How do I find my average inches per hour?

I’m brand new to Rachio.

I have a Rachio 3 that my wife got for me from Costco.

Trying to set it up to the best of my ability, slope, grass, shade, sprinkler type. etc. Its hard when a zone has 2 trees that cover 75% of the area and then have an area that no shade on the same zone. Then I have a trouble zone (zone 4) on my corner lot. That strip of grass is over 150’ long and has the street on one side and the sidewalk on the other. It has a tree shading about 25 feet of grass on one end and at the other end there’s no shade. To make matters worse, the area that has no shade has several rocks mixed under the soil.

Today I went through my 6 zones looking at each sprinkler head, writing the info down and researching each to find the gallon per minute, etc. That took a long time when you have about 45 sprinklers, not including drip heads and misters.

I don’t know if I should adjust anything in the advanced settings or not on the zones under “Nozzle inches per hour” to insure I have a more accurate number.


Attached all the info for each zones and the sprinklers.

Save your empty tuna fish cans, they are about one inch thick. Place them in various points around the yard where you are questioning the amount of water put down. Run the system for a set amount of time and extrapolate the results, e.g., if after 30 minutes you have a ½" of water in the can, that’s an inch per hour. The advantage to tuna cans is that you see the actual water delivered to the ground and is probably less than flow meters show due to evaporation, blowing winds, partially-clogged nozzles, etc.


Good idea about the tuna cans. I don’t have any, so I’ll need to find some

Tuna cans, cans of clams, cat food, dog food, lots of alternatives here.

Yes what am I thinking. Our cat food comes in those size cans and I’ll save them. Thank you

Here you go, this is what I used: Tuna Can Challenge

Prior to doing this, I was over watering. My bills were pretty large. Adjusted scheduled based on readings I got and got my watering down as needed and also got to save some green in my pocket.

Will take a look. Thank you

Hi Steve,
Forgive me if you already know this. The irrigation design that you have is going to make programming the Rachio to efficiently water the plant/trees in each zone you described a bit difficult. One programs it for the plants and conditions in each zone. You have many plants and conditions in an individual zone. You may want to tweak the irrigation design or landscape.

Ideally all of the plants in the shade should be in the same zone. All of the trees with the same water requirements should be on the same zone. All of the plants in the sun in another zone. Turf in it’s own zone. If there is a slope that would be on a zone. Vegetable garden in a zone. Xeriscape plants zone, moderate water plants zone, etc. The ideal is rarely seen unless the irrigation design is based on the plant hydrozones instead of on installation layout convenience.

Another option is to look at the plants in each of the areas mentioned. If any of those in the shade are not doing well, they probably should be in the sunny garden. The goal is to have the plants with the same water requirements & sun or shade requirements together in a zone or Hydrozone. I hope this is helpful.

Gpm or gph don’t translate to inches per hour because the area doesn’t get factored in.

Set your zones for the area that requires the most water. The rachio tends to starve things of water compared to other smart controllers I use. Eventually if you find a portion of a zone getting over watered, turn those heads down.

There we go, me having to manually set the zones times.

I had a Hunter X-core that I’ve had for the last 10 years. It had a Solar Sync they updated everyday at midnight. I set my zones several years ago and never had to mess with them. It wasn’t a smart sprinkler.

I purchased this Rachio 3 thinking it would take the guess work out of everything, it’s starting to look like the opposite.

For example with my Hunter x-core. I have 2 zones that have drip lines. This zone has 6 Drips 0-11 GPM. I have one of them scheduled to go off 2 times per day on my restriction days, Sun, Wed & Fri. One of those zones comes on @ 3:30am for 5 minutes and again @ 5:30am for 6 minutes. It’s completely in the shade & mulched. Watering for 11 minutes 3 times per week, I’ve never had a problem. My second drip zone also goes off 2 times per watering in my restricted scheduled days.

Rachio wants to water this zone for over 2 hours and both my drip zones for almost 5 hours!!

Are you kidding me!!

Let’s do the math for the one zone that was going to water over 2 hours using Rachio. 2.5 hrs (150 minutes) x 11 gpm for drippers = 1650 gallons per plant x 6 roses. 6 roses getting 1650 gallons for the 2.5 hours of watering = 9,900 gallons of water for 1 zone. Unless I did the math wrong.

Rachio is supposed to save water. Not only did it want it over water, but it would waste so much water and over water and kill my Roses.

I had to go in an set those times up manually.

I’ll try the Rachio and if it doesn’t do good to the point I need to go in and adjust my other 4 zones (I already had to adjust my 2 drip zones) then I paid a bunch of money for a smart timer that I need to set the watering times for. I’ll then return it, if that’s the case.

It’s not looking promising.

Garbage in, garbage out.

For the zone that you are giving as an example. What settings do you have on that zone?

As for how you were watering with your previous Hunter, you, like me, and many others were watering exactly the opposite of how you should water to promote healthy root structures for plants.

I’ve been on Rachio for 4+ years, so I’ve had plenty of time to “re-train” my plants, but my tree drip zones run for almost 4 hours each time (3-8 2gph emitters per tree, depending on size), but Rachio only runs every 6-7 days in the summer, and as little as every 14-17 days in the winter.

I don’t know what emitters you have, but if it is drip, they aren’t 11gpm (gallons per minute). Can you tell/show what you have for your drip?


Forgive me I was incorrect. You are correct. These drippers are 0-11gph not minute. My mistake

Anyway, I attached a picture of my zone settings for my zone 3 “roses” that have these drippers and a picture of the drippers

I have since set up 3 separate schedules.

One schedule just for my 2 drip zones. I adjusted those times manually. Pictures are attached for my 2 drip zones

Thank you



Can you take a screenshot of your “advanced” zone settings?

Are you wanting to set up the Flex Daily schedule, or are you fine with the fixed schedules? Only reason I ask is that Flex daily doesn’t work that well if there are severe watering restrictions (looks like you can only water Sun, Wed, Fri).

Side note:
I’m personally not a fan of the adjustable emitters. You never really know what flow you are putting out on them. If you are looking for suggestions and have some free time while on lockdown right now, go swap those emitters with some set GPH emitters. Something in the 2-4 GPH range. I like the ones that include a pressure compensating feature. Can be found at any big box store.

I attached pictures of my drip zones advanced for zone 3 & 5

As for lockdown, I wish. I’m an essential employee and haven’t had more than my 2 days off per week

As for fixed our flex, I have 3 schedules. Zone 1&2 (north facing with a decent amount of shade) are Flex (I thought I’d try it out) zone 3&5 drip zones are on “fixed” and zone 4&6 are also on “fixed” (lots of sun)

since this whole thing started.

Are you planning to stay on Fixed for these schedules? Realistically the effort of dialing in your zones is a bit of a waste of time unless you plan on working with Flex Daily schedules. Are these date restrictions set by your city, or water utility? Like I mentioned before, Flex really doesn’t work all that well when hit with heavy restrictions.

That being said, the glaring issue is your Nozzle Inches per hour.

I had read that to set up different schedules and to set one on flex to see how it works, that’s what I’m doing.

The restrictions are set by the water department. The nozzle inches per hour, not long ago, I took the time to go through every sprinkler head I have and researched each one to find the flow. They are noted above earlier in this post.

All the data is correct except my drips like you pointed out. They are gallons per hour not minute.