It just isn't smart

I’m so far quite unimpressed by the Rachio. It seems to only be concerned with saving water, not so much with saving my lawn. For example, it rained a bit last night, Rachio for this reason decided to skip watering both yesterday and today. Its 32º C outside, full sun, both days - the lawn is toast. This makes no sense - if Rachio was smart, it would be watering whenever it thinks the lawn may be drying out, which believe me, it was drying out by 11 AM today. Rachio needs some setting to say “I don’t care about saving water” or something, because frankly we are on a well next to Georgian Bay. Any watering just goes back to the same source and our water supply is pretty much unlimited here. I much rather have a green lawn, which is why I bought this “smart” sprinkler controller. But constantly, I have to run the sprinklers manually, pretty much every day - because even one Rachio watering isn’t enough on 30º+ C days. And running them manually isn’t straight forward either, I have to always set each zone’s run time - what a pain. Can’t you guys make it smarter? Please?

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We’re on flex monthly right now, but already tried flex daily earlier this year. Anyway, both seem to perform the same way, inadequately for our lawn and heat level. Someone at Rachio needs to start focusing on improving lawn quality, rather than saving water - its really a shame, cause it isn’t smart just saving water if its killing the lawn - that I can do simply by turning off my sprinklers. I have tweaked the settings as much as possible to indicate that these areas require extra watering etc, but anyway, the Rachio will only consider watering once a day and only if it doesn’t rain - this doesn’t work at all.

Where are you? Never heard of Georgian Bay. Don’t recognize temperatures in Celsius. How far are you from your weather station? Who knows, maybe your settings are set to Farenheit. That might explain something. Your description just does fit with the performance I see down in Oklahoma.
It could actually be your irrigation system’s performance. A smart controller won’t fix an inefficient system. Is your water pressure low? Do you have head-to-head coverage? Run through all your zones. Tune up your irrigation system.

Are your app settings set to Celsius? Go to app settings. 32 degrees F here is freezing.

Just looked up Georgian Bay. You are way up north!
I bet money your settings are set to USA farenheit.

Have head to head coverage, thats not the issue - the issue is its just not watering enough on days that are very dry/hot for zones that are constantly exposed to full sun. Its 32º C as I stated, so Celsius. App is set to Celsius also, but I don’t think that makes any difference. Water pressure is very high and even, no fluctuation (using a constant pressure valve). Its tuned up as much as possible, as I mentioned before, the issue is with the Iro software, it doesn’t run enough. I have to run it manually on hot days, otherwise it dries out.


We’d be glad to help get your system dialed in.

Is your main concern the rain skip/climate skip functionality? Here is more information on how to fine tune or disable.

If your concern is more frequent watering for flexible monthly this article will help

If you still have more questions feel free to reach out. We can also have help with some of your adjustments.


Sounds like you don’t have your zones correctly configured, The controller is only as smart as the information fed to it. Garbage in … garbage out.


You say it’s 32C outside. Googling around, it seems like the avg July temp around Georgian Bay (this time of the year) is 25C. Is that right?

The way that I understand how Flexible Monthly works (which may be incorrect) is that it creates a watering interval based on historical weather from your area (and adjusts monthly). So if your area is running 5C+ hotter than normal right now, then I don’t think that Flexible Monthly accounts for that.

I use Flexible Daily. I like how it does adjust for the current weather and how easy it is to see the data that the Iro is using to make its decisions. I attached an example of the data from the main zone of my front lawn.

Anytime the Iro is not watering when I think it should, it’s been an issue with the data, not the software.

Typically this happens when my yard gets less rain that what’s reported from the weather station a few miles away. I also had an issue the root length was incorrect (new lawn, they weren’t as deep as I thought). This caused the Iro to let the water level in the grass drop lower than what it should because based on what I told it, the roots extended down further. Bad data (on my part).

When I notice a zone is dry but the Iro doesn’t think it is, I simply go into the app, tap into the zone, tap on Moisture Level, hit Adjust, and hit Empty. Easy-peasy. Zone gets watered the next day.

The last two weeks have been running about 10’F hotter than normal, and the Iro (on Flexible Daily) has been keeping up with it well. If you look at the graph below, you can see the Iro has watered 4x in the last week. Normally this time f year, it only waters once, maybe twice. But with the unusual extra heat, the Iro is watering more.


Sounds like your zones are not configured correctly. For now follow the flex monthly guide franz posted.

I agree, I had high hopes for balancing water usage and keeping a green lawn. This thing is using more water than I used to and my lawn is dead. I have spent at least 40 hours tweaking, researching, reading ,tweaking, letting it do it’s thing, shaking soil in a mason jar, adjusting heads, and so on. I don’t have the time or desire to go any further trying to make putting water on grass into a part time job. I finally gave up and deleted the flex stuff and am back to what i did before with my cheap controller. I guess I spent $200 to be able to water from my phone-which is pretty cool! But not worth the cost just for that feature.

Your lawn is dead? Probably just dormant. I lived in Massachusetts and New Jersey a total of 9 years. In severe summers the bluegrass would just turn brown but then come back when rains came. I believe you are telling the truth, but things are not adding up. Perhaps you could get with Rachio tech people. Maybe you could give them guest access to get things corrected.

25º C average is about right, but we have been having some really hot weeks the last few summers, up to even 40º. I will try switching back to flex daily, but like I said I’ve already tried it before - it was not watering enough either. The issue is our lawn needs watering twice a day sometimes and the Iro just can’t do that. That graphic that you posted, falls to the bottom in our case and stays at the bottom even after watering, only rain can raise it. What does that mean?

In these images it looks to me like it thinks it can’t water enough to overcome evapotranspiration? I’ve also attached the settings for this zone.

Not completely dead dead, dry and dying spots all over, not healthy…Perhaps I don’t want another job keeping my grass green. I did just fine before, all I am saying is this should make green grass easier not harder.

The zones are configured as accurately as possible, as far as I know.

I completely agree, this doesn’t make it any easier, it doesn’t seem to act smart - maybe the only way to actually make it smart is to use moisture sensors? That would be really nice. Or at least, if it sees like in our case that its impossible to water once a day, it should water twice or as many times as needed…

Exactly, it’s been in the 90’s and 100’s for months now, once a day doesn’t do the trick. Breaking it up over 24 hours is always what I have had to do for the summer. If it were smart, it should know that. I agree that moisture sensors may make the controller do what is trying to do, without all the brain damage. Maybe future versions will get us there…this one just isn’t.

Any chance you have brown spot fungus? (Your description describes it pretty well). Lots of lawns have that in my area this summer.

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What grass do you have, 3,inches,for a root seems pretty shallow

Cool season, typically 2" to 6" root.