The instructions for creating a new Flex Daily schedule say, “Zones are watered independently based on weather and zone settings.”
Does “independently” mean that some of the zones in that schedule might get watered and some might not? If so, what’s the point of having multiple zones in one schedule?
To my way of thinking, the whole point grouping zones together in a shared schedule is to guarantee that all of them will get watered on the same schedule. Otherwise, why not give each zone its own individual schedule instead of grouping them together?
Short answer is yes. Last year was my first year with Rachio and I saw the schedule kind of get split. For example, we ran through the sprinklers on one zone. This increased the soil moisture for that zone and so it kind of went on its own schedule. If it left in on the same schedule, I may have overwatered it, ended up with mushrooms, or who knows what.
Obviously, I’m still wrapping my head around how Rachio works. Right now, it looks like Flex Daily is the best/ultimate way to schedule everything. It lets the controller make all of its own decisions based on weather, plant type, soil type, and a bunch of other variables. Assuming I set up each zone correctly, Flex Daily should always do the right thing. The other two modes are less smart but easier for humans to grok.
In that case, it should be possible to lump every single zone into just one Flex Daily schedule, right? Each zone will get watered (or not) based on the best intelligence available. I’m not sure why I’d want to break up my zones into separate Flex Daily schedules, unless I really want some watered in the morning and some in the evening. Or am I missing something?
You are understanding this correctly. I actually use 3 Flex Daily schedules: one for the lawn which starts at 4:30 in the morning, one for some annual flowers that runs at 8:30am, and one for my annual/perennial drip zones that runs at 9:30am (as I don’t mind the drips running during the daytime).
I’m definitely a fan of Flex Daily (and IMHO it’s no harder to use than other schedules, just gives more information which not everyone understands). The only reason I can think of to have separate Flex Daily schedules for the same type of zone (say, all grass), is MAYBE this:
I’m not sure how this would actually work, but it’s a bit of a pain, if you want to End by sunrise or by a certain time, if you have say 8 zones, and each one runs an hour, to have them on a Flex Daily schedule because your watering will ALWAYS start 8 hours before the end time. Even though most of the time, not all 8 zones will water that day. If you had 8 separate zones, each one to end by Sunrise, I wonder how they’d work. If only 4 were running on a given day, would it only start 4 hours before the required end time? If so, that’s an advantage, operationally (and a disadvantage having to separately program 8 schedules).
You raise an interesting point. You say “…for the same type of zone…”
Why does zone type matter? The Rachio documentation mentions zone types when creating schedules, too. But I can’t see why zone type should make a difference. Doesn’t the controller already know everything it needs to know about each zone and is therefore able to water it accordingly? It’s apparently bad practice to mix grass zones, shrub zones, drip zones, etc. together on one Flex Daily schedule, but I can’t figure out why.
As far as I know, the only drawback of putting all the zones together into one Flex Daily is the possible duration time, especially as drip zones can need a lot of time. I only split them so that my grass is watered to end somewhere close to sunrise, and the drip can take it’s time during the day. But there is not an issue with them all being in the same schedule. It does handle each zone individually as to when to water it.
I think only one program can “end by sunrise” Another reason someone might need more than one program is if zone(s) can never physically get rain and you don’t want them on weather intelligence like other zones. Additionally you might make a program for new grass that needs to be established and later can survive a flex program.
I have three schedules. One is fixed for an orange tree. One has my two drip line zones and one has all my regular sprinklers which hits the grass. I split up the latter two (both on flex daily) for two reasons, one, because I want grass to finish before sunrise and start drips after sunset. Since the drips run for 4 hours if i ran it all together itd be on before sunset… so by splitting them it works out better.
Plus, and this may be the best reason to use multiple flex zone schedules if you have the same situation, I let drip lines run any day they want, but my grass never waters in thursday mornings because my lawn is mowed on thursdays.
I think this is one of the leading reasons. If you have some zones that can’t run certain days that are different than other zones requirements.