Don’t understand zone run times for Rachio 3

Sorry for the long post. I’m new to Rachio.

I received my Rachio 3 for Christmas from my wife. She purchased it from Costco so I have the yard map.

I have taken the time to set it up. I thoroughly went through my 6 zones and took the time to count each sprinkler, whether it’s a pop up, rotor, drip, etc. Then verified soil type, sun exposure etc.

I’m coming from a Hunter Xcore that had a solar sync hooked up to it. The solar sync had a temperature sensor on it that would adjust my sprinkler % everynight at midnight depending on the temperature that day. The solar sync also has a freeze and rain sensor on it. Since I had water restrictions my timer would run @ 3:30am and 5:30am on my watering days. My hunter timer worked great without any issues and my yard was in really good shape. I switched to Rachio for the convenience and ask the things it’s supposed to do.

I have water restrictions and am allowed to water on Sunday, Wednesday & Friday. I cannot water between 10am - 6pm. My watering calendar is from April 15th - October 15th

I have my Rachio 3 set to Flex Daily, with times to end before sunrise. I have smart cycle enabled.

I’m trying to get all the details setup and online for my Rachio 3 before the watering season starts.

Here’s the issue’s I have. All zones are set to run for 27 minutes each, with the exception of my 2 drip zones whether they have lots of shade, or lots of sun, etc.

Zone details;

Zone 1. Faces NW with 2 large trees. Run time 27 minutes (with old timer it ran for 11 minutes @ 3:30am and 13 minutes @ 5:30am)

Rachio zone details; Cool season grass,Spray head: Fixed, Soil type: Clay loam, Exposure: Some shade (I said some shade because the 2 large trees don’t cover the area completely) Slope: Slight

Zone 2. Faces NE. Run time 27 minutes (with old timer it ran for 11 minutes @ 3:30am and 13 minutes @ 5:30am.

Rachio zone details; Faces NE. Cool season grass,Spray head: Fixed, Soil type: Clay loam, Exposure: Some shade Slope: Slight

Zone 3. Faces N. Run time 2hr 7 minutes (with old timer it ran for 4 minutes @ 3:30am and 5 minutes @ 5:30am) Rachio wants it to run for over 2 hours! Crazy. This zone has a drip line that have bubblers attached. It has 6 Rose bushes that are completely covered by shade and are mulched.

Rachio zone details; Perennials, Spray head: Bubbler, Soil type: Clay loam, Exposure: Full shade (I said full shade because the 2 large trees cover the area completely) Slope: Flat.

Zone 4. Faces W. Run time 27 minutes. (with old timer it ran for 13 minutes @ 3:30am and 16 minutes @ 5:30am. In addition to those times it also ran 2 nights a week. 5 minutes @ 8:00pm and 8 minutes @ 8:15pm This is my trouble zone as part of the zone had rocky soil under the sod and doesn’t get much shade. I had to water it more due to that. It has street on one side and sidewalk on other side.

Rachio zone details. Cool season grass,Spray head: Fixed, Soil type: Clay loam, Exposure: Lots of sun Slope: Flat

Zone 5. Faces S. Run time 1hr 21 minutes (with old timer it ran for 6 minutes @ 3:30am and 8 minutes @ 5:30am) Rachio wants it to run for almost 1.5 hours! This zone has a drip line that have misters attached. It has 9 maiden grass bushes, a raised garden bed and a large tree that has a pop up fixed spray head. Garden bed is covered by shade by the large tree.

Rachio zone details. Shrubs,Spray head: Mister, Soil type: loam, Exposure: Lots of sun Slope: Slight

Zone 6. Faces S. Run time 27 minutes. (with old timer it ran for 11 minutes @ 3:30am and 12 minutes @ 5:30am) This zone is sod in full sun with no shade.

Rachio zone details. Cool season grass,Spray head: Fixed, Soil type: Clay loam, Exposure: Lots of sun Slope: Moderate.

I don’t understand why Rachio wants to water zones 1, 2, 4, & 6 all the same amount? These zones all have different details, some shade, lots of sun, flat slope to moderate slope.

Will Rachio water al my zones just 1 time in a day or multiple times per day?

I have weather intelligence PLUS set to run off my Davis Vantage Pro2 that is on wunderground.

Do I have my Rachio zones set up correctly? Should I be using flex daily or not?

I since learned that I cannot let Rachio control zone 3 & 5 my drip zones as I’ll water way too much and waste to much water which will cost me a bunch of money. I have since adjusted those zones to 7 minutes and 8 minutes. That’s frustrating, since Rachio can’t account for that.

