Extensive Watering Times


#1

I just installed the new rachio controller, set up all the stations with the right soil type, plants, slope, sprinkler etc and test ran the whole system. Everything seems to work fine.

But when I add a Flexible Daily schedule the controller wants to water my stations for almost 15h (14h42m). Now that seems extensive but added to that, it wants to water everything for 15h tomorrow (Nov 17) after a couple of heavy rain days where the soil is already soaked with water. Also it will start raining again the following day and the day after (Nov 18 and 19). So there is no reason to water at all not even talking about 15h.
If I were to water my yard for 15h this would use about 12000 to 13000 gallons of water which means a water bill of about 90 - 100USD. So I don’t feel comfortable about just letting the system run and see if it will readjust later. I wouldn’t even be able to fit 15h of watering into the legal water times in my area (7p - 9a).

I hope I’m missing something. Any advice on what’s going on there?


#2

Welcome and congrats on the system, it does take a little time to fine tune and understanding the little things like timing with restrictions, rain, etc. First question I would throw out is where are you getting your weather information from? Is it reliable for precipitation numbers (both actual and forecasted)?


#3

Also, do you have all your zones in just one Flexible Daily Schedule?


#4

Thanks Modawg2k and Linn for the quick response.
I’m getting my weather info from KDVO which should have perception data. At least I can’t see that it does not have it. I also tried out a few other stations but rachio still wants to water tomorrow or the following day for 15h.
All my Zones are in one Flexible Daily Schedule. Would you recommend that I set up individual schedules?


#5

Smart cycle works most efficiently when all your lawn zones are in the same schedule. Just make sure that any drip zones you have are in a different schedule, otherwise you won’t Smart cycle for your lawn


#6

What @Linn said. I would also go into each of your zones moisture levels and adjust to full. Tell your system that your ground is saturated with water. Many times when people start out they have a few days of watering for the system to catch up.


#7

Thanks, that’s a great tip @Modawg2k. Did you mean to set the “available water” number to 0.2 in? It does not go higher than that. And it’s currently set to 0.17 on all stations.
@Linn, thanks, I’ll set up a different schedule for the drip lines. I have drip lines in 3 of my 16 zones.


#8

Available water is derived from the soil type and root depth zone settings. That isn’t what Modawg wants you to change. Go to My Yard, select each zone, then select moisture levels at the bottom of the page, and adjust to full. Check the moisture level graph for each zone while you are there to see how long Rachio estimates until you need to water that zone again. Each zone is calculated separately using the zone parameters you entered, so you may see different dates for each zone.

You can force a zone to water the next day if you adjust the moisture level to empty, if a zone is drying out before Rachio thinks the zone needs watering. This can be used as a workaround until you are happy with your zone setup.


#9

Thanks jbk! Great, that fixed the problem of rachio wanting to water during the rain. Rachio now knows that the soil is saturated. Also, I noticed that a lot of the public weather stations in my area do not have precipitation data. I had to change to a personal station and now it also sees all the rainy day coming and does not want to water during November which is what I would expect.
It’s still at about 15h of water time. I changed the global water time to 50% to bring that down a bit. It’s hard for me to believe that it’s most efficient to put that much water in the soil. A lot of the water might just run off after a while. I’ll keep an eye at it and try to report back how it’s doing.


#10

Good find and good to know you made that change. You’re learning already. I always bring my total run times to 50% and fill my moisture levels on new controller installs. The controller will use your inputs to run, so fine tune as needed until you find the sweet spot.

Welcome to the neighborhood!