0% Moisture

Hey all

Yesterday, my grass was showing about 25% moisture and I didn’t want to wait another day so I went in and emptied the zone. I expected it to set my watering for that evening rather than the next day at the scheduled time, it did not.

Then I updated the allowed depletion to 0% just playing and filled my zone back up. Once I put the AD back to 50%, the moisture is now 0%

I then manually watered, no change in moisture level and the system did go ahead and run at 8:00pm last night, today, still at 0%…

What am I missing?

Man, you did a lot of stuff there - I’m confused. What does the table version of the soil moisture chart look like?

Don’t forget… this is one of the most confusing and least understandable areas of Rachio. I wish it were redesigned so moisture measurements meant the same thing across the board.

0% in your chart is based on the Allowed Depletion value, represented by the red line at the bottom of the chart. If your AD is 50% and you’re at 0% in the table, then you are “100% of the way to 50% AD.” If you saw 80% in the table then you’re “20% of the way towards 50% AD”.


@scorp508 - I agree completely, the numbering and terminology related to moisture levels is not intuitive, definitely confusing for me.
I would like to see Rachio simply report the absolute moisture level in the root zone, 100% is saturated, 0% is zero moisture left.
The term Allowed Depletion is misleading, I can never remember if it is the amount of water that has evaporated (depleted), or the minimum allowed remaining moisture level. Using a term such as ‘minimum moisture level’ would be less ambiguous.
If I know my zone has a minimum moisture level of 40%, and current moisture level of 50%, then I know that it can lose 10% more moisture before it needs to be replenished. The minimum moisture level can be displayed on the moisture level graph as a horizontal rule.

While I am at it, I will add one more issue. The allowed depletion is assumed to be the zero moisture level. The zone can physically dry out below the allowed depletion, especially if there are days when the schedule can not run, The next time it irrigates, it will assume the moisture level is still at the allowed depletion. In my example, if the zone dried out to 30% moisture level, the next watering should replenish 70% of the total root zone, not 60%.

The feature to fill or empty a zone should allow you to enter a percentage moisture level. Allowing a number larger than 100 would help after a deluge, to allow the zone to dry out to normal saturation levels.

After I got my first Rachio, I learned that Allowed Depletion or Management Allowed Depletion (MAD) is commonly used irrigation vernicular. Here’s a good presentation on it, this one done by Rainbird. It should help in understanding it a little better.

And here’s another good discussion:

I agree with this one.

@Linn, thanks I didn’t realize MAD was an industry term. I understand the concept, just have trouble remembering whether it is the depletion or the resulting moisture level.

So help me understand…

I manually watered for 25 mins then it ran automatically the same evening for another 25 mins, yet soil moisture is still at 0%

Someone from Rachio might have to confirm, but I think that emptying and filling the zone is not applied to the zone moisture level until the end of the day, and should trigger a flex daily watering the next day. I remember I had to empty the zone before midnight GMT if I wanted Rachio to water the next day. It’s been a while since I emptied a zone.

If you click on the big 0% soil moisture tab, a detail graph will open. You can see the results of all your actions, if you expand the irrigation item.

I’m a new Rachio user as well. This is super confusing, and I consider myself pretty well versed. I actually manually ran a zone today thinking I was completely dried out before I thought to even verify what the number actually meant.

There should be a simple option to switch the view. As a software engineer myself, this strikes me as one of those, “It doesn’t matter that it’s confusing, it’s the right value” issues you file as “wont fix.” There have been complaints regarding this for 2 years, according the forum. Long term Rachio users, is this common? Has the software advanced in the time you’ve had it?

Thank you Linn for those posted materials. I’m going to check those out.

In this case, Rachio knows about the fact that after watering it will not be up to 100%; it just doesn’t care. It’s job is to keep the moisture level, in your case, between 40% and 100% water. It will ALWAYS apply the same amount of water when it irrigates (unless rain or another watering provide some of what’s required). With a 60% MAD (your case) it will always water 60%, never 70%. But it knows that after watering that 60% it will have to water the next time sooner than it would have to if it had watered the 70%.

So far, I’ve found that it almost never lets the moisture go below your MAD. If there’s a day it cannot water which would lower the level below MAD, it usually waters a day earlier to prevent that from happening. I guess if it waters less than normal thinking there will be a lot of rain, then there isn’t, or the weather is hotter than expected, that could happen. But in the long run it shouldn’t matter.

Well, except for puddles of standing water after the deluge, you’re really not over 100%. You are, in fact, at the very definition of 100%, which would be an excellent day to execute the Fill command, if Rachio doesn’t show it at 100%. But after that deluge, the system will not water until it reaches your MAD level, which is also the definition of drying out to normal saturation, no?

Ditto. Darn confusing!