Flex Schedules vs. the New "As Needed" schedule

Nice! Thank you. I’ll give it a try.


If it was supposed to water on the day that IFTTT skipped on, it would just get picked up for the next day.


Sweet ! I didn’t realize that a fixed schedule would still allow a make up watering.


I’m sorry, I misspoke. I was thinking in the context of the flex schedules. A flex would pick that up, however, fixed schedules do not currently make up missed waterings. It’s something we’ve been thinking about how to incorporate.

Sorry for the confusion.


No problem. Is it safe to assume that the new ‘As Needed’ will pick it up? I changed over to it last night.

I’m pretty new to the Rachio community. I just got mine up and going a couple of weeks ago. I setup my flex schedule and was in love with it. It seemed like a smart controller just doing its thing. I downloaded the new app last night and was not as happy with the new as needed schedule. It seems like it went back to just being a standard time intervals again and not detailed like flex was. I miss seeing the graph and showing moisture level. I could keep track of how well it was watering compared to if my lawn was actually not drying out. I was glad to see i could still setup my flex schedule if i logged into the website. I’m not opposed to change, but I feel like the amount of change that was lost was significant. I would suggest keeping flex around for those that it works for and having the other schedules for those that need it. I think what you had going with the flex schedule was a good thing, and will miss it if it does completely go away.

Thanks for the feedback, promise we won’t leave the community hanging regarding flex.


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It seems I’m not alone in my reaction, given your rapid iteration on the web version of the app. I’m afraid that you’re a bit too close to the development and overly enamored with the new features, which might have blinded you to how your early adopter users might react to having a favorite feature deprecated, even if it doesn’t effect the majority of your customers. We understand that you’re not taking it away right away, but you’ve said it will be removed in November, so why would we continue to invest our time in a feature we can’t continue to use indefinitely?
When I talk about a migration path, I’m interested in continuity of the scheduling process: that the current state of the flex schedule be used as the basis of a new as needed schedule without my having to do all the calculation of start dates and such. Even some communication of the intention to do so might have softened the blow, but your update notes talk instead of ‘merging’ the features, which sets expectations in a way that wasn’t met (or at least requires a very literal reading that you extracted pieces of the feature to incorporate into as-needed and then left the rest as-is, but adrift in the future).

The Internet is what is is, with many disparate opinions expressed at volume eleven. Frustration is only going to add volume, and I think there is much that could have been done to anticipate and mitigate such frustration in this case.


As the developers have asked, I have been patient and given As Needed a chance. It doesn’t work.

To start, there are two major flaws: cannot restrict watering days (that should have been the #1 requirement!), and the watering times are totally messed up. For example, for one of my controllers under Flex my total duration is 8hr 11min and any one zone runs every 4-7 days to get a deep watering. But under As Needed total duration is now 3hr 15min and shows that it is scheduled to run in total every other day (in New Jersey in April!). This is exactly what a number of us has feared – that this push to have a fixed schedule with skips is deeply flawed compared with the brilliance of the Flex schedules. To be honest, it is becoming clear that As Neeeded is no better than a standard dumb controller with a rain sensor attached. But at least the dumb controller could schedule which days to skip watering!

IMHO, the developers need to quickly abandon this effort and go back to making some nice to have tweaks to Flex: (1) a more detailed Do Not Water schedule, (2) adding the flow sensor capability to help monitor actual flow and to watch for broken heads, and (3) integration of multiple controllers. Those are mine, and I’m sure others have some important suggestions for Flex. And if the developers want to bring in the supposedly improved forecasting algorithms to Flex, so be it.

What has been interesting in this dialogue is that the Rachio team has yet to articulate a clear use case for As Needed. That’s probably because the one “benefit” they have mentioned for As Needed is a fixed schedule for the coming month that no one has asked for. Classic sign of marketing or development run amok (can you say New Coke?).

For those of you fortunate enough to still have Flex schedules on your controller, DO NOT DELETE THEM. At the very least, you’ll be able to use the Iro for the reasons we all bought them for this season. I’m just hoping that the Rachio team comes to its senses before finally deprecating the Flex schedules as planned in November. Otherwise, we’ll all being looking for the next smart irrigation controller.


It will not. As needed just skips a given day if we determine that the soil moisture level will not “bottom out” before the next watering day.

Thanks. Let’s say that watering is scheduled for a Saturday, and I put in a skip via IFTTT for that day. The next scheduled watering is 8 days away. If the soil moisture level isn’t ‘bottomed out’ as you say that Saturday, but does ‘bottom out’ on Sunday, does it still wait the full 8 days or somehow pull that watering day in ? I’m curious as to if Flex was smart enough to make up for my skip but ‘As Needed’ does not have the same intelligence.


If you put in the skip via IFTTT, that will supersede everything, so the next watering date, regardless of the moisture level, will be Sunday. We’ve been thinking about how to incorporate a delay functionality into schedules to accommodate cases like this for water as needed schedules.

Flex watering dates were recalculated every day, so that’s why it would just get picked up the next day after the skip happened.

What would happen if you issued a rain delay using IFTTT, instead of skipping the day entirely?

I believe it would still not water until the next scheduled day.

“If you put in the skip via IFTTT, that will supersede everything, so the next watering date, regardless of the moisture level, will be Sunday”

To be clear, you’re talking about the Sunday 8 days away from the issued skip, not the day after the skip ?


Correct. Sorry for the confusion.

@stonecliff, thanks for your feedback. Let’s continue the conversation here (link below) – I’ve outlined some things to consider when creating your As Needed schedules that I believe will address some of your concerns.

Just replaced my Hunter controller with a Rachio 2 today and was disappointed to find that the Flex scheduling has been removed. The primary purpose for my purchase was that I’m on a well that won’t support long watering periods.It’s my only source of water so I have to conserve. I was hoping that it would only water the zones that needed it rather than all 13 of them at once. With the Hunter I could at least group the zones and water the front one day and the back yard the next giving the well time to recharge. When I selected an as needed schedule it’s going to water all zones one after another for a total of 3.5 hours which I assume will only get longer in the dryer summer months. That’s not going to work. Any advice?

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These links will help with the water as needed scheduling, and if you want to use flex it is still available, explained in here as well. Hope this helps.

@warthogsf, you can create different watering schedules for any combination of zones desired. The app defaults to selecting all of the zones when you create a schedule; just uncheck them to removed from the schedule.

For instructions on how to create a schedule, please see this support article.

Moving forward, please keep As Needed feedback in this thread; it’s important we learn from each other’s feedback and continue the conservation on WAN schedules building off one another’s ideas: