New user sanity checks

I’m starting up on my Rachio for the first time. Initial impressions are great–easy to hook up and we’re watering as expected right away.

I wanted to sanity check my initial settings with this audience since I’m not at all experienced with the advanced lingo in the zone setups. I’m sure over time and with some more reading I’ll be getting a little more informed on my own.

I was hoping to use the Flex Daily schedule with the assumption that would get me the greatest water savings while not killing my plants. After choosing the right vegetation (warm season grass and annuals), soil (loam), exposure, nozzle and slope (everything but the advanced settings), I was surprised to see that the Flex Daily initially suggested schedule was over 3.5 hours of watering for my 8 zones. By comparison, with my “dumb timer” I was watering 75 minutes every other day for those same 8 zones during warm/dry weather. Less frequently during cooler weather.

It was easy to override the Flex Daily schedule to match my previous zone schedule by setting new time ranges for each of the zones, so that’s what I’ve done so far. Today, it watered per normal and the spaced out waterings for this month that I’m seeing on the schedule look sensible as the weather cools down.

Is this a reasonable process I’ve used? Or by cutting down the watering times by 70% or so, have I masked an incorrect configuration and I’ll experience problems down the line?

Thanks in advance for any help.



Only thing I can think of is that the original schedule was including Smart Cycle (soak & repeat) which is good vs straight watering w/o any chance to soak in btwn cycles.

An elapsed time of slightly under 4 hours for 8 zones does not surprise me - 30 minutes per zone. If you have spray nozzles (1.5 in/hr), that is still less than 0.75 inches of watering, which is reasonable. Look at the moisture level graphs for your zones, and see how long you will go between waterings. If it is 8 days or more, then you are watering deeper but less frequently, but using the same amount of water in total.

Check out the support articles on flex daily, especially
. It will explain how to change your setup, what each parameter does.

If you think you have chosen your options correctly, try decreasing the allowable depletion so the zones will water more frequently, and the elapsed time will also decrease. If it ends up close to what you are already seeing at a 2 day watering interval, that is your sanity check. If not, double check the zone parameters and adjust as needed.

Good Luck with your Rachio

1 Like

With your “dumb timer”, you were watering each zone for about 9 minutes every other day – there are a lot of variables that could be taken into account, but without knowing anything more, and seeing that you may have loam soil, by watering so little so often, you most likely have shorter roots. It would be good for the lawn to start trying to get those roots deeper, watering longer, less often, which is what flex daily ends up doing. But what you might want to try is setting your root depth shorter than the default in flex, let it run for a month or two, then add an inch longer, etc. You should be able to do this without stressing your grass.

You said that you have warm season grass AND annuals. I hope that they are not in the same zone? And if not, are your annuals on emitters — if so, they need to be handled a little differently.

Thanks everyone for the help. I’ve checked all the settings that I know how to setup and I think it’s roughly correct. I’ve turned off the schedule I setup more manually and started a new “Flexible Daily” schedule using the default settings. It’s defaulted to watering for 4.5 hours tomorrow. It has another drip on the calendar on Thursday, I’ll be curious to see if it thinks it needs both in one week. If so, I’m guessing I’ve got something else setup wrong as that seems like a lot more watering than I expected.

@Linn: The grass and annuals are in separate zones. The annuals are on emitters so I’m open to any specific advice. Right now, they are the ones doing the longest watering sessions at 44 minutes.

Thanks again.


I always cut my total watering time down to 50% on a new schedule. It seems to me that at 100%, there is going to be too much watering. I also go to moisture levels and fill all the zones.

The controller is going to water using your inputs with the algorithms. You are on the right track with what you are doing and seeing. Welcome to the neighborhood.