Clarification for need for seasonal adjustments with Aeris weather forecasting


#1

With the new weather forecasting that is being utilized, do I need to utilize seasonal adjustments? For example, with the new local forecasting with Aeris, won’t Rachio automatically change my watering pattern appropriately based on the weather? And if it does, why would I need to use seasonal adjustment?


#2

@bigbiggreendog‌ , right now the weather is used in three places: recommendations when you first create a watering time, rain delay, and water budgeting. This is pretty much the same as before, expect that we’re using real-time weather data for rain delay and water budgeting instead of 3-year averages, and our new weather service gives better results.

However, we’re currently working on enhancements to rain delay, to have it look further backward & forward, and to water budgeting, to use our ET computations to make smarter adjustments. Expect to see that rolling out in a couple of weeks.

The ultimate goal is to allow people to just let the Iro adjust itself every day, as the weather & climate change. One of the big roadblocks in the way of that is the fact that a lot of our customers have irrigation equipment or soil types that are pretty different from our default values, which throws off the numbers. In our next 1.7 app release, we’ll allow people to customize the values to be much more precise. After that happens, we can start rolling out more automatic behavior that people can trust.

So, for now, you still probably want the water budgeting (seasonal adjustments).

Does that help?


#3

Thanks but still a bit confusing. If the previous use of 3-year averages was off and say your area was drier than what should be required by the average that it was suggesting, then to me it doesn’t seem that it is really accurate to call it seasonal adjustment but rather a watering adjustment to correct the amount. My initial response would be that a seasonal adjustment would increase or decrease the rate/amount of water based on the season, for example if you live in a cold climate and don’t need to water as much in the winter [you would want to increase the seasonal adjustment]

And what specifically is meant by water budgeting?

just trying to understand…


#4

@bigbiggreendog‌ , I think that we may just be saying the same thing in different terms, so I’ll try to be clearer.

The short answer is: Water Budgeting is the software that changes your schedule, every 2 weeks, as weather conditions change. With the new weather service changes, it should work better than before.

Here’s the long answer:

New weather service or old, we use weather data for three things:

  1. Auto Scheduling - the software recommends a duration and schedule (like “22 minutes, 3x a week”) when you create watering times, based on the weather data for your location and what you’ve told us about your zones.

  2. Weather Intelligence - about 15 minutes before each watering time is scheduled to run, your Iro will pull a weather report for your area and decide whether to skip watering this time. This doesn’t change the schedule.

  3. Water Budgeting - every 2 weeks, your Iro pulls a weather report (including average temperature, precipitation, and wind speed), for the previous and upcoming 2 weeks, and compares that with how that weather snapshot looked 2 weeks ago. Based on the weather changes (as well as some other factors like length of day), your Iro will change the watering schedule durations. For example, if the average temperature has gone down by a few degrees in the last 2 weeks, and it’s expected to go down a few more in the next few weeks, the schedule duration might be changed from 22 minutes, 3x a week to 15 minutes 3x a week.

So, Water Budgeting (aka seasonal adjustment) is the mechanism to get your schedule to change as the weather changes. That means more water in June than in December, but it might also mean cutting back on the water in July if you’re expecting a rainy couple of weeks (I know, not likely in California lately).

What, exactly, did we change recently? We changed to a better source of weather observations, which look back, and forecasts, which look forward. Previously, we were using 30-year averages (I said 3-year above, sorry) to look back: “how much does it usually rain this time of year?”. Now we get actual recent weather observations:“exactly how much did it rain yesterday?”. Additionally, the weather forecasts are better because they have a lot more local weather data to use when putting the forecasts together.

So, you should get better results from the improvement in the quality of the weather data, but you still need to let Water Budgeting update your schedule as the weather changes.

Does that make any more sense?


#5

That’s a great explanation. I think for your product, even though users will want it to just “work”, they will also want to understand what is actually going on and why. I am sure a lot of Nest users [like myself] do this also. I notice that they [Nest] also provide a lot of data, numbers and feedback/explanations for users, as it is probably a trait of users that will purchase the product.

Your rapid response is community forum is great and appreciated. I will tell you that I looked at many products and this was one reason I chose the Iro.


#6

@bigbiggreendog‌ Thanks for the feedback, we are continually going to be improving these algorithms as we get more data and feedback. The next release (1.7) will allow for much for control over the inputs or dials that affect the initial schedule that is created, cycle soak times, and water budgeting adjustments.

http://www.community.rach.io/discussion/162/1-7-epa-release-notes#latest

Over the next few software iterations we are also re-designing parts of ‘smart’ watering.

http://www.community.rach.io/discussion/163/smart-er-water-budgeting-weather-intelligence-roadmap#latest

Have a great weekend.