Flow meter length feedback

Come on. The necessity of adding 6" of 1" pipe was never advertised as necessary; nor were 3 SharkBite fittings amongst which is a ball valve. Obviously this flow meter wasnt properly engineered and now you are asking the customers to take the hit. Offering me a refund is outrageous. The only reason I bought the 3rd generation was because it was required for the flow meter. I really need the flow meter. Now I will be stuck with a way overpriced controller which does nothing a garden variety $80 controller can do. Its basically fraudulent.

@nmstough - I don’t know why you think Rachio offering a refund (and I’m pretty sure it would be for both the Gen 3 and the flow meter) is outrageous. If you’re not happy, then take the refund and go. I’m not sure of the logic in saying the Rachio does nothing a garden variety controller can do - I think it does lots more. Again, if you take the refund you won’t be stuck with it. If I really needed a flow meter then I’d want to install it to get the best results - i.e. with 6" of 1" pipe. Saying the flow meter wasn’t properly engineered because of the use of a lead in pipe to still the water as it uses turbulence instead of vanes to measure the water is a non-starter to me. If one looks at other flow meters I think their documentation will specify a certain amount of distance before AND after the meter to have good results.


Sorry we couldn’t build a product to your satisfaction, but clearly you are unhappy. We will refund you on the flow meter and will gladly buy back the Rachio controller.


I dont think you understand. I already threw out my old controller and spent time installing the Rachio 3rd Gen controller, dealing with bugs on the app on at least two occasions. All the while expecting to get the wireless flow meter which is crucial for my implementation - and having paid for it all the way back in March! If you look at the pics from back then you will see no mention of needing 3 sharkbite fittings nor the minimum 6" extra 1" copper pipe. Then just recently we discover this “surprise”. Even now, take a look at:

From the technical specifications it says: " For ¾ inch copper or poly pipe: 16" of straight pipe required between the backflow preventer and valve box"
Thats false. When you need the 3 sharkbite fittings and the 6" of 1" copper additional there is absolutely no way to fit all that in 16" of straight pipe.
What I object to in all of this was the false advertising of the product. Now you are asking me to bear the cost of recovering from this mistake on Rachio’s part. Just like the app was in “beta” the product was also and only now once its being shipped are we learning of workarounds to at least get something out of it. If the extra piece was needed, it should have been added to the product itself instead of making customers chase around after even more costly parts - getting a 6" length of 1" copper isnt easy, as its usually sold in 10 foot lengths!
And thats not to mention as someone else has discovered, the end pieces of the flow meter aren’t long enough to use the SharkBite tool to remove the sharkbite fittings should that ever be necessary in the future. Another serious design flaw.

Just to clarify, from @emil in another post: “The 16” includes the flow meter." Here’s his picture


From @brad on that same thread: “That said, I totally understand your concerns about getting the sharkbites off. Have no fear! I did the same thing as you to test and was able to get the sharkbites off. It’s a little tricky, so I’ll post a video of it as soon as I grab another flow meter Monday morning.”

I get the frustration that you didn’t know about the 6 inches of 1" copper pipe when you pre-ordered it, but you have to know purchasing a product before it has been shipped has its risks and unknowns, no matter who is behind it. As an engineer every design intent we have when creating and marketing products will undoubtedly have wrinkles when first exposed to the customer base. IMHO Rachio does not release a product before it is ready, and that can’t be said for many developers. Ever since tinkering with new products since my Commodore 64 days, and I’ve tinkered a helluva lot, I have yet to find a company that has the level of support and engagement than the Rachio team has with its customers, and I have found their controllers and software to be absolutely amazing products. You are very much underestimating the power of the controller when you compare it to a garden variety $80 controller. I’ve saved the cost of my Rachio several times over with their Flex Daily algorithm. I truly wish you the best of luck moving forward.


If you look at that picture the handle of the ball valve extends way past the place where the Sharkbite fitting connects to the copper. Thats a problem because the handle would hit the irrigation valve (in the ground). So I dont think it is accurate to say that 16" is the minimum.

But it isnt clear to me why you need that ball valve. Why cannot you use a 3/4" x 1" reducing coupling on the valve end of the flow meter? That saves space and also avoids the problem of the handle.

Hi @nmstough, fittings were never advertised as included with the flow meter. Additionally, straight pipe upstream and downstream of the flow meter is a requirement for most wired flow meters on the market – typically it’s phrased as The flow meter should be installed with 10 times the pipe diameter before and five times the pipe diameter after the flow meter. The Rachio Wireless Flow Meter only needs 6 inches upstream/before the flow meter.

