Feature Suggestion: Fill/Empty All Zones at the same time for Daily Flex Schedules


I have a 16 Zone Rachio 2nd Gen located in a rural part of Austin, TX (Dripping Springs area) running daily flex schedules successfully for several seasons. Due to location, we are just over 15 miles away from a reliable and accurate weather station. NOTE: We were using a few PWS’s closer to us in previous years but their data was not reliable enough when comparing it to a known good weather station maintained by the US govt (NOAA, FAA, US Military, etc). The closest accurate weather station to our house is in/near downtown but we are 15 miles South, so rainfall amounts can vary drastically in that short distance (especially Spring/Summer random showers).

A set of scattered rain showers dropped about 1.5 inches of rain at our house over two days but did not do so at the weather station that our unit gets weather data from. As a result, the controller wants to water a normal cycle because the controller does not know that rain fell locally and the ground is fully saturated (mushy when you walk on it).

Inadequate Current Solutions:

  • Rain Sensor - It will stop the watering right after it rains but it tends to “clear” the sensor before the ground is anywhere close to dry. Plus the calculated soil moisture is now wrong going forward
  • Ground Moisture Sensor - Again this will not adjust the calculated soil moisture for each zone
  • Delay Watering - This will prevent the schedule from running but the calculated soil moisture will now be wrong going forward.
  • Standby Mode - This will prevent watering but it wont automatically re-enable (can be forgotten unless user manually re-enables).

The solutions listed above would prevent the controller from watering but they do not “true up” the soil moisture levels, thus resulting in a deeper watering than is needed at the next scheduled watering because the controller thinks that the soil is extra dry and it needs to water more to catch up.

Best Solution Currently Available:
The ideal solution is to “Fill” the water capacity for the zones to accurately reflect the moisture content of the soil. The only way to currently Fill the soil moisture for each zone is to do it zone by zone. Going zone by zone is tedious, especially with 13 active zones (I understand that the zone by zone “filling/emptying” option has it’s place).

Feature Request:
A way to “Fill” or “Empty” all zones at the same time for scenarios where weather conditions at the controller do not match the weather station’s conditions and all zones need to be adjusted accordingly but be able to do it in one easy adjustment vs. going zone by zone.



I agree. I have had to go through all the zones one by one more than once. Having an option to do all at one time would be a great feature

You can even disguise it as a “my lawn is thirsty; water at the next scheduled watering period” or “my lawn is soaked- it doesnt need to be watered until the next scheduled watering period” buttons. It would make sense to maybe put it under the schedules section for those with different scheduled (ex. I have “turf”, “shrub drip”, & “desert xeriscape” zones where I probably only want to trigger the fill ups or emptying to all zones under that schedule.)

Curious why you aren’t considering installing your own PWS? I’m in a similar situation in Southern California: expensive water, localized rain fall and being NWS is too far. I’m currently trying out a PWS nearby, but if it proves to be unreliable, I’m strongly considering getting my own PWS (or actually upgrading to Rachio 3 so I don’t have to rely on a single PWS). To me it seems the costs will be quickly recouped by saved water.

So we have considered this, but PWS’s require good instruments, good placement and require maintenance to maintain accuracy. This is actually my step dad’s house that I am referencing and he is older and does not like messing with technical stuff (I also dont want him on a ladder). He is really looking for a “set it and forget it” type setup and i am far enough away where I cannot go out there every time there is a problem (I live almost 400 miles away). Just like the PWS we used to use within a half mile from his house, the rain gauge stopped working at some point and the wind gauge stopped being accurate. I would rather use a station that I know is well maintained and accurate.