I hate the Rachio

I can’t stand the Rachio. I never intended to install one, but got a new sprinkler timer and it’s the one that my irrigation contractor installed for me. I am thinking about ripping it out and installing a traditional irrigation timer instead.

I initially set it for flex daily mode but something wasn’t right and it wasn’t watering enough. Started to kill the plants that my landscaper installed earlier this spring. So I turned off the flex daily and went to flex monthly. Had it set right at about 7 minutes per zone for shrubs and 15 min for lawns.

Then on September 1st, Rachio arbitrary made a seasonal adjustment to cut the watering times in half. problem is the summer was still strong. Low and behold, plants started to die again.

I now have to readjust the Rachio to cancel seasonal adjust because it doesn’t match the actual seasons here in Seattle.

I’m really frustrated. Rachio is neat technology but places way too strong of emphasis on dramatically reducing water usage. I don’t care about water usage, I want my plants to stay alive.

So was it perfect all through June thru August ?

Why not take the time to dial in Flex Daily? It is by far the most advanced scheduling program. If it wasn’t watering enough, there were most likely some errors in the settings.

@bigtrees Are you just having a moan, or have you actual interest in fixing the issues ?

In lieu of going through the trouble of ripping out Rachio for a traditional timer, you can always switch to fixed schedule type. Having an option for a smarter schedule type may come in handy down the road.
To do it’s job, Rachio needs to know a lot about your yard & plants; for those unable or unwilling to spend the time upfront to fine tune the settings, fixed schedule should work as well as any other traditional irrigation controller.


Rather than taking it out, you can turn off all the automatic features and add them back one by one as you need them. That means forgetting FLEX entirely (which isn’t nearly as wonderful as advertised) and turning off the weather intelligence, as well as cycle and soak.

Once you have everything running as you had before, consider where you think your yard could benefit from some tweaking and go from there.

I really think that it depends on the region. Regions with numerous unpredictable rains, such as regions of Florida, give Flex schedules room to be used to the fullest. My water bill, for example, went down by about $80 / month when I switched from the traditional controller years ago, and I’ve not looked back since.

I agree that FLEX is helpful when there is a decent amount of rain to manage. For those of us who live without rain for most of the year and/or are on mandatory watering plans, it’s a bust And some of the intelligence features can make things worse. Everything was much too dry when I switched, even though I had the same days and durations programmed. I didn’t realize that smart cycle and some of the intelligence features were overriding things and less water was making it to both the grass and plants. It’s taken a year for me to feel that all the programs are doing what they need to do here.

Anyone with a spare zone should use it as a test zone, mirroring the setup of maybe a fixed schedule, and then tuning to get the same / similar frequency and duration of watering, so you save when it rains and during the cooler months.

The other option is to have a test zone, mirroring the setup of a fixed zone and see what Rachio is suggesting and how it differs from your current manual frequency and duration.

1 Like

I 100% disagree. I’m in a suburb of Phoenix, and I think we’ve logged under 4.5" of rain this year, with well over 100 days with 100 degree + temps, and my yard looks amazing…

Are you on mandated watering days?

Me? No. Depending on your watering restrictions, Flex Daily can still work. Main issue is it gets funky and will water two days in a row, oversaturating a bit because it knows it can’t make it to the next watering day without dropping below AD.

If you are limited to only 1 or 2 days a week, then you might as well just set up fixed schedules because you will need to water on those two days regardless

1 Like

I’m in the Phoenix area (hot desert summers) and Flex Daily is working well for me. You do need to be willing to take the time to get your settings correct for Flex Daily to work.

Once you have the correct settings, if you’re still not getting enough water, you can simply increase crop coefficient to increase the watering frequency.

If you have mandated water restrictions, Flex Daily CAN still work depending on the severity of the restrictions. If the restrictions are really severe, such as being allowed to water only once or twice a week, your best option is probably a Fixed Schedule.


Using Fixed Schedules isn’t as straightforward as it appears because the controller will still invoke the “intelligence” features unless the user turns them off too. I discovered that early on when I started by setting things as they were on my old controller only to find that everything was too dry. Forum members here didn’t believe that my previous water setting could have been adequate, which wasn’t at all helpful. I later realized that some of the intelligence settings were decreasing the actual water and resulting in a dry lawn. It took a lot of troubleshooting just to replicate the old controller. Once I did though, I was able to add/adjust the features to improve coverage and finally save water. It was not an easy process.