I’m brand new to Rachio 3 and don’t understand it completely. I’m of the older generation (late 40’s) and am not 100% technology smart.

Again sorry for the long post.

Thank you all for the help. I appreciate it.

Rachio zone details, watering times, etc

@steeve725 Welcome to the community! Great to see another Coloradoan here.

Looking at those zone they do have the same characteristics in the app. Would you mind double checking?

Flex daily only waters once per day. If you have smart cycle enabled it will break the watering up into smaller runtimes so as to avoid runoff.

For the grass zones 27 minutes seems about right. That’s roughly what my zones are set at. For Flex Daily I typically recommend adding a front and back grass zone to flex scheduling, get them dialed in over a week or two, and then add additional zones if you feel comfortable with the system performance. Flex monthly is also a very predictable way to water since each month is predetermined for frequency and watering duration if you want to try out both schedules on separate zones.

Yes, there are instances (typically outside of normal grass zones) where there is so much variability with root zone lengths (Trees, shrubs, etc) and precipitation rates that this needs to be adjusted by the consumer.

Welcome aboard! Feel free to ask any additional questions as the season kicks into gear. The community is typically proactive and helpful.

:cheers:

Hi, Franz

Thank you so much for your reply. I greatly appreciate it.

Your first question. Looking at those zone they do have the same characteristics in the app. Would you mind double checking?

No they do not have all the same characteristics. Some are shade, some lots of sun, some are flat while others have slope.

Franz, please look at this link with all my images of zones, Rachio zones run times, eyc
there characteristics, etc. it’ll help you understand my situation.

This I don’t fully understand what your saying here. “For Flex Daily I typically recommend adding a front and back grass zone to flex scheduling, get them dialed in over a week or two, and then add additional zones if you feel comfortable with the system performance. Flex monthly is also a very predictable way to water since each month is predetermined for frequency and watering duration if you want to try out both schedules on separate zones.”

Thanks again for your reply. I appreciate it.

Steve

Zones with the same characteristics, like zones 1,2 will have the same duration. Zones with different characteristics will have different watering durations (unless you have modified to be the same). Cycle soak could actually run one cycle with the same minutes but it will ultimately water the full amount that is calculated from your zone characteristics. I included a picture of zones 1,2 showing the same characteristics.

I was just saying that sometimes its easier to add one or two zones to a flex daily schedule starting out since it is so dynamic and new. Let it run for a week or two just to get comfortable with it, make any changes, then add other zones. If you are comfortable with it running all of your zones right away then that approach can work also.

Hope this helps!

:cheers:

Same zones will have the same watering duration…

Yes zone 1 & 2 do have the same characteristics and I do understand them having the same watering time.

This is where the confusion comes in. Zone 4 & 6 are different from each other, zone 4 is flat, zone 6 has a moderate slope. Both zone 4 & 6 are also different than zone 1 & 2. Zones 1 & 2 are slight slope with some shade. They all have 27 minutes run time

No I have not modified any zones watering duration except zone 3 & 5 the 2 drip zones I have.

With my previous Hunter Xcore controller my sprinklers were set to go off Sunday, Wednesday & Friday at 3:30am & 5:30am

Here are the times for each zone I had set up. Everyday at midnight the timers run % would either increase or decrease automatically because of the temperature of the previous day due to the hunter solar sync adjusting it.

Run times:
3:30am
Zone 1 - 9 minutes
Zone 2 - 10 minutes
Zone 3 - 4 minutes
Zone 4 - 12 minutes
Zone 5 - 7 minutes
Zone 6 - 10 minutes

5:30am
Zone 1 - 13 minutes
Zone 2 - 15 minutes
Zone 3 - 5 minutes
Zone 4 - 15 minutes
Zone 5 - 8 minutes
Zone 6 - 14 minutes

One additional watering day per week for zone 4. My trouble zone. It has rocky soil and has the street on one side and the sidewalk on the other side so it requires more water.

Wednesday

8:00pm
Zone 4 - 6 minutes

8:15pm
Zone 4 - 8 minutes

Hope this explains it more.

Thanks again,

Steve

Slope does not affect watering duration, only the amount of time allowed for cycling to avoid runoff, but the overall duration will be the same.

Our cycle/soak technology allows us to only need to run once per day since it simulates the concept I believe they were using watering twice.

Flex daily adjusts on a daily basis due to real time weather conditions.

Hope this helps. I can’t do a full audit of each of your watering times, but do know our system usually is very close. If you have followup questions after using flex daily for a bit just let us know!

:cheers:

You’re in your late 40’s and you’re part of the ‘older generation?’ There’s your problem right there.