How does the rachio calculate how many gallons of water?

I see the rachio asks me for what type of nozzles i have and makes some assumptions but it does not ask me how many nozzles i have. Without this info how does it know how many gallons of waters are being used? Also is there a place i can get the info for my nozzles if i knew the model number? Is there anything else i can do to make water usage reporting more accurate?

In your zone under advanced options, there’s a square footage setting. That looks to drive the water usage. I wish it was by number of nozzles but it currently isn’t. For drip emitters I just use 1 sq/ft per emitter (for example.)

this seems highly unscientific?

Well, it certainly wasn’t intuitive (at least for me.) I had it just at the default 1,000 sq ft and my initial first water had hundreds of gallons used when it should have been way, way less. There are other threads on here where people have gone back and forth about it. I’m sure @franz or @emil could explain why it’s done this way, I just know that setting affects it.

this seems highly unscientific?

Each zone has a inches/hour setting for how much water falls. That times the area gives the volume of water dispersed. Reasonably scientific, I think.

The problem comes with how do you figure out the inches/hour number. Catch cups work. Sprinkler heads often give you that value but they presume a particular line pressure and as well often have adjustment screws that change things.

I think everyone runs into this at the start. IMHO the device should MAKE you give it the sq footage. I doubt that 1000 sq ft is actually right for very many zones. But of course the more you make the user do the less “friendly” the initial setup.

So the recommendation is set out catch cups and run the zone for a few minutes and see what they catch. (I use three and take an average.) Convert that to inches/hour. Also measure (at least closely estimate) the area of the zone. As to drips, I don’t know a good way to get the inches/hour. I just went with what the drip head said. I also use 1 sq ft per drip.

It might be nice to simply measure the water flow while you are watering, but that is not a simple task for me.

I think if catch cups are so critical to the Iro working correctly, they should have included some in the box :slight_smile: I also agree that since the water use and savings is such a touted part of the product, the actual setting up of relevant settings is important. Perhaps it should start disabled and if you want to enable it, then prompt the user to enter sq footage with some explanation about why. Without coming here I wouldn’t even have known to do 1 sq/ft per emitter since that isn’t explained anywhere in the app.

Still though, I’d rather just enter the known flow rate of my various emitters / nozzles (in gph) and enter the number of them in a zone. For example, one of my zones has 14 2-gph emitters. It stands to reason that assuming my overall water pressure is good (and it is) then in one hour, the zone has consumed 28 gallons. Leave the in/hr measurements for dealing with moisture balance, not water usage.

I agree with @cfwiggum. There are two things in play here.

  1. How many gallons of water used in the time that the sprinkler system was active. That is good to know for billing purposes etc. In some jurisdictions, you pay x amount for y amount of gallons and then x + z for anything over y. Since water consumption in the home stays pretty steady, I know how many gallons I have to work with for landscaping purposes.
  2. How much precipitation is applied to the yard. This is where the catch cups come in. This will let me know if the water is distributed evenly, how much evaporates etc.

When rachio reports gallons used (and saved), I believe it should be based on the figure described in (1). When it needs to calculate how much to water it needs to factor in the figure from (2).

Those two are not the same IMHO.

Works great for a rotor head maybe but is useless for a zone running a drip setup. The Iro doesn’t seem geared towards drip beyond a couple generic nozzles. 1,000 sq ft defaults, in/hr nozzle ratings (when drip is heavily geared towards gph,) no ability to say how many emitters are in a zone, no in-app breakdown of the most common emitters (1/2 gph, 1 gph etc.)

That said, yep I totally agree catch cups are the way to go for the best info. They just happen to be useless for my setup :smile:

Regarding the nozzle selection process:
Why are calculations made based on the nozzle selection rather than their flow rate?
The flow rate is the flow rate regardless of the nozzle. Is there more to it behind the scenes that we are not aware of?
Why are certain nozzles excluded from participating in the smart cycle regardless of their flow rates?
And if you have a schedule with a non Smart Cycle nozzles can’t the schedule program:
A) The schedule program Smart Cycle all the qualifying zones and treat the normal zones like a normal zone with no smart cycle.
B) Blank out your Smart Cycle button in the Edited Fixed Schedule letting you know that you have a zone that does not meet the criteria.

drip systems are too dynamic to prescribe. i cant fault them here. i just thunder humped my zone settings until it gave me the run times i wanted.

but as i have said on probably 23 replies now, without a flow valve, these water charts are nothing more than a trophy wife, great to look at but most likely deceitful.