Reaching The End Of My Patience With Our Rachio 3

Tried Flex Daily, last season. Read, studied, tried all kinds of settings, incl. Advanced. It would either water way too little or way too much. There was one short period it got it right, then went wrongly again.

Nearly destroyed our lawn, and nearly killed my wife’s gardens, messing with it.

Switched to a fixed schedule. That worked well for the rest of the season and, up until recently, this season.

Now, for no reason I can discern, it’s decided one zone needs only 3 min. of watering… Correction: In the last few hours it’s decided it needs five. Anyway… meanwhile, a nearly identical zone, in all respects, gets nearly two hours.

And I can’t figure out how to change either.

I’ve about had it with this thing :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

This thing needs absolutely fixed watering times with the ability to manually apply across-the-board percentages (e.g.: 80%, 120%) to all zones. Need to be able to do-away with the “smarts.” They simply cannot be trusted to Do The Right Thing.

You can have a completely Fixed Schedule by turning off Seasonal Shift and ALL of the skips that are presented when you create the Fixed schedule.

That said, many of us are successfully using Rachio’s Flex Daily schedules. I can understand how frustrating it must be not to have it working for you.

Perhaps if you care to share your settings, the community can help you get it working for you.


I don’t believe there is possibly a single instance of controllers going rogue. It’s always down to the information Gaven to the Rachio - with with the settings you apply in the zone setups (most likely), or with the information received from a chosen weather station.

Realistically, there are only w critical pieces of information which can (and WILL) affect watering times. These are

A) the nozzle inches per hour (the amount of water it THINKS you have put into your lawn
B) the Crop Coefficient (the rate the grass uses the water and the rate water is lost to evaporation)

Now B) is now made easier by a Dynamic option which Rachio provide from it’s own data, based or where you live

A) can be calculated by taking a fairly accurate measurement of your yard via the “Yard Map” on the phone app. Then run your sprinklers for 5 mins and deduce the quantity of water used from your water meter. Calculate the Nozzle Inches per hour from

(Gallons used / Yard area in sq ft / 5 mins) * 60

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I still think you need to add in the importance of soil type (affects duration and frequency), and to some degree, root depth…

@jseymour I’d recommend posting up your details, maybe a couple zones at a time and see what the community can help you with. I’ve successfully been running Flex Daily in the heat of Arizona for over 5 years, so it is possible!

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Totally agree with @tmcgahey - @jseymour post pictures of your zones setting and folks here in the community will help you dialing your zones no questions ask with the help of @tmcgahey and @franz and @azdavidr - I was able to dialing my zones going back 5-6 years ago and the results were fantastic IMHO Rachio is the Mercedes Benz when it’s become to irrigation controller.


Thanks for the follow-ups and offers, guys.

The problem is no “smart” programming of the zones is going to work for us. Because the zones were originally set up for the landscape being such a way, and my wife subsequently added a lot of gardens, nearly all the zones are covering wildly different plant and soil types. (Grass on a thin layer of topsoil over clay vs. a variety of plants and bushes over rich topsoil generated from a couple decades of fall mulching.)

I’ve thought about having another four zones put in, and maybe we will. Then we’d be able to have lawn zones and garden zones.

The problem is I had a fixed schedule that had been working well. I do have seasonal shift enabled and that worked, too.

Then, out of the clear blue sky, one zone, identical in size, number and type of sprinkler heads, etc. to another zone arbitrarily went from two hours to three minutes.

None of the other zones were affected.

I just went ahead and manually adjusted that zone back up to where it should be again.

Well, you are correct…with such variations in zone types, it is hard for Rachio to water “correctly”. You would set the zone up based on the most needy vegetation, which in your case would be the garden areas.

As for grass topsoil/clay, IMHO, you need to look at the soil closer to the root depth of the grass. A shallow layer of topsoil (from sod or initial planting) doesn’t really factor in at the 6-10" root depth that grass will live at.

Of course, new zones, and splitting things off would be BEST, but I think you could dial things in to be very functional.

To accomplish the nozzle inches in this manner, if you have a front yard and back yard, both consist of let’s say 3-4 zones, do you just measure the entire front and run all 3 zones for 5mins each? Same for the back measure the whole back 4 zones for 5 mins each and do the math?

Ideally, you run all zones totally independently, and measure the area of each zone. Where are are located should be immaterial

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