I don't trust "weather intelligence" and "climate skip" AT ALL


I got a Rachio 3 about two years ago, when I changed all my lawn sprinklers over to RainBIrd rotary nozzels to save water. I live in Sunnyvale, California (Silicon Valley).

Watering seemed to be OK up until a few months ago, when my lawn started browning in spots, and my vegetable garden plants started showing real signs of distress from lack of water. the lawn is the Rainbird rotary nozzles, and the gardens are all on drip watering.

Over the past month I’ve been fiddling with Rachio zone settings, but haven’t really been happy with the result. So, in desperation, six days ago I changed the gardens to be just a straight “every 2 day Flex Monthly” schedule. I figured I’d just override all the “smarts” in the controller and have it run every other day.

Imagine my surprise when I looked at my garden this morning and saw nothing but wilted plants! I checked Rachio, and the last time the garden schedule ran was SEVEN DAYS AGO! After I asked it to run every 2 days.

I looked, and saw that the schedule had been skipped on the 21st, 23rd and 25th because of a “climate skip.” Clearly, the “weather intelligence” decided that the garden had enough water, and I had all the WI skips enabled.

The high temperatures for the last 7 days were: 83/84/88/89/88/88/85 and we’ve had winds averaging 8 mph over that time. Oh…and, this being Silicon Valley in the summer, there has of course been no rain.

I quickly turned off ALL the weather intelligence settings for all my zones, because I simply don’t trust it anymore. How can Rachio think that it’s OK to not water a vegetable garden for over a week, when there hasn’t been rain, and the temperatures have been in the high 80s the entire time?

That’s just nuts.

So, I am extremely suspicious of the accuracy of the algorithms used by Rachio for determining weather skips, especially in a climate that has literally no rain from about April through September.

Any advice, other than just running Rachio like a dumb controller?

Very frustratedly,

I personally am not a fan of Flex Monthly as it uses historical data, and I’d rather use current data. If I was you, I’d temporarily set everything up on a Fixed Schedule. Then I’d start zone by zone easing into Flex Daily for the lawn. I would make the garden area one of the last to move to Flex Daily as you’ll have a better feel how Flex Daily works/responds by then. You can still use all the weather intelligence features, so if you do get rain, you won’t water.

I would also use a PWS near you rather than just straight weather intelligence. Just check to make sure it is actually recording precipitation (which you won’t be able to do until you get some rain.)

If your garden is watered by drip emitters, that will also take a little more work figuring out your actual Nozzle Inches per Hour. This calculator (developed by another Rachio user in Arizona) will help you get the drip emitters setup. Drip Emitter Calculator for Precipitation Rate & Area

I get more rain than you in NC, but once I got the system dialed in, it has worked very well on my mix of vegetation.

The community here will help if you have more questions.

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Hi, Linn. Thanks for the response. I’ll take your advice and reset everything to a fixed schedule, and then start easing towards Flex Daily. I’ve had the Rachio for two years, and was happy up until this year, so I wonder if Rachio changed something???

The PWS station I use is my own, about 30 feet up on my house. And yes, it works properly! So I should have ultra-local weather information.

Yes, the garden is on drip emitters; I’ll take a look at the calculator you mentioned.

I’m beginning to wonder if the fancy Weather Intelligence simply doesn’t work well in a climate that gets zero, and I mean zero, rain for about 6 months as we do here in the SF Bay Area.