How does the flow sensor work for Gen2?


I have ordered a gen 2 Rachio and a Rainbird WR2-RC rain sensor. However, I have just discovered that the Rachio can use data from my Netatmo rain gauge via PWS. So now I’m wondering if I even need the sensor. Plus, it seems like a flow meter would provide more useful data to the Rachio.

Any opinions on this would be appreciated. I like the idea of a flow meter a lot. Would Rachio be able to use the flow meter to sense when water flow was too high (a big leak or broken head) and alert you? That would be a great feature.




Thank you for your support! This is a completely unbiased response but if your existing Netatmo can work as a rain gauge then I would not buy an additional sensor.

The addition of the flow meter can be very beneficial in your water conservation effort. Currently, we cannot alert you to a spike because of a large leak or broken head. However, we are alway working on improving our product and love excellent suggestions like this. I will pass this along to the development team.

Have a great day!


Any new updates on when the Flow Sensors will be supported for all users? I just discovered a broken head and realized that working flow sensor could have been a great way to find a dramatic change in water usage and trigger an alert suggesting something was wrong with the system.


We currently do support flow sensors for all users but have not built sophistication around alerting, etc.

If you do install a flow sensor we can accurately measure all water usage that flows through your irrigation system and render reports. (this article needs to be updated, not beta anymore).

On our roadmap are more features related to flow.



I have just installed the flow sensor. For my wish list I’d like to suggest:

  1. Water usage per station
  2. Alerts when a station has increased it’s water usage (suggesting a leak or bad sprinkler head)


So, to make sure I understand properly. The utilization reports I receive in the app should be reflective of the measurement from my already installed flow sensor? The app is still reporting that it’s based on ‘typical valve flow rates’.

Is this feature actually rolled out to general users and supported in the app, or still pending. I’m still confused.


Sorry for the confusion, that copy needs to be changed.

The feature is rolled out and available but there are some features (diagnostics, leak detection, etc.) that are still on the roadmap. We are currently determining when these features will be available.

If you hook up a flow sensor today our reporting will use exact flow in calculating used/savings metrics.

Does that help answer all your questions?



Thanks for that. Given the inconsistencies between app, web site, etc… it’s hard to tell the status of it. Is there a place I should be reporting a bug then since when I download the CSV of utilization data on my system it has no data after 6/4/16?


I installed a flow sensor but the water usage reported exactly the same as before installing the flow sensor which I find hard to believe. How do I know that the flow sensor is actually working? I did activate the sensor and set it to flow in the software.


@donsullivan and @dss2000:

I apologize for the confusion here. We are still in beta for the flow sensor. The primary reason is due to the fact that we don’t have a test mode or indication of whether the sensor is working built into the app yet. I am handling each request that comes into the beta email as described in the support article:

Basically, I’m working with each customer that joins the beta group to make sure their sensor is working. This is not ideal, but at least gets folks up and running until we have the feature fully built out in the app.

@donsullivan and @dss2000 please DM me or shoot an email to with the subject “Flow BETA Tester” and I can work with you to make sure your flow sensors are working properly.



It’s been a few months so I thought I would check back. Is the flow sensor still not general release? Is there any sense of when this will be supported. I purchased the hardware to provide this capability when my system was installed back in the spring but it seems I wasted $500+ dollars since the flow sensor is apparently still not supported



We do report actual water usage on the reporting charts if a flow sensor is connected. Are there other metrics you were looking for?




You have a lot of good replies for installing a flow sensor as I install my sensor about three months ago. Certainly install it for the OEM recommendations and allow easy access for replacing sensor parts years down the road.

SEE my posting “Monthly Water Used add Variable start date” to suggest adding this feature to adjust flow sensor monthly start date. This will allow us to better evaluate the flow sensor data with the actual utility meter data.

The more likes that I have I am told by Rachio, the more likely this is upgraded. I have since added a Netatmo weather station to better manage weather forecasting.




