May have to return Rachio 3 for lack of one feature?


Just bought the V3 unit at Costco and was initially very impressed with the features and functionality and flow meter stuff !

HOWEVER, after install and complete setup , I now found out that the both “flex” schedules do not have a way to incorporate auto changes in daily watering times based on fluctuation of temperature. We have a 3 day water restriction, so flex daily set to 3 day could end up to be problematic during a sudden 2 week extreme heatwave ( this all of course while I am away on vacay and dont notice the grass dying). Also past years history for monthly flex setup means nothing here In Socal… Last year for instance June was abnormally cool when july jumped to ridiculous temps of 116 degrees

So I need to know now if you are working on incorporating a temp based auto increase/decrease watering time function in the 2 FLEX choices ? And can this be implemented in the V3 firmware/software ? if so I may be able to wait for this functionality. Otherwise I will have stick to my current system which DOES have this feature and forgo all the other goodies the Rachio has to offer that really do like. In this last case i would return this new unit to Costco… :frowning:

Thanks for your response in advance :slight_smile:

@dolftb - I believe the Flex Daily option uses observed and forecasted evapotranspiration and precipitation to determine when to water. So, if abnormally hot or dry weather occurs or is forecast Rachio will water when it is allowed to. Likewise, if abnormally cooler or wetter weather occurs or is forecast Rachio will push out the watering. I believe the Flex Monthly uses 30 year averages that are recalculated every 10 years.

Rachio is very sensitive to GIGO, so make sure the soil type, precipitation rate and plant type are correct before going on a 2 week vacay. One suggestion is to start out with one or two zones on Flex Daily to get the system dialed in and then move the other zones over to Flex.

Let me know if I didn’t answer the question as I do believe Flex Daily does incorporate auto changes. Rachio will increase the frequency of watering, not the duration - as once the root zone water table is full adding more water is not efficient. And additionally training the roots to grow deeper to get water instead of being shallow. A different way of looking at things.



Thanks for you response. I am aware of how Flex works, I dug in to that very deeply. However , Flex monthly will simply not work for me with huge fluctuations in temps specifically in the summer. Flex daily could perhaps but with a 3 day limit on watering, that frequency may prove inadequate, in which case an auto increase in the duration of the watering would alleviate this problem.

Perhaps Rachio can chime in on my question about short term future implementation of this add-on feature ??

There are no current plans of incorporating real time frequency adjustments to flex monthly. Adding duration doesn’t make a lot of sense in flex daily since the concept is filling your bucket. If more duration was added the bucket would be saturated. Frequency is the only way that we can effectively track a full bucket and determine when it is depleted. Hope this helps.


I beg to differ, if I use daily FLEX scheduled for 3 days a week, the bucket may not be filled when there is a severe heatwave as there may not be enough watering days left in the week. As you have stated elsewhere 4 days a week is the minimum recommended for DAILY FLEX. I like the features of daily flex but need 3 days and EXTRA watering time in event of heatwaves. Monthly flex wont work for me so I guess I will have to stick with my old CYBER-RAIN controller or buy another brand … Very dissapointed.

Whats interesting is I have come across many posts of people asking about adding duration based on weather pattern but Rachio doesnt seem to really want to implement it. No offense :slight_smile:

Any other thought or arguments ?

Thanks for your reply …

We use forecasting to determine if we can make it to the next watering cycle without being depleted. We work within restrictions but definitely look ahead before deciding if we should skip an allowed day. The only thing the schedule won’t do is increase watering duration.

If you do need increased duration unfortunately that schedule and ultimately the controller might not be a good fit.


Thanks for you being upfront . Much appreciated! I think I will return it and continue with the old controller, and monitor frequently if you eventually decide to implement this addon I will definately buy it again!.

I doubt it could be difficult to implement this added functionality into a current scheme to make sure the bucket is full in extreme situations… Sure the added water will change the dynamics but this can be accounted for in the programming I would think.

Have a great rest of the day and thanks for your attention to this matter :slight_smile:

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I live in the desert of southern California, high is 105 today. I have three day a week restrictions as well. Rachio with flex daily keeps up no problem with my grass, trees, shrubs, etc.
I think you might be overthinking it. This thing works awesome, and I only have the second gen. I spent a few min here and there tweaking the parameters over the first few seasons, but didn’t do the in depth catch can stuff.

