Is it me or is Flex misbehaing?

Most of my watering is done on a daily flex. Yesterday Rachio was saying it was going to water today (30 July) because little or no rain was anticipated. Unexpectedly in the early hours of the morning we had over 14mm (half an inch) of rain which in this part of the world is a lot and would have put the zones above field capacity. However, The moisture balance calculations showed today anticipated rain for the 30th of 0.3mm, did not reflect the actual precip and continued to schedule watering for 6.30pm. At 6.30pm I overrode Rachio as it started to water some very soggy zones. The weather station showed the correct rain data on the PWS website but Rachio did not seem to be picking it up in the current day. Here’s a screenshot of the water balance as shown at 8.00pm (by which time the forecast rain of 0.3mm had disappeared but the actual rain had still not been added to the moisture balance)

Any thoughts as to what is happening here?

The July 30 column shows forecasted, it is not looking at actuals. Flex daily updates the moisture calculations once a day, I think it is at midnight UTC(GMT). So midday actual weather data would not be used for daily flex scheduling.

Weather intelligence features in other schedule types apparently check the weather data closer to the schedule start time, but not flex daily.

That’s just weird. As you say, other schedules make a check about an hour before watering is due. Why not Flex Day?


  1. Why are my tree and shrub zones watering longer?

Trees, shrubs, and perennials have much longer roots than cool and warm season grass so it takes longer to irrigate to the amount of water required to refill the root zone soil water content back up to field capacity. Even though the watering might be longer, the frequency of watering will be much less often.

  1. My schedule didn’t run as predicted, what gives?

The calendar view (watering schedule) uses forecast data to estimate the next scheduled watering. However, if the observed weather is hotter/cooler and/or more precipitation/less precipitation is reported than forecasted, the Flexible Daily schedule may change. Every night at midnight the schedule will update the forecasted weather data with observed weather data and applies a checkbook style accounting of the moisture level for each zone. Any time a zone is calculated to reach its allowed depletion, the zone will be watered.

Other schedules (ie. Fixed) use more Weather Intelligence than Flex Daily schedules do because they need to know if the fixed schedule you have set up needs to run or if climate/rain/etc can stop it and save you water – hence the need to check 1 hr before your start time.

I don’t see why the same logic doesn’t apply to daily flex. If you have a dump of unforcasted rain that would take the moisture balance above field capacity and Rachio still waters then the watering is wasted because it is assumed to go in run off - Rachio never takes the recorded water balance above 108% so say the unexpected rain would take the balance to 108% then at midnight the actual rain and watering are added to the balance but the end balance would still be 108%, effectively ignoring the watering credit. An example of this is in the screenshot below. On the 21st the ending balance on the basis of the numbers shown should be 0.82cm but Rachio fixes it at 0.66 (108%). Again on 22nd the mathematical balance is 1.78cm but Rachio pins it at 0.66 (108%). In this case there is no foul because watering wasn’t scheduled anyway and you can’t tell the weather not to rain!

This could be avoided if a balance were calculated say an hour before watering start time including actual rain and forecast for the rest of the day and watering go/no go based on this new balance. As it is, I get an email from Rachio about 90 mins before a scheduled flex daily watering telling me it’s about to happen, which zones today etc so clearly something is going on, so why not an on-the-fly recalc? As it is, the email is only useful to remind me to manually suppress watering if there has been significant unexpected rain.

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Unless something drastic has changed that @franz hasn’t told us about (and I highly doubt that), Flex daily schedules get checked an hour before they are scheduled to run.

Back in July 2015 @franz said

" The calendar itself is just a prediction, using forecasted data. One hour before the flex schedule runs we get the current forecast, look at the current soil moisture level, and decide if we need to water. If it is on the calendar, it doesn’t necessarily mean that a watering will take place."

It’s in this thread.

Also, the saturation level is set at 110%. Because of rounding you are seeing 108%. I often see 111%, again because of rounding.

I don’t think I would say this – Flex Daily actually has the MOST weather intelligence of all the schedules.

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I don’t disagree, but it still might water your garden after an inundation… So still room for improvement!