I’ll work with the marketing team to ensure we clarify that fittings are not included and quantity needed vary based installation requirements.

Maybe we can hit the refresh button on your installation and work together to find a solution? I’d be curious to better understand your system – what size and material pipe do you have? Can you post a photo by chance? From your comments I believe you have 3/4" copper.

I believe I’ve found a simple solution for this using a few low cost parts (threaded fittings and unions) if it’s a concern; parts will vary pending the pipe size and type we’re connecting to.

You don’t need the ball valve fitting; it’s just the only 1 inch PVC to 3/4" copper sharkbite fitting we’ve found carried at major stores. Maybe you’ve found a different, better fitting option? If so, please let us know :slight_smile:

End of the day, we want you to love your controller and flow meter. If you’re not happy with either, let’s discuss over DM (or over the phone), and we’ll make things right for you.


I would be interested to see the solution using low cost parts. I am very concerned about using sharkbit and not being able to remove it later, despite one poster claiming he was able to do it with flatheads. I cant upload a photo of my situation because I have insulating tape on the pipe and I dont want to remove it until I am ready to install the flow meter.

Maybe its the case that you need some straight pipe, but why is it the case that you need the 1" piece. I have enough straight existing 3/4" copper pipe. Why wasnt the flow meter designed with 3/4"ends since that is what most people have for their irrigation line

Your explanation of the ball valve doesn’t cut it since in the instructions there is one 3/4"x1" reducing coupling required at the other end where the 1" extra piece has to be joined to the 3/4" existing pipe. So you are assuming that one can obtain one of those anyway. And these days whats the problem waiting a day or two for mail order delivery if you cant find it at a Home Depot? Ferguson has them and they have outlets in most major metropolitan areas.

Funny that you mentioned Ferguson. My plumber canceled my flow meter install because he was trying to get the one without the ball valve from them yesterday and he said they didn’t have them in the local shop or warehouses. I’m waiting to hear back what he comes up with.

A bit of feedback regarding my plumber and that ball valve. He wanted to try to install a non-ball-valve version of the 1" x 3/4" fitting recommended in the 3/4" copper instructions. He said he couldn’t find them at his regular places so he gave up and bought the ball valve version.

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@azdavidr, I assume he was looking for this fitting? I think it’s in high demand :wink:

@nmstough, the 6" of 1" pipe before the flow meter is needed to stabilize the water flow to avoid turbulence and inaccurate usage readings.

Regionally, pipe size and type vary. Same as indoor/outdoor installations for the controller.

We launched the product as a 1" flow meter and will reassess if other sizes are needed in the future.

We’ll update the install instructions to reflect this. From a cost perspective, it’s cheaper to use the 3 fittings than 4; pricing below:

3 fittings:

  1. 1 in. x 3/4 in. Brass Push-to-Connect Reducer Coupling x1 = $16
  2. 1 in. Brass Push-to-Connect PVC IPS x CTS Conversion Coupling x1 = $19
  3. 1 in. PVC IPS x 3/4 in. CTS Brass Push-to-Connect Ball Valve x1 = $25

TOTAL: $60

4 fittings:

  1. 1 in. x 3/4 in. Brass Push-to-Connect Reducer Coupling x2 = $32
  2. 1 in. Brass Push-to-Connect PVC IPS x CTS Conversion Coupling x2 = $38

TOTAL: $70

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He says that part doesn’t connect to PVC @emil ?

I got my 1 inch CTS to 3/4 inch CTS in Lowes as HD did not have any

Correct, @azdavidr – you’d need to insert a short transition of 1" copper between fittings 1 & 2 (below); the PVC IPS side connects to the Flow Meter on both sides. Effectively, you’re mirroring the configuration on both sides as pictured here.

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It’s pretty typical to have a certain amount of straight pipe before or after the flow meter to prevent turbulence from giving false readings. Also, with so many installation options available such as copper, pvc, etc, it’s unreasonable to ask Rachio to supply all of the necessary parts for your install, not to mention wasteful.

What Rachio could do down the road is offer bundles for the specific install methods however that would add a decent chunk of sku’s to their offering and the price of the kits would reflect that.

Like others have said, it was offered as a beta/pre-order so inevitably there will be bugs. Wait a few months and I bet most of your concerns will have been addressed.


@Aquaman30k you nailed it – we’ve considered selling fitting kits but the variables make it hard to estimate demand. Perhaps in the future, but at the moment, we’re hoping detailed documentation and connecting customer to local RachioPros will help bridge any installation difficulties.


If it saves time, it saves money.

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PVC lock works