I thought the Rachio might be a good upgrade to my current intelligent controller . . . since it is not cloud based and had no iOS app. I loved my old controller and it saved me thousands of dollars in water cost, but it just wasn’t as user friendly as a cloud based unit. In the last two days I have spoken to Rachio support no less than 4 times. I have identified several major shortcomings with the Rachio software/device and I think it is going back to Home Depot in the AM.
First, and most troubling is the telephone support. Of the four calls I made to support, on three of the calls, I knew more about the software and hardware from reading the support articles than the agent I was speaking to did. They just didn’t have the answers and made absolutely no effort to get the answers. Two of my questions were answered completely incorrectly (will manual watering work when a rain sensor is “active/on” and when using a flex schedule, can watering be forced daily). If telephone support was outsourced to a 3rd party, that would be one thing, but each time I called I was told they were Rachio employees. Don’t get me wrong, these were very nice folks and very apologetic when they didn’t know the answer… but it was like “oh well…” and they moved on.
Second problem has to do with flex versus fixed watering. I need my zones watered daily. Although every zone is sod, all but one zone also have flower beds, and they need watering daily. Even with watering daily, I still want the savings of customizing zone times based on temperature, humidity, etc. (my old controller can do this and it saved me between 12% and 17% in water volume). Evidently, a flex schedule cannot have days of week selected (even though the app allows it) and a fixed schedule will not adjust watering times based on temp/humidity. At least that is what I was just told by telephone support.
Based on this information, I might as well go back to my old mechanical controller and save the $200 investment!
Lastly, as an IT professional, I have a very hard time with unilateral firmware updates without first proactively giving the consumer the option of accepting an update, or, at the very least, explaining what they will change/do… again, first. Rachio pushes updates silently. In addition, there is no way to display the current firmware version on the device or any other pertinent diagnostic information.
I guess I could be misinformed about what the rachio will or won’t do, but that gets back to the lack of meaningful telephone support. I am just not ready to risk $200 and not know for sure. There are plenty of other acceptable solutions out there… sorry.