I am a new user of a Rachio 3 16 zone system. I have a large yard in Richardson, TX that covers two lots so all 16 zones are used. I use a LOT of water in the summer, especially when temps hover around 100 for days at a time.
Before I bought the Rachio, I utilized a traditional controller. A couple of years ago I learned of the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension’s “Water My Yard” app/service. For those unfamiliar, the folks at Agrilife came up with a formula that takes into account humidity, rainfall, sunlight, wind, and a whole bunch of other stuff I don’t entirely understand, and they come up with an “effective rainfall” for a given week. On their app you load some basic information about your lawn (no where near as detailed as Rachio), mostly the type of heads you have. Since they work specifically with water districts in Texas they assume warm weather grass and, I believe, standardize on bermuda (the most common in my area). Each week I receive an email (or find it in the app) that tells me how long to run my rotors and how long to run my pop ups. This is based on the rainfall and conditions from the prior week. The problem with this service is that it requires a lot of manual intervention by the user. Basically you run your system in “manual” mode (not really one of those on traditional controllers) for the duration they recommend. It has worked successfully for the most part for me, except when I forget to run or turn off… Being out of town for an extended period botches everything.
Anyway, now to my question/concern: How does Rachio determine run times and when to run based on rainfall? This week we had basically 3 days of nice constant rain… Tues, Wed, Thursday I believe. Rachio had originally scheduled to water for 58 minutes on Thursday I believe but skipped and scheduled next run for Sunday (today) with another full run scheduled for Thursday. Basically two full waterings. In the meantime, the WaterMyYard app send notice that I do not need to water at all this week. Zero. I expect there to be some difference of course, but 2 hours of watering compared to zero seems way off.
I went outside and finger tested some soil and mine is still moist in beds and under my lush bermuda in full sun, yet it was scheduled for a full 58 minute water starting today. I scratched my head and skipped today’s run. (Much more convenient than the old controller I’ll say in this regard.)
So how does Rachio calculate runtimes and schedule? It seems to always schedule the same 58 minutes per watering, even though we had a ton of rain ending just 3 days ago. I had thought that the amount of rainfall would be taken into consideration, but is Rachio only skipping when it is raining and does no other calculations? Or am I missing something? I had planned on a period when I need to “dial in” my settings to achieve the best results, but this just seems way off and maybe I misunderstood how the system work?
I should have mentioned my schedule is Flex Daily and Smart Cycle. Only override is I have it avoid Friday and Saturday for convenience.
Many thanks for whatever information you can lend.