Please Add a Winterize Program


#1

I’ve just been winterizing my system as I do every year but this is my first Rachio winter as it were. For me this basically amounts to shutting off the water and running all zones with my compressor (with high CFM, of course) hooked up to the water line through a compressor fitting inlet I plumbed in.

I was searching for an automated way to do this and found that the closest thing I could do was to create a program that included all zones for say 3 minutes each zone. However, you have to create the program with a schedule and then come back an disable it and do some additional tweaking. Basically it’s this:

Even with all this, the one thing you can’t do is to create a gap (time) between zones so that your compressor can recover and fully pressurize for the next zone. And of course you get low flow warnings and the like.

It seems this would be really simple for Rachio to add to the GUI as a special program and would just need these settings as I see it:

  1. Zones to run
  2. Amount of time per zone
  3. Amount of time in between zones to allow compressor to catch up / cool / rest
  4. Turn off all alerts (low flow, etc.) and modifiers such as the Weather Intel, soak cycle, etc.

I did see but have not tried the http://winterizinator.com/Default.aspx site but, yeah, having this externally seems poor and like others mention, giving your API key to a 3rd-party site isn’t the right thing to do. Instead, this should just be part of app.rach.io.


#2

I have never understood why anyone would take the unneeded time to vacuum water from their lines. If you cut off your main valve, open both your cock valves releasing the pressure on the lines, leaving them open for the winter, then lastly looking at your yard find the lowest sprinkler head and open it for a minute or two then you have drained your system. If any water is left in the lines it is not enough to expand enough to break a line when it freezes. Save yourself time and wasted expense of vacuuming out the water from your lines.


#3

LLWarrenP - Thanks for posting this wish! I’ve been meaning to post a similar wish for a couple of years now, as winterizing our 16 zone system is agony for the company that does it.

Our situation is a little different from yours, but unlike Mike4, blowing out is absolutely essential in Montana where the ground freezes to 5 feet deep and gravity will NOT sufficiently drain any system to prevent lines from cracking.

All of the dozens of irrigation blow out firms in the area use the same insanely large trailer mounted commercial compressors. The problem with these is not that they need to come back to pressure - as with yours - but that they generate so much pressure that if all zones go off, the pressure will destroy the weakest connection or hose in the system.

Prior to the Rachio unit, they blew me out by using alligator clip jumpers on the Irritrol controller. One was used to keep one zone permanently open to avoid the issue of the compressor applying full pressure to a closed system. Then, jumpers were used to open up at least 2 zones at the same time to that they could blow things out by going through 7 or so total cycles, vs 16 individual zones.

Last year, they physically opened a valve in the yard for the pressure release zone… and let me manually cycle through each of the other 15 zones with them.

This year, they were in a hurry, and doing anything via the Rachio was just too slow - and they manually opened most zones, several at a time, from the yard control boxes. The three guys were so fast, I only managed to use the Rachio for the last 3 zones for which they couldn’t find the yard valves.

They blow out 100’s of yards, obviously, and we have a dozen or more firms doing the same thing. They’re not happy with the Rachio because it takes way too long for me to switch zones, I can’t open two zones at once - and the wires in the controller are not exposed enough for them to jumper them with alligagator clips to force multiple zones - and I can’t permanently open a pressure release zone.

So, the Rachio as it is now (and has been) is an impediment to them doing their job, rather than an aid. I had not seen, so had not tried Winterizinator… but with zero description of what would happen, and having to submit my API key, I’m not about to give it a shot. This is something that Rachio themselves should address unless they only want to sell units in temperate climates.

Thanks again for posting - hope that someone from Rachio will jump in.


#4

Yeah, honestly they shouldn’t be exceeding 70 PSI but I guess they are depending on multiple valves being open to divide up the high pressure. Still, none of the irrigation components other than PVC pipe are rated for high PSI (most expect 30-40 PSI) and on top of that I have read in a couple of places that air has the potential to be more destructive than water when it comes to valves so lower PSI is better (I run it at 50 PSI). Anyhow, they and others are apparently doing it regardless.

There is the anti-water hammer feature but not sure if that would do it for you - this in effect leaves one zone open and turns on the next to avoid the banging (so a continuous on in effect). But if you had this feature and that setting was made then you could presumably use both.


#5

I asked for this ages ago and have yet to see anything. I think at the time I was told to build a schedule that suited the need and use that. You would think that a company based in Colorado would know this.