Incredible flex schedule savings this year!


#1

I am so excited about the results this season that I have to share the joy, but should there be flex schedule skeptics still, to help them see how it can work. This is my 3rd season with Gen2 on 9 zones, and it required some tweaking and experimenting in the first two years, but 2018 ran pretty much on autopilot, maybe one or two “Empty” commands to force a run when i lost my trust in the rain forecast.

Below you see this year’s chart of rainfall and irrigation on a daily basis for my Raleigh, NC location. Quite evidently, we had distinct wet and dry spells, which were handled beautifully by rachio.
If you wonder why on certain days there is a red as well as a blue bar, this was when there was no rain in the forecast, but it happened anyway later in the day.
The small ones (like the single one around Aug 18) represent two very sensitive zones, that always want to go first as they dry out the quickest. rachio is on it!
The tall red ones never were “all zones on deck” like in previous years where I intervened more, but the flex schedule was selective and triggered strictly on demand.
My rain sensor gave peace of mind, as here in NC we often get strong local precipitation that does not get reflected in the KRDU (2.6mi away) weather station (or Aeris). The opposite is true as well, and that’s when I hit the “we are still thirsty” EMPTY button.

To put things into perspective, below is my year over year chart (blue is 2016, green 2017, red 2018). Solid lines represent irrigation, dotted is rain. It is striking to see with how little rain this year (dotted red), rachio managed to get by with the lowest irrigation volume. And the yard looks its best in all three years! Great news for my wallet, with a minimal August bill.

It might be noteworthy that last year I overdid watering after overseeding (solid green in September), but as you can see, they did it right at the start of a month without rain. In 2016 the blue massive precipitation in October was simply a hurricane passing by and dropping 6-7 inches, but the soil could not hold on to it, and irrigation had to restart quite quickly.

With this, THANK YOU rachio team for a great product and support, and this community for all the interesting info I could pick up along the way.


#2

This is incredible, @hgugger! Thank you so much for sharing all of this :slight_smile: Passing it on to the rest of the team!

-Lo :rachio:


#3

@hgugger Love this level of detail! Congratulations on the performance. I feel like after about 3 years on flex daily my yard is very well trained and I’m watering about 50% less than all my neighbors (well, the ones without our controller) :wink:

This data makes me emotional.

:cheers:


#4

Thanks @franz, seeing is believing isn’t it. 50% is a great result, and I am sure your neighbors keep a keen eye on you especially! I get intrigued by the promise, the black box algorithms and technology, but love to see economic results backed by data, proving out the theory in the field.

One thing I wish I had found yet, would be a simple wifi based precipitation gauge to go with the rachio system, a quantitative rain sensor. The actual on-site precipitation is my biggest variable, especially during the critical summer time with all the hit and miss. It is something I see many of us grapple with. For everything else rachio has clever workarounds by tweaking parameters in the settings. Any chance of this becoming and add-on like the flow meter?

Appreciate that you are this involved with the forum!


#5

I have similar accomplishment with a Rachio controller (Gen 2, 16 zone).

I’m a believer in setting the controller to full automatic (100% flex schedule) and 'let ‘er rip!’ It’s been this way all year.

Here in Dallas we didn’t have as much rain this year as last year. Thus water usage is up (without any manual adjustment).

This month is an excellent illustration of ‘full automatic.’ For the first half of August we had a lot of rain. The controller stopped all watering, as seen that I’m only at 15 hours of watering for this month so far. The rain has stopped, saturation is coming down to approach the depletion levels set, and I anticipate tomorrow the controller will water a few zones.

Below is a similar look, this time on a daily basis, showing (right side) no watering in August during the rains.

Just like it’s supposed to work!

Kind regards,

Bill


#6

I’d love to see that as well :wink: R3 has the ability to add wireless accessories so who knows, maybe someday.

Thanks for sharing, this is great!

:cheers:


#7

Flex schedule is great if you get changes in the weather. Here in far Northern California (Jefferson State) we have had NO rain whatsoever. Zilch, nada, zip, zero for 3 months. Only thing flex can do for me is add more water when it gets hotter. Now that the smoke is starting to clear and ash has ceased from “raining” down on us the turf grasses and shrubs can get back to their processes. You know for the passed month though my lawns have needed mowing for often than normal. I believe the ash has some quality nitrogen in it. Ha maybe Pot Ash… get it?
From all the marijuana grows going up in flames.
Anyways I’m glad to see you reap the Benny’s from having such an awesome Irro company.
These guys know there what their doing.
Regards
JW


#8

@TurfGOD The no rain situation is tough for any controller and lawn owner - the pot … ash might somewhat ease the pain :slight_smile: . We all have our special circumstances, I guess. Our variables are more likely to be manageable than your constant - no rain. Thanks for still enjoying our victory laps with the mix of heat and rain!
Heiri


#9

@hgugger why not get a PWS? That functionality works well with my:

Ambient Weather WS-2902A 10-in-1 Wi-Fi Professional Weather Station with Internet Monitoring, Compatible with Alexa
Link: http://a.co/d/2SYe2Uz


#10

Thanks for the suggestion @eckirchn. I actually was looking into it last year, but was discouraged by the complexity and the lack of strong support for the wifi integration requiring a proprietary bridge. And Alexa is banned from our house for other reasons…
So, I was hoping to see some more quantitative results this year from folks using Weather Intelligence Plus with Gen3, and how well the 36 ft hyperlocal resolution promise works for them in terms of hyperlocal rainfall. @franz, could you share some HQ insights into the experience to date, and where the trend is going? Did rachio run any trials side by side to support rachio’s claims? If investing, I would rather invest in rachio’s core technology with an upgrade to Gen3, than adding accessories, providing the results are comparable.
For the moment, I am still on the fence…


#11

@hgugger do you consider the Display that comes with it a Proprietary Bridge? Yes, the display is the bridge on the unit I have, but there is also a Bridge for the older models, and yea, it would seem providing a direct option would be worthwhile.

As far as complexity goes, it’s nearly zero, create an account, and go. I am not sure the setup for the Ambient Weather WS-2902A 10-in-1 Wi-Fi Professional Weather Station with Internet Monitoring, Compatible with Alexa could be any simpler.

Orbit made it a pain in the ass, and you kinda needed to know your way around computers to get it to work, that’s partially why I switched to Rachio, but nothing says they can’t simply turn that feature off at any time. And if that were to happen, I would never spend another nickle with the company ever again, and devote my time to my own solution.