Buying Rachio3 in Denver


#1

I am interested in automating my sprinkler system, but I would like some hard evidence if possible.

I live in Denver. We have 12 zones (2 drip system for garden, 10 zones for yard). Total lot is 7600sqft. We run our 10-zone yard sprinklers 3-4 times per week at 12 min. Our drip system we run every day for 6 minutes once our garden is planted.

During summer months, our bill is usually $150-$200 per mo. I’m very happy with our lawn and garden - we live in an old neighborhood but happen to get a lot of sun without big trees. I think we could probably save money by running less time, not running when raining that week, watering at different times, etc., which is why I am interested in Rachio. I’m looking at $200+ for the 16-zone unit ($275 less up to $75 Denver Water rebate). If I could prove data of why it would be worth switching, I’d buy it right away. If, at the end of the day, I’m just getting a great gadget that makes my lawn look the same and costs me about the same amount per month, I probably wouldn’t switch.

Any thoughts?


#2

I think without question timers like the Rachio have demonstrated that they offer significant cost savings for a given “quality” of lawn vs. regular timers assuming like most consumers you aren’t constantly adjusting your more manual timer yourself. The Rachio will NOT water when it has rained significantly or when significant rain is forecast. It will take into consideration the volume of rain you received as well as your specific soil, landscaping, and climate type to determine how much water was absorbed and how much it can last. It will consider the differences in your plants, rotors, and drip emitters. This leads to significant reductions in overwatering during periods of rain, clouds, and cooler weather. That said you will likely see some months were perhaps it might water MORE than you are used to seeing if there are significant dry spells and it determines that increased watering is necessary due to soil moisture evaporation etc. If you feel the system is over or under watering any particular zone you can easily adjust the watering of the zone by a percentage but it will continue to “flex” the schedule based on real conditions. Looking a little too lush? Dial it back. A little yellow, dial it up. But then set and forget and save money.


#3

PS: This is my 3rd year with the Rachio and I absolutely love it. Before that I had 2 years with a pricey Hunter that did a bunch of fancy zone calculations like the Rachio and measured rainfall but since it was “pre-internet of things” it couldn’t anticipate the forecast or be controlled remotely. Before that I had a conventional timer. I always futzed with my timers and IMHO overwatered to ensure my grass stayed green but it was a bunch of work and until the Rachio I never felt like it was anything other than a wild guess. With Rachio EVERY SINGLE DAY is a UNIQUE plan based on the recent past and upcoming future. That saves me money but it also makes me feel good about giving my yard “exactly” what it needs. To be honest if 12 minutes a zone, 3-4 times a week “works” for you and you are happy with the results and cost you can stand pat, but if you like the idea that an “expert” controller figures out zone 3 needs 11 minutes, zone 4 needs 14, zone 5 needs 8 minutes, etc. and then adjusts those numbers daily based on how windy, sunny, hot, cold, rainy it has been than Rachio is for you.


#4

@seanjanelle - see @Franz 's post (he lives in Golden - close enough to Denver?) regarding his flex schedule during the 2016 summer->