Sprinklers ran manually on their own

Curious to see if anyone else has experienced this.

I’ve had Rachio in place for about 3 months now, controlling 6 zones, and it has run perfect with no issues. I have it set on a schedule and have only used the manual option a handful of times.

This morning, my sprinklers ran on their schedule at 4am and finished by 5:30am. At about 7:45am, the sprinklers started back up again on their own. No schedule was set for this time, and I didn’t start them manually.

When I went into the app, it didn’t show anything as running, and even more disturbing, I couldn’t find anyway to stop them. I tried setting it to Standby mode (but I guess that only affects the schedule). I also tried disabling the zones, but that didn’t help.

I finally had to shut the water to the sprinklers off completely to get them to stop.

Has anyone come across this before? Could it be a faulty Rachio controller, or could it possibly be a problem with the sprinkler valves?

@cpeters - so in the watering history on the web UI does it have a finished watering message at 5:30 AM and then no other messages after that? This sounds like Smart Cycle, but I think the time between the runs is too large for it to be Smart Cycle.

I have an event actually at 5:40am showing Completed Zone 1, Zone 2, etc. for 100 minutes. Then at 7:47am, I have an event that says “Started manual schedule for 10 minutes”, and another event at the same time saying “Watering Zone 5 for 10 minutes”. And then another event at the exact same time (7:47am) saying “Stopped manual schedule for 10 minutes”. At 7:48am, it went through a similar set of messages but for a different zone. This went on through several of the zones until I finally had to shut the water off to get it to stop.

@cpeters - is there shared access to the Rachio account with another user that could have initiated the manual run?

No. I’m the only one in the house that has access, and the only one that even has the app installed. Definitely weird…hopefully just a freak occurrence that won’t happen again…

Maybe you pocket sprinkled?


That sounds so wrong, @toddbecker :confused:


Perhaps this is cycle and soak. Rachio calls it smart cycle.

It is something you have inadvertently done with your settings. Rachio can check.


I’m seeing that your SmartThings integration started your controller at that time.

2017-09-07 11:47:35,082 (UTC) [http-nio-5000-exec-57] [contextId=ee46e1a4-d914-4402-9da0-482371b4a321, apiKey=xxxxxx, pin=xxxxx, deviceId=5xxxxx, auditName=rest_audit] WARN RestAuditService - {“transactionId”:“ee46e1a4-d914-4402-9da0-482371b4a321”,“method”:“PUT”,“requestBody”:"{“id”:“xxxxx”,“duration”:600}",“uri”:"/1/public/zone/start",“responseCode”:204,“duration”:572,“userAgent”:“Apache-HttpClient/4.5.2 (Java/1.7.0_80)”,“apiKey”:“xxxxx”,“accessToken”:“Bearer xxxxx”,“integrationSource”:“smartthings”}

Do you have an automated job setup?



No automated jobs in SmartThings. When I couldn’t get them to turn off from the Rachio app, I did go into SmartThings app and try to stop them from there a few times, but that didn’t work either.

I’ve left the water off for the last 2 days. Rachio app still in Standby Mode for the schedule.

I turned the water back on this morning to see what would happen. Immediately there at least 2 zones that started up. Phone was in my hand, so no “pocket sprinkling” :slight_smile:

Checked the Rachio app and the SmartThings app. Neither one showed the zones running and again I couldn’t stop them from either app. I once again had to shut off the main valve to the sprinklers to get them to stop.

Not sure what else to do at this point, other than maybe getting my irrigation company out here to take a look.


The first thing I would do is delete your integration with SmartThings as maybe there is a recipe that is firing without your knowledge?

From the data I saw, that was the reason your zones were spontaneously running. If that doesn’t fix it, we can think about other options.


Were you able to fix your problem? I’m also experiencing the same problems. One of my zones started running this morning and would not shut off. My sprinklers aren’t even set to run today, yet the one zone started running and the only way to shut it off was by turning off the water.

I tried all the same things as you…turn off the system, unplug it, but as soon as I turn the water valve back on, the zone starts right back up. When I look at the App it shows online and tells me the last time it watered was on Monday, and today if Friday.

Thanks Ryan

@winkler123 @cpeters

Sounds to me like control valves are failing and sticking open.

Locate them and rebuild. If the valve is too old, it may need replacing. If not, buy a valve just like it and rebuild from the body of the valve to the solenoid.

1 Like

Hey @winkler123-

Just to be clear, the valve continued running even after unplugging the controller?

If so, this is most likely a stuck valve, like @Sprinklerman mentioned. There are some good instructions here on how to clean out any debris, but it also may require a new valve! We can always recommend a pro if you don’t want to get your hands to dirty :smile:

McKynzee :rachio:

Correct, the valve continues to run after unplugging the controller.

I agree the valve isn’t closing. So yes the valve is failing and/or sticking open. What I’m having a hard time with is WHY during the middle of the day does the sprinkler zone just turn on and continue to run? I have never heard of a failed valve just turning on when not prompted by the controller. Does that normally happen? I thought normally when a valve fails/sticks its after the zone was scheduled to turn. The sprinkler system wasn’t even scheduled to run that day. And when I look at the app it didn’t show the zone running. With my old Rainbird system I never had this issue, and since installing the Rachio system I have had a zone turn on three different times when not scheduled to run, and wont shut off. The two previous times i had to open up the valves, pull out the cylinder inside the value and reassemble.

In the past when I have had a valve fail it is always after a zone was scheduled to run. To me its odd that the zone just turns on out of the blue.

Help me understand, is that normal for the failed valve to just trigger the zone to turn on?

Thanks for the advice.

Hey @winkler123-

Thank you for the extra information, now I understand the concern. I will review your account and see what caused the zone to activate!

McKynzee :rachio:

No, it’s not normal.

Does the zone still activate spontaneously after unplugging the controller?

Was another zone scheduled to activate on the day the sticking zone came on?

Yes the zone still activates with the controller unplugged. The only way for me to turn off the zone is to shut off the water.

No other Zones were scheduled to run the day the sticking zone came on. For example my system is only scheduled to run through all the zones on Mondays at 3:30AM, and the sticking zone started running one mid-morning during the week. This is the third time I have a zone start running out of schedule since installing the Rachio system earlier this year.

Thanks Ryan

By itself? I’m beginning to think you need to call ghost hunters.

Do you have any weird pressure fluctuations on your property?