IFTTT notification needed when water usage hits XYZ cf


#1

Hi,

I’m looking for a way to get an IFTTT notification when my water usage reaches 5000cf. In turn I want to use this notification to create a rain delay for the irrigation until the 1st of the next month (when current monthly usage resets).

Any suggestion on how to achieve this ?

My water bill will shoot literally with $400 for one single watering if I exceed the quota of 5000cf. One full watering on 7 zones actually takes about 380cf, but the jump from 5000cf to 5380ct is literally billed at 16x the normal water price and will end up easily with $400 extra for just one run.

So I do need in any possible way to shut down the irrigation if I hit that quota . Right now I have put an hour meter at the master valve power supply and if I get to 28 hours I cut the power to the master valve so even if Rachio turns on the irrigation no water goes thru. However this is not accurate since the volume of water per unit of time varies widely from zone to zone and some times I forgot to reset the hour meter on the 1st of the month so the irrigation is off for longer than needed.

Many times is the 28th of the month when I reach that quota and I can actually wait few days until the next month to restart the irrigation. Of course I can look in the app every day when the end of month is near, however I forgot to do this once last year and I paid $$$. I can also always turn off the power to the irrigation with a timer between the 25th of the month and end but that is not the best either since in some months (even in Aug) it decides to rain so I could be well within the quota in certain months.

So, ideally I create a set of IFTTT rules such if the currently monthly usage reaches XYZ I create a rain delay until the 1st of the next month.

Any help is appreciated. With the extra $$$ I paid last year exceeding the quota I could have bought two more Rachio-s easely :slight_smile:

MuchHat


#2

Hi, @MuchHat !

Lucas here, with Rachio.

I’m a fan of IFTTT recipes myself, as I use its calendar integrations daily.
You’ve presented an interesting request/challenge here, and I certainly understand the usefulness. As you mentioned, below:

Exceeding this quota could have a huge impact on water bill, so I have to ask – have you considered investing in an in-line Flow Sensor? We’ve recently added the ability to track actual measured usage with the aid of such a sensor. (it overrides the calculated values as default)
You mentioned the accuracy (or lack thereof) of your current method(s): [quote=“MuchHat, post:1, topic:3546”]
Right now I have put an hour meter at the master valve power supply and if I get to 28 hours I cut the power to the master valve so even if Rachio turns on the irrigation no water goes thru. However this is not accurate since the volume of water per unit of time varies widely from zone to zone and some times I forgot to reset the hour meter on the 1st of the month so the irrigation is off for longer than needed.
[/quote]
I feel it’s worth shopping flow sensors (examplenot an endorsement :wink: ) for best possible accuracy. This would be an investment, for sure, as flow sensors can be rather pricey. The peace-of-mind of knowing your usage was being measured by your controller (rather than simply calculated from input variables) would be the pay off.

After some digging, I see that monthly usage is not a metric that can currently be tracked within IFTTT. I can certainly see the benefits of doing so, however, and I’ll bring this suggestion to our engineers.

Thanks for reaching out, and for an intriguing proposal! We’ll be investigating further.

Happy Watering!
~Lucas :rachio:


#3

Hi Lucas,

Thank you for taking the time to look into this.

Using Rachio + ITFFF is the best solution for my, and by a large margin, for the following reasons:

  • I already got Rachio to be quite accurate on reporting the water usage since I have the exact water usage per minute on each zone. I sat with a timer next to the meter and run zone by zone and read the meter. The water pressure is quite stable too. In Rachio I went and adjusted the zone size until I got the numbers to match with the actual water usage per zone. So if Rachi says 74,000 litter right now is actually quite accurate.

  • I can get the flow mete,r but it has two issues (a) I have to install it too and that means digging a big hole, getting a box to bury it in, cutting the PVC line and running wires to get the reading and power to the flow meter. Even if I get the wireless one and I suppose I can power it from the master valve wire, but I might need to build a power adaptor from the 24V AC on the valve to whatever the flow meter needs and most likely is not 24V AC etc. All in all is easily 10-15 hours of work to get the flow meter working and (b) it still does not solve the problem of turning off the irrigation on/off automatically unless I also get a WeMo to read the input from the flow meter (hit the quota) and turn it into IFTTT to be feed into Rachio. The time of the month matter too but that is solvable with IFTTT

By contrast with Rachio the only time investment was to tune up the water usage per zone and that was 40 minutes of work at most when I had read the meter and run all zones while at it twice. And I could do that from my phone too :slight_smile:

The only practical alternative for me now, other that risking another $500 as the summer is coming up is to get an Arduino, read the wires that go to the zones when each of them is on/off and compute in the Arduino the correct water usage then output into a relay when to turn the irrigation off. I still need the WeMo to turn it into IFTTT and in essence I’m duplicating what is in Rachio on this aspect.

Thank you again for looking into this. If you can make that notification possible is definitely the best option for me.

MuchHat


#4

Flow,sensor man, when we get the software hopefully it will be exposed to ifttt. I’m in the same exact boat as,you.


#5

@MuchHat, perhaps you could setup a manual rain delay on the 25th of each month as an insurance plan? Here’s an example recipe.


#6

Hi,

Thank you for the suggestion. Indeed I would be using a rain delay on the 25th as a temporary measure.

Eventually I would hope Rachio would evolve into a controller that can actually manage my watering against a budget (e.g. 4000 cf) even to the point of adjusting the length or space between the waterings to fit 4000cf in 30 days, accounting for weather of course.

MuchHat


#7

Folks, any news on exposing the water usage in IFTTT? I have it calibrated so the usage shown in Rachio is quite accurate, but I need to be able to slow down the usage or stop it if exceeds a threshold. I got the Rachio v2 but still no IFTTT for usage.

Any hope here?`

For now I went and built my own Arduino device that “reads” the outputs from Rachio, computes the usage and stops the irrigation by the means of cutting off the master valve while Rachio still thinks it’s irrigating, then allowing again after the day of meter reading passes (the 3rd of the month in my case). I used 24v AC relays to “read” the Rachio outputs w/o interfering. Anybody interested I can share the code and schematic, total cost was about $100.


#8

Hey @MuchHat-

Unfortunately, I can’t give any updates on this feature. How do you envision scheduling changing when a threshold is reached?

Your Arduino set up sounds pretty great! Do you often have it cutting off your irrigation? How does this affect your landscape’s health?

McKynzee :rachio:


#9

What outputs are you reading