New user, setup ?s

Hey all, I’m a brand new Rachio user. I’m finally here! I’ve been following the IoT world and smart homes for some time, but hadn’t pulled the trigger until now (late adopter here).

I’m so glad I did, as the connected nature of things is really fun and easy to use. It’s breathed new life into what was a joyless yearly job of maintaining zones (run inside the house, turn on a test zone, run back outside and check heads).

I love all the built-in capability and revolution with Rachio: pictures of your zones, soil/grass types, dynamic time settings, rain skipping, etc. Heck, the ability to run a zone from my phone alone is worth the sticker price.

Ok, now onto troubleshooting. I’m not surprised or concerned that such a big change in my irrigation from fixed watering schedules to a radically new dynamic system would result in some hiccups. Here’s what I’m seeing:

Before, I had found that twice a day watering, every other day, resulted in the best looking vibrant green lawn in sandy loam (Colorado) for K bluegrass.

After switching to the Rachio system, I simply followed the recommended settings for everything and it results in only once a day watering (every other), so half the overall water. It’s the Flex Monthly setup.

As you would expect, the grass is beginning to gray. I’ve read elsewhere that the number to tweak for this is the “crop efficiency”. I’ve made this adjustment once, in a 10% increment, but haven’t had a dramatic turn-around.

My old dumb controller habit wants to simply add another overlapping schedule onto these grass zones. But that feels like defeating the purpose of the smart controller.


How do your current watering times with Rachio compare to your previous ones? For you to get the same amount of water, which you know by experience works out well, the Rachio times, being only once every other day, should be roughly twice the times of your old system, which watered twice every other day.

Rachio has a great system, but so much depends on inputting the correct variables, in particular the Nozzle Inches per Hour, which many users never see as they don’t go into the Advanced menu for each zone. And lacking good information for it, which can be a problem to get, you may be better of starting with something close to your previous total watering minutes.

You seem pretty interested in how things work, and you may want to look into Flex Daily rather than Flex Monthly. IMHO, it’s no more complicated, but gives you a visual graph and table view of each zone’s moisture, which I find very helpful in understanding the system. However, it won’t work as well if the watering every other day is a restriction, rather than a choice.

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Thanks for the info!

Yes, I’m curious in how all this works. I’ll have to research those Advanced parameters to understand them. Unfortunately, my city does have watering restrictions for 3 days a week right now and (I’ve come to discover) only once daily.

So I’ll need to work with amount per zone next.

Thanks again.

I’d agree you probably want to use Flex Daily. It will show you the planned schedule once created, so you can see if you are doing every other day, per your city codes. Keep in mind though that zones are all independent, so you may end up watering various part of your lawn every day.

  • CropCoeff is changing water loss. Higher number, more evaporated water calculated.

  • Nozzle Rate is changing how much water the system thinks its putting out. Measure that pretty easy.

  • Allowed Depletion is how much moisture is allowed removed before watering is triggered. If you move that up you will water more often, but less water. This is probably what you are looking for. Also note that the Moisture % shown is the rate between available water and allowed depletion. So 10% moisture is not 10% absolute, its 10% from being at allowed depletion.

  • Available Water and Root depth combine to determine how much water the soil holds and how much to water.

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