Previous water times vs Rachio water times

Having read the blog post from Chris about his water savings, I was interested to see what the suggested run times for my zones were going to be. Especially as the post mentions a 15 minute time being split into 3 lots of 5 minutes, which makes sense.

I’d just increased the run time slightly on my previous controller, for 2 cycles of 9,7,7,7,2 minutes for the 5 zones, 3 times a week, or 18,14,14,14,4 minutes a day, 3 times a week. The 2/4 being for a small set of shrubs that drown with more than that.

I’d input all the criteria; flat, clay, rotary, grass, etc, and got, after digging around in the app until I found them, these run times, for 3 times a week:

45,45,45,45,20. Bloody hell.

With the newer features such as cycle soaking, I was expecting it to reduce the times slightly(I could also have accepted a slight increase, but in general, I was thinking I was fairly conservative), not triple them, especially as I’d last set the times in accordance with Parker Water guidelines some years ago.

While I may not have the greenest lawn in the world, it’s kept the grass alive, which is more than can be said for some of my neighbors. I’d also say that my run times are similar to others in the area, and that the soil is certainly getting wet - in some places it’s still getting waterlogged, something I expect the cycle soaking to help with.

So, what other ‘real world’ changes do people have, is this reasonable for the area (Parker, CO)?

Also, how does changing the soil type affect this? I played around with all the soil types, different sprinkler heads and so on, refreshed the results…and no changes to the run times. Am I missing something obvious, looking in the wrong place, or just being a bit daft?

I appreciate that it’s making some general assumptions - so perhaps another suggestion for the box; input yard/zone sizes with number of sprinkler heads per zone to give a better indication of the amount of water being delivered?

@jimmyjimjim‌ I think I help you with this.

It sounds like you are using rotary head nozzles. These types of nozzles put out significantly less gal/min than spray nozzle types. This results in longer runtimes. Denver water actually recommends running rotary nozzle types for 45 minutes, 3 times a week, so 6 times every two weeks = 270 minute total.

Check out the recommended run times under ‘The simplest way to regulate lawn watering’ section.

Sounds like our system has calculated a runtime at 45 minutes, every 3 days, so 5 times in two weeks = 225 minutes total. This doesn’t account for any adjustments due to rain.

If you’re satisfied with your rotary nozzles running at much shorter durations, you can adjust them down to where you like. Please know that conserving water is our goal, so this kind of feedback is very important to us. We’ll continue to tweak our scheduler as we learn.

As for the the changing you schedule when updating a zone, that’s not currently built in. You will need to delete your current watering time and create a new one to generate a new schedule based on your changes. Then, once you have your baseline schedule tuned in, you can turn on Water Budgeting and we’ll adjust it from there.

I made a similar note in another thread you are on as well:

Chris, I saw your other comment, thanks.

I’m actually running a combination of rotary and fixed…but I’m now thinking I’ll see if I can swap out the few remaining fixed nozzles and simplify it all.

I had managed to get some different times out of it by changing settings and creating a new schedule, but I’d attributed this to ‘hitting refresh on the controller picture’ - thanks for clarifying.

I immediately banged a few changes into the zone programming and scheduling, and got both some numbers that make more sense based on those settings, and some more confidence in the system.

Interestingly, if it was all fixed head, the run times would still be 29 minutes instead of the 45, tripling that would be nearly 90 minutes…I’ll stick with 45.

Also, I was 80% sure that I was going about this in the right way; let it create a schedule, modify it as needed, let water budgeting and water sense adjust it as needed after that - I wasn’t sure that they would then adjust manually configured times; thanks for the clarifcation.

The shrubs - still on fixed heads, have come down to a run time of 6 minutes, which is closer to what I’m running now, so I’m happier with that, at a compromise of 4 minutes , for the time being, too. Cycle and soak should reduce the water logging, we’ll see how 6 minutes goes later.

One important observation to make here - a lot of the people buying the Iro are going to be like me - looking to both conserve water, and also make sure that we are using the right amount.

I’m happy to admit I’ve not got a great deal of knowledge here, and one selling point is that ‘the experts’ are going to be creating a schedule for me, and modifying it as needed, accordingly.

The problem is that for some people, myself included, the recommended times are going to be very different from their current settings. I can’t quite bring myself to set it to 45 - but I’ve tried it at 30, that went ok (didn’t drown the lawn, didn’t leave it utterly waterlogged), I’ll let it run a few more times, and if it’s still ok, I’ll be happier letting it run the full 45.

You’re probably going to have quite a few people who can’t believe the schedules (there’s a couple of rotary nozzle threads already) and are going to take time to get used to the times being suffested.

You might want to create a new section for threads like this, or create a write up covering how it works, and tell people not to be too alarmed at the changes suggested :slight_smile:

Cheers, Jim.


Yeah, having the same type of nozzle throughout the zone is recommended if you don’t mind swapping out the last few.

No problem on the manually configured time clarification. We’re working to make some of this stuff a lot more clear.

You’re absolutely right. This is definitely going to be a new experience for a lot of people and we don’t want to seem crazy with our suggested runtimes. We know they won’t be perfect for everyone and we’ll need to adjust as we learn from people like you. If you find the 30 minute cycles are working fine for you, no need to adjust. That ultimately saves water, which is very important to us. It also helps us calibrate our schedule creation.

Good point on informing our customers. We’re working on some support articles now that will hopefully be of help.

Thanks again for all of your feedback.

btw - awesome alias name :slight_smile:

Thanks, its one I’ve had for 20 years :slight_smile:

Just picked up an Iro yesterday. Got it installed and up and running easily.

I wanted to chime in with my watering times, as I found them kind of excessive too. Right now it’s scheduled for twice a week, but the watering lasts two hours at a time. It’s between 25-35 minutes per zone (I have 6). I have fixed spray heads across all of my lawn and have it set as such.

With my old controller, I watered every other day for 12 minutes a zone. I’m a little surprised at the difference. I’m thinking maybe the time is increased because the schedule is less frequent? Since it’s new and I’m not sure how it exactly calculated that time, and it’s so far off from what I was doing, it’s tough for me to trust it to let it run that long.

I did a bit more digging a while back, based on a couple of comments people had made here.
The flow rate of (some of)my (rotary)nozzles is 0.4"/hr.
The Iro recommended run time per zone is 45 minutes.
Running 3 times a week.
So 135 minutes, or 2.25hrs
2.25x0.4" ~ 0.9" a week.

Someone on another thread mentioned that the recommended rate for grass as a crop was an inch a week, so it is correct from that point of view.

Judging from the way my grass is getting on (actually looking nice for once, and that the clay isn’t water logged), I now realize that I was extremely parsimonious on water use.

On your old controller, every other day is 3.5 times a week, so 42 minutes a week per zone.
On the Iro, you are running for 50-70 minutes per week per zone. Between 19% and 66% increase. On the lower side, not a great increase, and on the high side, not as bad as my tripling!

If you happen to know the flow rate for your nozzles (or can google it), I’d suggest you work out how much water the system is trying to put down over the course of a week, and see how you feel about it then.