I hadn’t seen clear closure that the feature was now officially working on both the app and website. The messages were so mixed the last time I inquired, I figured it would be best to go back to the same thread.


Great thread btw…

We are working on a system similar to this. Using a flow senor like “Cahawkins51” mentioned in their post the Hall Effect sensor would be cost effective, cheaper then a water meter. (even with our dealer prices water meters ($45 range)) The downside of using the flow senors is the accuracy of the GPM with under 1 GPM leak… where as a “water meter” will still capture this reading.

Currently we use our wireless transmitters to capture the pulses from the meters for cities and multi-family markets, and send this info to our cloud and then accessible through our app.

We have prototypes in place now, all we need is to be able to integrate our data (gallons used, high / low alarms, battery levels and more into the Rachio interface.

** our transmitters will wake up every 59 minutes and report in… so we know the status of each, or when ever 10 or more gallons of water is being used. So we capture usage in real-time. this is great for real-time leak notifications. Battery life is 8yrs with our standard battery.


Common use is for the 2-wire pulse-output flow meters on irrigation mainlines.

You can use EKM Metering’s 2-wire pulse-output water meters on an irrigation mainline. $70.

You can push flow data to cloud with wireless pulse counters and cellular or ethernet gateways. I’ve used Monnit’s hardware for this purpose.

Also I’m experimenting with 3-wire hall-effect flow sensors which are much cheaper and can also be used with some additional low-cost hardware.

Here is a Monnit setup I’m currently using:

Wireless signal from pulse sensor dropped a little after moving pulse transmitter 150ft. to backyard next to irrigation controller and pump. .

I’m using a 3-wire hall-effect flow sensor and an Arduino Uno board to bring signal to a Monnit wireless pulse counter.

Note that iMonnit Basic is free but only outputs raw pulses with the 4-input Multi Pulse Counter. Upgrading to Monnit Premier will allow scaling from pulses to GPM. Not really necessary as long as you want to look at just raw pulse output. I’ve haven’t had good success with the 1-input counters but I’m working with Monnit on this technical issue.


Another thing I should have added. My shallow well pump will start drawing in air during extended dry spells. So output from flow sensor will still pulse out approx. the same but of course air will be running in the pipes with the water. It’s something that I have to accept. I try to stick with low flow rates, drip line and lower GPM nozzles on my sprinklers. Hunter rotors have special nozzle sizes that do fractional GPMs, 0.75 gmp to be exact. Rainbird rotor nozzles only go down to 1 GPM.

Like Rachio’s system design, I prefer monitoring irrigation flow data on iMonnit cloud server rather than just have data inside controller only. Yes, smart controllers like Hunter I-Core can shut down excess flow with the master valve. But what about NO FLOW? At least I can get automated SMS text alerts if my flow starts going too low or too high with iMonnit. Or look a graph on cloud with updates every 2 hrs. Nice to monitor garden when you’re out of town, so you don’t come back to see a dead, dry garden of vegetables without at least some warning.


The current list of flow sensors are outrageously priced. I don’t see why this sensor wouldn’t work. It will easily handle 100psi, it’s $15, has a pulsing output from a hall effect sensor, and is for 3/4" pipe.

Oh and it measures 1-60 Liters/min which is just over 1/4 gallon per minute so with a 1G/min leak this would in theory “see it”. So this will do ~15 gallons/min and a larger 1 1/4" version that will to 1-120L/min


Hey @eb1326-

Sorry for the delayed response. Our current list of flow sensors were selected based on what sensors were most popular in the market. As we continue to explore the world of flow sensors and they become more and more popular with homeowners, I agree that investigating more cost effective solutions will be important! Thank you for those links… I am not familiar with that sensor, I will check it out!

McKynzee :rachio:


Thanks Mckynzee. :slight_smile: How long before support will be added for these? My watering season is fast approaching, maybe two weeks from now.