I know what kind of sprayheads we have and had setup the initial Fixed schedule as per the recommendation of our city irrigation inspector.
This goes more to the flex setup since fixed doesn’t care about precipitation rate. Based on the screenshots you took it looks like you used the default nozzles provided by Rachio (Rotor, fixed spray head). These set your precipitation rate and depending on your system they may not completely match the actual rate being output by your zones. If the default values are much lower than the actual rate then you would have much longer run times than you actually need. You can look up the sprayheads and find manufacturer precipitation rates that assume you have the ideal pressure for the head and ideal layout for each zone.
I think this thread well illustrates the challenges Rachio product presents to almost all.
Run it on auto flex, offer more/better settings (I shouldn’t have to specify trees to properly water buffalo grass; shouldn’t have to specify shrubs to properly water zoysia grass).
It’s rare to have a user already know the right amount to put down. 1.75 hours. I think the ‘warm season grass’ setting is just putting out too much water, and that algorithm adjustment is still needed.
At some point the Rachio will get to be so good that it will further improve on the 1.75 hours per week.
For now I recommend you change your zone plant type to ‘shrubs’ - it will cause about once per week watering for your Frisco location.
@Lawnmowerman, I had a similar starting situation on clay with a steep slope, where my predicted watering time all of a sudden was 11 hours, and I felt that I am for sure heading in the wrong direction. I saw that you have “smart cycle” set to on. Therefore, like in my case you might have a lot of idle time built in, since smart cycle will only put as much water on a zone as it calculates to not produce run off. In other words, it might water Zone XX for 3 minutes, service the other zones in the schedule, and then wait the remainder of the 30 minutes before watering Zone XX again (check Watering History window, where you have the details of each part of the watering run. You should see entries like “cycled for YY minutes”, i.e. no water flows).
Another way to check this is to pull up the water usage graphs, where it gives you the gallons or the minutes actually watered (excluding the wait times), which should be much shorter than the completed smart cycle run.
I’d definitely recommend doing a catch cup test to find out exactly what your precipitation rate is (possibly doing this per zone). Most sprayheads have specs that have precipitation rate as a function of system pressure (check out https://www.rainbird.com/documents/diy/SprayNozPerformance.pdf for an example). I think the default PR for Rachio Fixed Spray Head is in the 1.4-1.6"/hr area. My catch cup tests indicated that my PR was actually 2"/hr, so by creating a custom nozzle with a 2"/hr setting, my runtimes adjusted downwards appropriately.
@hgugger makes a good point about looking at total watering time vs actual watering time. The screenshots you posted show the amount of time the sprinklers are on. The start-to-finish schedule times are displayed when you click on a particular date on the calendar and see what schedules are predicted to run that day, and for how long. The phone app also lets you see the play-by-play of each zone watering or cycling, but the web view doesn’t show you this information (it just takes you to the schedule editing page).
One thing I notice that does not look correct is all your zones are set to 1000 sq ft. Definitely need accurate areas & precip rates to dial in your run times.
The precipitation rate is critical to the run time, but area does not factor in at all. Area is only used to estimate water usage.
Ahh yes… need to drink more coffee this morning
Thanks Bill. I had some email exchanges with Rachio support and they recommended I stick with Fixed since Frisco restricts residents to watering a total of one time every seven days (I checked with the city).
Aah, the total time makes more sense if it takes into account idle time between watering. Thanks!
Thank you all for a great discussion. I appreciate all your responses and suggestions.
I agree with comment from Plano. Call city of Frisco to get clarification from the irrigator supervisor. Pretty sure you can get a variance. Ask them for controller programming assistance. They offer a free sprinkler system checkup.
Just looked at the City of Frisco website. You are right. You can only water one day a week unless their weather station claims two days of watering is needed. I am clueless how to set up your controller. I’m up here in Oklahoma City and with 100 degree temperatures, Rachio waters every even day. The DFW area is in bad shape with water supplies. Can you select the Frisco weather station?
Yes, I got the one day a week info from the city water department. I have selected the closest weather station to my location in Frisco.
You have a Rachio which is on Frisco’s approved list. Put your city provided sign out in your front yard that shows you’re exempt from the watering requirements, set your Rachio on daily flex scheduling, set your daily start time at 1 AM, set your plant type to warm season grass, watch how much more than 1.75 hrs per week you’re watering, and then adjust downward the percent schedule watering adjustment.
And then as it finally starts raining and getting cooler, sit back and watch how the controller automatically pulls back. By late fall you’ll be putting down almost no water without having to do any manual intervention.
Man, just thinking about all the restrictions people have in the Rachio community here gives me a headache… I’m so glad I live in the lush tropical area known as the Sonoran desert where we do not have any restrictions
@Modawg2k I’ve lived in this desert for 22 years and have yet to understand how we can have so many golf courses and pools, on top of not having any water restrictions. I guess we owe it all to Colorado snow? Regardless, it doesn’t seem right.
@azdavidr Yeah, but just look at our receding lakes. Phoenix alone is so large that we are draining those resources
In the late '60s Congress approved the Central Arizona Project (CAP) to bring water from the Colorado River, but getting the project done involved a lot of bickering and political maneuvering to accomplish. In particular, California and Arizona went head to head over water allocations. In order to win them over, Arizona agreed that the CAP would have the lowest priority water rights.
That means if the drought continues–and both Lake Powell and Lake Mead are at the lowest levels yet–Arizona will be hardest hit in terms of water allocations. We will see water restrictions or at the very least, higher rates.
The Phoenix and Tucson areas need to stop building golf courses and not approve developments that are built around man-made “lakes”. It’s a desert, for Pete’s sake!
I couldn’t agree more. It seems like the golf course issue shouldn’t get worse as golf in the valley is on the decline. There’s a golf course down here that closed and another up for sale. Of course the residents on the course have created a stink trying to make the developer keep it open, even if they were losing money. They couldn’t force the operators to keep it open, but they have prevented the land from being re-zoned for 3 years. It’s a huge mess, literally.
It’s even worse now than the pictures in that article. After three years of living against a really gross landscape, and the developer brings an idea of an agricultural community to the area. It does include additional homes, but of course there needs to be some source of income to cover the expense.
Many of the residents of that community are still insisting on a golf course! I get that it must be terribly painful to buy a golf course property and have it go south, but you can’t force a business to be viable, so then what ?
There’s a 3rd course (Raven) nearby that wanted to redevelop as they are struggling. The community shot him down so we’ll see where that goes.