As Needed (now Fixed Monthly) | Scheduling Tips & Feedback


#1

Thanks for all of the awesome feedback this week. Good or bad, we love hearing from our users. Moving forward, we’d like to consolidate As Needed schedule feedback into one topic/thread.

To open the thread, I’d like to share some tips if you’re attempting to migrate from Flex Schedules:

  • As Needed Schedules group zones and recommend watering times and intervals for all of the zones on the schedule. As such, the most sensitive zone (i.e. annuals) can impact the schedule, causing different intervals then you’re use to on Flex. Unlike Flex, the zones will NOT be watered on a per zone basis. An easy solution is to group similar zones together (i.e. all grass zones) and avoid mixing zone vegetation types (i.e. grass + annuals).

  • As Needed Schedules leverage 30 year historical data to determine the watering interval; which allows for smooth transitions month over month. Climate Skip uses real time ET data to skip watering events but will not delay to reschedule the skipped watering event. It’s an awesome feature that is hard to visualize, but think of it like your car telling you that you can keep driving as you have “x” miles left in the tank.

  • Smart Cycle might appear to work differently on As Needed Schedules pending the zones you have on the schedule. Unlike Flex schedules which could run any combination on zones on a given allowed watering day, As Needed Schedule run ALL zones in the schedule in the same watering event.

  • As Needed Schedules will check the weather to see if the schedule can be skipped roughly 1 hour before the scheduled watering time. Unlike Flex, the calendar will not dynamically adjust with the weather. Think of the rain drop icon as a watering appointment that can be skipped if weather conditions allow.

  • You cannot add zones to As Needed schedules after the schedule has been created. To do this, please create a new schedule. Don’t be afraid to delete and play around :slight_smile: Zone durations can be set to zero to “disable” a zone in an As Needed Schedule.

  • Restrictions are not allowed on As Needed schedules. We do have a work around using IFTTT if you wish to hack it :wink:

Now, we welcome feedback, questions, and ideas to make As Needed schedules better in the future. Thank you for your support.


New 2.5 schedules: Do they water all zones even though only one has low moisture levels?
When needed - needs day restrictions!
Flex Schedules vs. the New "As Needed" schedule
Fixed + Climate Skip vs Flex
Multiple As Needed Schedules Scheduled
As Needed runs more often but less water
Climate Skip
Overlapping zones + different attributes + flex + WAN = Confused
Rain Questions Regarding 2.5
As needed and moisture levels
As Needed Schedules are inferior to Flex Schedules
My trial of Water as needed
What is the REAL reason to abandon Flex?
Flex Schedules vs. the New "As Needed" schedule
2.5 Software Release!
Rain Questions Regarding 2.5
Smart cycle not working?
Lost Ability to Adjust Durations by Percentage?
The "Seasonal Shift" feature is just bad practice
As Needed waters ALL zones?
"As Needed" vs. "Fixed - multiple runs/day"
#2

#3

I appreciate you guys are trying desperately hard to get people to use the As Needed schedules. Note that every one of the “tips” above can be avoided if one uses the Flex schedules. Thank you reinstating the Flex app until all of these workarounds for As Needed are no longer needed.

In particular, the notion of creating a separate As Needed schedule for each group of zones with the same evapotranspiration characteristics is absurd. Since you have all the data that we have entered, perhaps you can create some sort of “macro” that would tell the user which zones are 90%+ similar to one another. Otherwise we are all reduced to creating one schedule per zone, probably not what you intended.


#4

@stonecliff, that’s a great idea! This would be an awesome enhancement to simplify the scheduling process :slight_smile:

Do you have any other recommendations?


#5

One of my main draws to the Iro was that it (via Flex) trains grass not to be lazy by only watering a zone precisely when that zone needs it. I’m worried that the way my yard is setup, watering all of the grass zones when just one (or a few) zones needs filling up defeats that principal. Is this training concept gone now with As Needed?


#6

@aristobrat, good question. If setup correctly (grouping zones by hydrozone), the skip logic of As Needed schedules (versus delay logic of Flex schedules) encourages managed stress if Climate Skip is enabled. Therefore, no training is lost.


#7

I guess it’s kind of problematic if I don’t know what that means. I have my grass zones grouped into one schedule, and my flower beds into another. Now it sounds like I should group my full sun grass zones by themselves onto their own schedule, and the shady grass zones on another one? Is that what you mean?


#8

@aristobrat, that’s perfect – sun & shade is factored into the zone duration calculations. I’d recommend giving As Needed a test drive for a week or two and report back your thoughts. Would you be open to this?


#9

I get what you are trying to do with As Needed, but it is a fatally flawed concept, as the watering needs for individual zones will necessarily differ throughout the season. Only in rare cases will two zones be identical. Which means As Needed will almost always require creating a separate schedule for each zone to take advantage of the intelligence of Iro (including integration of weather forecast info).

