart controller, visit the WaterSense website to learn more, and find a list of WaterSense approved controllers, that are also eligible for the City’s irrigation rebate. The rebate expires when funding runs out, but I don’t anticipate that happening any time before August 2016.
Let’s start watering smart in 2016!