Generated Water Schedule Start Time

Why is Rachio recommended a start time of 5am? With a 6 hours and 59 minutes rachio recommended run time meaning it would be running all morning into the hottest time of the day. (To note we have no water restrictions). From everything I’ve ever read on irrigation that would be a poor choice and rather 1 or 2 or 3am is ideal based on the length of run time. I can override it, but we bought it mainly just for the recommendations of watering times/frequency etc.

Also the default shows 0 seasonal adjustment upon initial setup, which doesn’t seem right since where far from the high of the summer heat. I checked on HunterDouglass scheduler and says my zip code should currently be set to 76% seasonal adjustment which sounds right. I can manually enter that into Rachio but once again we bought it for the main purpose of having this data calculated by Rachio based on combing all the various factors. Thanks in advance!

5am is the best time to water, heat is low, wind is low and the sun will be out pretty soon to help dry the foliage so that disease have a harder time to take hold.

as for you run time, someone else has mentioned the same issue, how is your zone configured (specifically the accumulation rate)?

Not sure I agree. As 5am is the rachio recommended “start” time. Meaning for a 7 to 9 hour schedule it will be watering zones all morning including up to 12 or 2pm in the afternoon when the it’s the absolute worse time to be watering. I just can’t believe that every irrigation site talking against watering in late morning and afternoon is the best time to water compared to the typical recommended by professionals of starting around 2 am or such (depending on length of schedule) and then ending a little after sun rise 6. Starting at 5am with such as long schedule would result in the majority all the water being evaporated.

The land is gravelly fine sandy loam, full sun, flat slope, rotor nozzles. 11 zones about 3 to 4 heads per zone with one or two that have 5 heads, cool season grass. A couple zones have different slopes, but rachio recommends the exact same watering time for those as the flat zones oddly. Never heard of a rotary zone running for 43+ minutes as that length of time typically would be only for drip irrigation of trees or sorts.

Also still not sure why the system is not setting a seasonal adjustment even though other systems are recommending 76% (-24%) based on my zipcode and current day and month. Reached out to support to hopefully find out what’s going on.

My rotor zones run for an hour, but most of that is soak time.

Can I assume you are running all 11 zones on the same day? That would make sense to the 5 hour schedule.

I don’t have cool season grass, but here in ga if you wAter your turf at 2 am on Bermuda It will look like hell in a month as fungus will overtake (unless you keep it high).

I agree watering at peak heat is not ideal (unless you need to syringe), but the only point I didn’t make is that 5 am is the best general rule of thumb. It is the most sensible default for the controller as a version of the product, even a version 2. Of my assumption is correct and you are trying to water 11 zones in a single day, that is not ideal either, I would break it up to no more than 3 day (assuming water pressure can’t support concurrent valve openings)
The seasonal adjustment I’m not sure, lack of data, maybe? Wouldn’t that be cool, deep learning for our irrigation schedules…

Right, I’m also not sure why Rachio is recommending all zones in one day. These are all the settings the Rachio generated. When I try using the Hunter schedule system online and enter in all the same data, it automatically generates two schedules some zones three days a week and the other zones the other days so that the schedule isn’t running all day into the hot sun of the morning. These are all things I assumed Rachio would do which is why I purchased it but so far it has provided worst scheduling that my non dynamic previous system.

Waiting to hear back on the seasonal adjustment as the data exists as it works on other connected irrigation systems for my area and it’s a touted feature of the rachio on their website. My first Rachio arrived completely cracked, and this second version is having these scheduling issues. So hopefully the support team can help resolve them as I’d have to have to return it again and have to rehook my old existing system. Amazon has rave reviews for Rachio so hopefully the issues are unique to my unit or a particular bug. Thanks for your thoughts.

Hi @ChrisC, good evening. I appreciate your feedback. I’m reviewing your support ticket in detail, but wanted to address your concerns related to start times, seasonal adjustments, and scheduling here.

Start Times:

This is default start time we use for all watering schedules. As @plainsane mentioned…

…watering at different times of the day is never can have negative impacts to the health of the vegetation. Nevertheless, watering during the day isn’t a goal of ours either and we’re working on a solution to fix this.

Seasonal Adjustments

The Iro creates a watering time based upon the ET on the day the schedule was created. Using the current Water Budgeting feature, we will increase/decrease the seasonal adjustment on a weekly basis. Hunter’s model uses the max ET schedule for your area (usually calculated using ET in July) as it’s reference point for 100%. It will then assign a monthly seasonal adjustment for each month based upon historical ET data. This is a great model and valid reference point, but it doesn’t account for real time weather changes.

Our v2.0 software release will enhance the current water budgeting feature by taking a new “checkbook” approach. In short, each zone will have it’s own “bank account” that will increase with “deposits” (watering events, rainfall, etc) and decrease with “withdrawals” (evaporation, wind, etc). A minimum and maximum budget for each zone will be set and the water level will automatically be kept within this budget given watering rules you set. Think of it as automated watering times with real time water budgeting on a daily basis.

I hope I addressed this concern in my last comment. I wish I could show you a preview of v2.0, but it will address many of your concerns. In case you weren’t aware, v2.0 will be released at the end of this month.


I know we’re currently reviewing your precip rates in support, but rotors can and do commonly water for 45 minutes. I know this sounds like a long time, but you have to remember that rotor heads will typically apply approximately 0.5 - 1.0 inches of water per hour. Fixed spray heads will apply approximately 1.5 – 2 inches of water per hour. This is why your rotor zones will usually need to water 2 - 4 times longer than your fixed spray zones to provide equal precipitation rates.

It’s also important to remember that to water an entire area evenly with rotor heads, you should not use the same gallon per minute (GPM) nozzles in every rotor head. You can save between 10 and 40 percent of the water used in a rotor irrigation zone by proportionally matching the precipitation/application rate of the rotor nozzles. For example, a rotor only covering a 1/3 circle should have a nozzle installed in it that is roughly applying 1/3 of the GPM that the nozzle in a full circle rotor in the same zone is applying.

We share your concern, and appreciate your feedback on this subject. We are working to address this issue in regards to schedule creation and zone grouping.


Could you tell me more about this? Did you purchase your Iro from the Rachio Store or one of our retailers? I don’t see any support tickets related to this issue under your account nor have I heard of this issue occurring before.

As promised, I will review your account in detail and be in touch via email. Feel free to reply here or email going forward.

Best, Emil

Thank you, really appreciate the detailed question by question response and helps answer a lot of my concerns. Sounds like version 2.0 will help with some items and others will be addressed in later updates. I’ll also review my rotors to see if all are the same type (I only checked one). If they are might be good to have a local water pro do a closer investigation. Once again really appreciate the detailed response.

In regards to the broken unit, it was ordered through Amazon, so they may have different procedures than through your own store.