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Thanks for your Reply I do appreciate it but figuring what the consumption used to be on my previous computer weather based timer that does change water amounts based on temps,. I don’t trust rachio 3 set to a 3 day week schedule with consisted temps of high 100s for a couple weeks.

I have gone back to my old controller for now.

Against thanks …

To each there own. But multiple days over 100 is nothing. Summers here mean weeks over 110-115 that’s a different kind of hell. My rachio keeps my lawn green, even with the three day a week restriction.


Glad it works for you. You seemed to have sorted it out although others in the forum in my situation we’re having problems and asking rachio to add the extra watering increase feature based on temps to make sure there would be ample irrigation on 4 or less watering days. btw rachio says they don’t recommend using flex daily on a less than 4 day weekly schedule.

The biggest flaw that I see about daily flex, is that the allowed depletion level is considered the ‘absolute zero’ moisture level for the zone. In reality, even after you hit the allowed depletion level, the zone is still losing moisture via transpiration that needs to be replenished the next time watering is allowed. This can happen if the forecast on a watering day underestimates the Et before the next allowed watering day. If this transpiration is not accounted for, then over time, the zone will always be in a water deficit.

If the allowed depletion level is considered ‘zero’, then Rachio should track the water deficiency in the zone, and replenish the deficiency the next time the zone is watered. That means extra watering when it is really needed, what was suggested in earlier posts. So your lawn might be dry for a day or so, but it should compensate at the next watering day.

Even better, they could change the app to use the ‘real’ moisture level. e.g. 0% means the root zone has no moisture content. Most zones would water when moisture level shows as 50%. I don’t think this would be confusing, as the app shows the dates when watering is needed

I am on watering restrictions, I can water my lawn two days a week. Flex daily still works for me. The watering I get from my Rachio will last until the next watering day. But I am not in a hot weather climate like California, I am in the Pacific Northwest, near Vancouver, BC.

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Exactly, it’s a major flaw that I can’t believe they missed.
I installed this system a few days ago (Rachio 3) on a family members lawn. Honestly I love the system. I have it linked to my phone so I can make sure all is good etc.
Have been thinking about adding one top my lawn, but I can’t get over how it won’t adjust durations. And like was mentioned what if it drops below the MAD. It didn’t account for it from what ice witnessed so far.
They say it fills the bucket, but it don’t if you have to wait 3 days before the next watering. It only fills it to 50% on the chart which is 75% total, but in the next 3 days it falls below the MAD 0% on the soil chart ahhs still has a full day to go before it can water because of restrictions and loses another. 30 ET. But won’t increase duration to make up for the extra loss.
So it waters finally but only fills up to 30% so and so on.
I’ve had the hunter ET system in my yard for better then 5 years now. It is more expensive, but with it you get a weather station and it will change duration based of off deficits, and does cycle and soaks etc. All of it.
Good system. But no internet.
It’s old school.
Love the Rachio 3 but I’m going to walt to see how my moms yard does over this summer.
We are restricted here lots. And it gets hot and stays dry in southern Idaho.
Rachio 3 you’re doing great, but really do need to look into duration times and deficits for us that can only water 3 days or 2 days a week.
We also have times during the day we can’t water even on our watering days.
With three hunter ET system it has all those options…
I’m talking about the old obsolete one. Look into it and maybe steal there software and math formulas.

I just installed a Rachio 3 this week(Wednesday) so I have not had enough time to say how it is working. That being said I’m located just north of Houston with a two day a week restriction. I will agree that I’m not super stoked about the soil moisture language or lack of adjustability but I also have 30+ years experience in the turfgrass industry I feel like I can get this dialed in to work far more efficiently than the previous controller I just replaced. I have been taking soil moisture readings in my front yard since I installed the Rachio b//c I’m very interested in tracking how well this works.

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You can try Rachio 3 and if it doesn’t work for you, you can return to Costco anytime. Costco doesn’t have a return policy limiting you to 30 days. At least in NY Costco gives up to 10 years without a receipt to return.