Long Run Times


I recently bought a Gen 1 controller, and after using the “as needed” scheduling, my first run went almost nine hours! I thought this was wrong, so I have been researching here to see maybe what I’ve been doing wrong, and read that accurate square footage really helps with the watering times, so I went out and measured each zone and reduced the square footage by almost 60% overall.

Now it wants to water for 10h, and more frequently!!!

Can someone please offer some tips, as this seems ridiculously high. I used to water for about 1.5h 2x/week and my lawn always looked fine.


Your run time and frequency will be based off your settings in the zone. Post those numbers like root depth, avail water, etc Screen shot if you can

Thanks for your response. Here is a link to one of my zones. The only things I’ve adjusted are the grass type, soil type, slope, amount of sun, sprinkler head type, and sq. feet. Everything else is defaults…

Have you verified you have Clay soil?

Yes, I checked several soil reports and we have Houston Black Clay.

Edit: I did have it on “Clay Loam”, but read the reports and adjusted it to Clay. That actually brought my watering times down, for some reason.


I thought I remember reading somewhere here that the initial duration estimate is set upon creation of the AS NEEDED schedule, but then wouldn’t change until a monthly interval, or something like that. It was also capped in the app. to 59m max, so unless that has changed maybe the duration was accidentally changed somehow. Anyhow, I was going to suggest disabling your schedule, then creating a new one for that zone using the app, and not the web interface. Do you get the same duration ? You might then try it again via the app. to see if it’s consistent.

I did try deleting the schedule, then creating a new one after adjusting the square footage in all of the zones both in the web and mobile apps, and the 9h42m duration was identical.

Are you suggesting I try creating a schedule for just one zone to see if that helps anything? I’ll try anything (once)!

@codymac Yes, try creating a schedule for just one zone. I had the opposite problem with As Needed. I couldn’t get watering times high enough for low-flow desert watering. I found caps at 59m and 3h, but the software might have changed since I tried it last.

@azdavidr I deleted the schedule via web app, then created a schedule for just the zone linked above in the mobile app, and got the same results. It wants to water that one zone (I have 14, total) for 28m.


@codymac I assumed you meant it wanted to water each zone for 10 hours. Regardless, I’m not quite following how the 28 minutes for one zone translates to being the same as your previous 10hr result, unless they were running sequentially and there was some soaking involved?

So your original numbers before the Iro were basically watering each zone for 10 minutes twice a week? good question to ask is if that was enough… clay soil, moderate slope, lots of sun. How did you determine your previous numbers, just on your own? How did your grass look before? Was it truly health?

@azdavidr It’s 28m for one of my 14 zones. Some of them were 50+ minutes, it varied. This resulted in a 10h total runtime.

@Modawg2k Yes, on average, a 1.5-2.0h runtime across 14 zones. I determined my previous numbers based on the “is that section of lawn too brown? Bump it up a few minutes” method. Everything was working OK, but I was getting some high water bills, which prompted me to buy the Rachio.

@codymac. I’m not as familiar with As Needed, so I’d suggest going over the articles on the site to investigate further, assuming you haven’t already. You could also try disabling the ones you have and create a test version with Flex, but you would want to be reasonably confident off of your variious zone settings to get meaningful results.

Based on your description of how you were set up before I’m not surprised that your schedule would look too water longer, but I would expect longer intervals. I believe that the soil type and root depth are key there, You already changed the soil to the right type. Lowering the root depth might beer in order, but do investigate what it should be for your turf your. I have Bermuda. In Arizona the recommend 8-10" watering, but we have Sandy Loam which I believe allows for deeper roots.

@azdavidr Thanks for all of your responses. I have checked every article available to me here, and really found nothing. I will look into the Flex scheduling to see if it more fits my needs. Again the end result needs to be a lower water bill, and I don’t think I’ll get that by watering for ten hours every five days.

When you speak of “longer intervals”, are you referring to the feature that will break up the total time spent in a zone to prevent runoff? From what I can tell, it didn’t even do that at all during my initial run. The “activity feed” just showed it moving from one zone to the next for the full duration of the zone.

I also checked Bermuda root depth, and some of them said “up to 24 inches”, so not sure I could realistically lower it from the 9 inch default. I will continue investigating, though.

EDIT: I just set up an interval (Flex?) schedule to run every four days. For some reason it only defaulted to water 4h21m. I wonder why the “as needed” runs for so much longer?

I wonder if we could get @emil to chime in on this thread? :grinning:

I was referring to longer days in between watering for a given schedule. I agree, getting @emil or @brad 's advice would be helpful. I don’t have much experience with As Needed. I tried it for a while then switched over to Flex. Not that As Needed isn’t what you’re looking for or what I could still use, but I just ended up investing my time there so I haven’t switched back.

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Square footage doesn’t matter. Its only used to provide water usage estimates.

Personally I’m more interested in your precipitation rate because spray heads should throw an enormous amount of water.

You can adjust your run time on the wan which is by design, but it is usually pretty close…which might be what you need to do.

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Thanks for your reply, I just now saw this. I bought some “catch cups” and will try to get an accurate reading on all of my zones this week to see how much water they’re actually throwing.