I recently bought my first Rachio 3 and have been struggling to understand how to set it up properly and not flood my lawn. I bought this thinking I could turn it on and let it do it’s own thing but it seems quite the opposite.
I have a flex monthly schedule with 7 zones. No matter what I do it wants to water for hours and hours. I have Smart Cycle on. I’m also shocked that it wants to water in the middle of the night which isn’t good for grass at all. For now I have it set to 4:30 but it wanted to start around 2 am. Could someone please give me some assistance? I want to do this right as Spring is here in Texas and I will be getting my lawn treated as well. I’ve attached a screenshot of my schedule.
Without knowing your zone setup, it is impossible to tell if this is “correct” or not. But for reference, my lawn will run for a little over 1 hour each zone, but I have very low flow Hunter MP-Rotator nozzles. If you have high flow pop up sprays, then yes, that is probably too much time.
I’m needing to do the tuna can test when I have time this weekend to measure the output but my system is almost all rotary nozzles as well except for two zones which are fixed spray. Guess it makes sense because the fixed spray zones are not as long.
It isn’t the physical size of the zone, but the water output of the sprinkler nozzle. The MP-Rotator nozzles put down about .5"/hr of water, while some fixed spray nozzles can put out 2"/hr or more. So the rotary nozzle needs to run 4 times what the fixed spray does to put down the same amount of water…
What is truly amazing about the Rachio is it’s able to detect the moisture Content of your soil. It waters enough to keep it at a safe level. What it will do throughout the night is water in small increments of time, then allow the water to soak-in, then continue… This all counts as “watering time”… I’m not sure if that is the case on your lawn, but it probably is…
I’m amazed at times just how long the Rachio will run in my yard, some nights nights, 6 to 8 hours or more… What the Rachio is really trying to do is water Deeply to promote good root growth but water less often… Based on the information you input during setup like *grade of your yard, *soil type, *vegetation type, *type of irrigation heads and how many etc. the Tachio knows how long to let water soak in-between runs cycles for each zone. I hope I have explained it well enough… Pretty darn amazing!
While seeing screenshots of your zone setup will really help us better explain the watering time, I would also be interested to see what interval (watering frequency) the Flex Daily schedule has for the next 14 days. If you navigate to the “Schedules” tab and select “calendar” you’ll see a representation of the watering frequency as forecasted watering days (subject to change based on weather and soil moisture conditions).
Then, tap on a day and see what zones are watering. You should notice 1) it is probably watering infrequently 2) it is not watering each zone when it does water. That first run will water every zone on the schedule because we are assuming the zones are at 50% soil moisture. After that first run the zones will begin watering asynchronously. When you look at it like this, you’ll find that Flex Daily usually waters less than a standard fixed schedule.
Thank you mo much for your replies and being so willing to help out. Since my post I’ve learned a lot about the reasoning behind the watering length from research and when the sprinkler guy made some repairs yesterday. I have some steep terrain in my yard especially the back. I also have Hunter Rotary Mp Nozzles that only output .25 inches an hour when they water hence the reason it needs to water longer. Only 3 of my zones are fixed heads. I now better understand the length of time but still wonder if it’s off. Now my biggest concern ia that it needs to water very late at night before it gets to sunny in order to avoid evaporation and I wonder if I should let it do it that way or not because watering at night promotes fungus.
Love the Hunter MP’s. My favorite nozzle for its efficiency and adjustability! .25"/hr seems a bit low for any of the Hunter MP’s. Based on their spec sheet, the lowest PR you might expect for a decently designed and installed system is about .4"/hr.
I’m not a total expert in this area (I live in AZ and don’t have added humidity to deal with), but I wouldn’t worry about this. If you watered late into the day/evening, then MAYBE…since it would have ALL night to sit there damp. Ending by sunrise, or you could set to end by 8am, shortly after sunrise, wouldn’t create an issue IMHO.