From what I can see (and not having access to your development plan), I would suggest the following:

  • Immediately abandon As Needed and replace with Flex

  • Rename Flex to “As Needed” and claim it’s an enhancement based on user feedback

  • Create a calendar for watering restrictions that applies to all of the programs (both Fixed and Flex). Would love to see it flexible enough to have blocks for, say, (1) each morning from 8AM to 9AM, (2) Wednesdays, (3) Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

  • Integrate Flow Sensor capabilities, both for measuring consumption and halting a zone when it senses excessive usage due to a blown head

  • Master schedule for multiple Iros. I know you are planning on it, but those of us that have many zones would be a fan for life.

  • If Flex setup was too complex for some users (really? I don’t recall seeing many threads on that), use your new As Needed setup for the schedule, but then let it adjust daily and by zone.

These are just one person’s views, and there have been lots of other suggestions from other users. But the main message is to bail out of As Needed ASAP, as the notion of creating such a forward looking calendar was a bit loony.


#10

Can you confirm what happens on as needed if some zones will have enough water so they can be skipped, but others require watering. I assume the schedule is not skipped, and all zones are watered. I think the skipping should be zone by zone, only water a zone when it is needed. That is the whole point of as needed, to wait and water the zone just before it reaches the minimum moisture level to promote deep root growth.

I find the names of the scheduling features not to be very descriptive of what they do or how they work. I have been using the web interface. I would like to be able to access a detailed description of the behavior of the scheduling feature or option from the app, so I can review this information while setting up the schedule.


#11

I’ll have to look at how that schedules out. The problem I ran into last night playing with moving my one Flex grass schedule into separate As Needed schedules was that on days where multiple schedules ran, the end time was too late in the morning (due to the lack of nothing else being watered during the soak cycles).

That’s causes an issue with letting the dogs out in the morning. Sprinklers have to be done by then. With Flex, they were. With the As Needed, they don’t appear to be on some days.


#12

I believe herein lies the problem behind all of our criticism of As Needed. The zone duration should be based on the amount of time to perform deep watering (driven by soil and slope), not on the different rates of evapotranspiration in sunny versus shady zones. Wouldn’t a better answer to water the shady area less frequently, but to the correct depth, instead of watering both zones at the same frequency?


#13

+1 [quote=“jkb, post:10, topic:3505”]
I think the skipping should be zone by zone, only water a zone when it is needed.
[/quote]


#14

Great feedback from all. Trying to keep up :slight_smile: I’ll do my best to answer your questions below:

@stonecliff, love this idea. In a nutshell, global (by controller) black out days and hours.

I know the dev team has some tricks up their sleeves, but they kicked me out after I stole their case of Red Bull…I’ll try to bribe them with some Snickers to get back in and see what they’re up to :wink:

Copy/paste, cookie cutter concept?

While I cannot share the support stats, we’ve spent many hours helping users setup Flex schedules. Scalability of such support is difficult (and expensive). Maybe there’s a better way to offer such support in the future. Nevertheless, I do like the idea to skip by zone and will share this with the product team.

@jkb, correct.

Noted. Hearing this request by many :wink:

Great idea. Our support team can (will) create a support article on this.

@aristobrat, if you want to send a note to the support team (support@rachio.com) they can review your schedule and see if there’s any edits we could recommend.


#15

Does As Needed have an option to skip specific days? I was able to do that with Flex but am not seeing it with As Needed. My lawn guy comes on a schedule every week, so it’d be great to skip those mornings. Thanks!


#16

As presently programmed, “As Needed” does not have the ability to skip specific days.


#17

That’s a totally valid reason for improving the product. We need you to be successful with something that scales effectively.

The focus, then, should be on improving the initial setup. If you’ve cracked the code on that with As Needed, that’s wonderful. Simply let that setup feed into the Flex watering model. Those who want to do more can do so (maybe even create an “expert mode” toggle to expose more of the detail). Others can leave it alone. But letting the setup tail wag the whole scheduling dog is a mistake.

You had it nailed last year with Flex. Once you get back to zone by zone skipping and rescheduling, won’t you be right back to the Flex model in the end?


#18

+100 on skipping by zones in any schedule option.

Until then, I’m going to subdivide my single grass schedule into sunny schedule and shady schedule, so both groupings will get watered closer to their ideal times to promote healthy deep roots.

Aside from the inefficiency introduced by arbitrary municipality watering days, what am I losing by using Fixed + Climate Skip vs As Needed?

In the ideal world, houses that have smart controllers doing As Needed should be eligible for watering day exemptions, as the total amount of water used for landscaping would be minimized. But it’s too hard for them to police who is compliant and who isn’t with restrictions.


#19

[quote=“emil, post:14, topic:3505”]
@aristobrat, if you want to send a note to the support team (support@rachio.com) they can review your schedule and see if there’s any edits we could recommend.[/quote]
@emil, appreciate the offer.

I just don’t see a single instance of where As Needed adds any convenience or improvement to the way I need the Iro to work.

I think I’m going to stay with Flex, unless there’s something I’m not understanding properly.


#20

From my other thread - there needs to be a way to put day (and possibly time) restrictions into the “as needed” schedule. I may be naive, don’t MOST people have day restrictions? I mean isn’t this a fundamental way jurisdictions restrict watering - it just seems like a huge shortcoming of the “as needed” schedule - and basically makes it useless to anyone who has restrictions.

Why not just have a “Water restrictions” section where you enter what days/times you are allowed to water?