Number of Heads

I see that there is no place to enter the number of heads. Wouldn’t his help in the calculation of the water used? I know the type of hunder head that I use. I also know the pipe size and water pressure supplied to the system. Would this information be more accurate to estimate the water used.

@Bschatzow - there are numerous threads on the board discussing the use of heads for water usage. Several posters have pointed out the issue of different heads (e.g. flow and/or coverage) in one zone. Posters that have performed a catch cup test and calibrated their zones to the results of the catch cup test have reported the Rachio estimated water used is very, very close to the water actually used measured by their water meter.

Another option for accurate water usage is to install a flow meter in the sprinkler system.

Welcome to the community.

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I have suggested this, too. Orbit B-Hyve has this feature and I really like how their app functions. I’ve had Rachio for about a year and I have pleased. It seems every smart controller has something good. It’s really no big deal on how everything works. I don’t think it would be too difficult to make our suggested change to the app.

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I found similar discussions earlier. I think supports answer is a defense on how the system works rather than answering how to implement this. Most suggestions are made on how to make the system better (at least to the individual asking). The system ( I believe) gets its water usage based on area and and an estimated flow rate. I think knowing the number of heads, type of head, pipe size and water pressure is more accurate. I assume they use what they believe is the easiest setup for most users. What is used is certainly better than the RainBird I replaced that did nothing but open and close a value.

I have seen others say to use catch cups or compare the meter before and after. Catch cups is doable and I may try it. My meter is now electronic and buried. It is read by a vehicle passing by. It would be nice if I can figure out how to get the data without opening the top?

That would be awesome. I don’t know what computer language the smart meters are using and it’s probably not open source. One day though, I bet smart controllers and meters will communicate.

If I was a hacker, I’d give it a go. I just don’t have that kind of knowledge. If I did, I wouldn’t know how to use it.

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What is so difficult about opening the top and noting the meter reading before & after each zone has started and ended (I also have an electronic meter read by a passing vehicle)!! I did just that and coupled with the area of each zone I get very accurate (down to the gallon) water usage and savings from the controller. I also calculated the precipitation rate that tells me how many inches my lawn gets. You only have to do it once.
Remember, if you do not set it up with good inputs you will get garbage for output.


Your water is not buried. There is a meter can with a round lid. Regardless the kind of meter you can still do a flow test. If for some reason you meter lid is covered it is imperative it be accessible so you can turn off the Water in case of a water emergency in the home.

It is buried (under ground) with a cover that is held by 4 bolts. To turn off you need a special tool.

I am guessing Rachio works backward from Precipitation rate (in./hr), Square Feet, and Time run to calculate the water used. This should be a fairly accurate calculation if the information given, namely square footage per zone and precipitation rate are accurate.

Pr=(96.25 x GPM)/Area

We can re-arrange that to:
(Pr x Area)/96.25=GPM

GPM x Time run = Gallons used


Your situation is not standard with utilities around the country. What would you do if you had flooding in your home? Bolts?

Turn off the value at the entrance to my house. Every house I have seen in NJ that has been built in the last 20 years is like this. Meter is at the curb underground with main value at the entrance to the house. MY first house had the meter in the basement and the water company moved it to the curb. Normally you can remove the bolts from the cover and use a meter key to shut off the value at the meter if you have a break in the line going to your house. I have owned houses for over 40 years and I never had to shut of the water at the meter. I have however used the main value many times. If the line was installed correctly the only time I think you would need to shut off at the meter would be to replace the main value.

That is exactly right. Rachio can only calculate off the hard data from the users.

@Bschatzow’s experience is becoming more common. Water utilities are slowly moving to smart meters that don’t require access to the meter can by workers. Water disconnects or valve shut-off can be done remotely and don’t require on-site access.

On the plus-side, remote access is safer for the person who has to turn off water for non-payment. My brother tells me he has had more than one encounter with an irate customer who didn’t want the water shut off.

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