Watering Start Time: Automatic Sunrise Adjustment

Hi Rachio team!

First off, love your product! - Since it’s important to let watering start before sunrise and sunrise time constantly changes throughout the year, it would be great to have an automatic adjustment to the watering start time, where we can select a certain time before sunrise to begin the watering. The app could re-calculate and adjust to start the watering automatically at the desired time before sunrise. This way we won’t have to adjust to the changing sunrise times manually throughout the year. I think this would be a huge time-saver and improvement.

Thanks so much in advance for considering this suggestion for implementation!

Have a great day and best regards from Dallas, Texas.


Love it! My home automation system uses daily adjusted sunrise/sunset for various things and this would be a natural evolution.


I love the idea @CountAlmaviva! I will make sure to get the feedback to the team. How much time do you typically start before sunrise?

@scorp508 If you don’t mind me asking, what home automation do you use? I want to check out how they present this is their app :blush:

I use HomeSeer 3 Pro. It isn’t the most beautiful to look at, but one of the more powerful and integrates with all kinds of HA technologies. You enter your home’s latitude an longitude to get things like proper sunrise/sunset times that update daily as well as local forecasts.

In the management interface the sunrise/set is always in the top bar just to offer you a reference.

It allows you to run events such as this, each night at sunset I have a set of exterior lights that come on and then a different event turns them off later. I don’t have to think about adjusting any times all year long when in the summer the sun is up at 5 AM and in the winter it is up at may be 8:45 AM.

HomeSeer uses the idea of “Triggers” and “Conditions” in their events. The sunrise/sunset values are a trigger event you can use before additional conditions are applied.

You can do things like: IF the time is 30 minutes before sunset AND IF Weather Condition @ Location contains Cloudy then turn on exterior lights.

I could envision Rachio adding logic based on the device’s Lat/Long position (or associated weather station) to make sure all watering is done before some particular time of day. Maybe that time is based on sunrise, heat, humidity, solar exposure, if a zone in the lawn doubles as a bus stop, … whatever it may be.

@scorp508 I love that IF, ANDIF, and THEN statement structure. I guess that may be the engineer in me showing a bit :joy:

Well if you’d like to geek out more it also has OR IF for conditions as well. :joy:


Hi @mckynzee,

I usually like to have my watering cycle end about 1hr before sunrise but other people might prefer different times. Ideally I’d say the app should be able to let the user adjust at what time before sunrise the watering cycle should be completed.

Since rachio automatically adjusts watering times by season/month, it will make more sense to set a watering cycle completion time, rather than start time. And this completion time before sunrise should be flexible too, since each user will have different preferences.

Hope this makes sense. Have a great day and thanks for forwarding this info to your team. I think this would be a great feature for the app!


Super helpful @CountAlmaviva, I appreciate the extra insight!

So it appears that this feature sort of made it into the latest version. Do you have any details about how it works? I have my schedule set to “End before sunrise”. Yesterday my system turned on at 7:30PM and ran for 173 min. Seems like something is either not working as expected or more likely, I just don’t understand that feature.



Thanks in advance,
Loren Okuly

Is your location set correctly under controller settings?

This morning our Flex Daily with this option enabled watered all zones and ended at 5:31AM which was the forecasted sunrise for our zip code today.

The odd thing with this feature is it doesn’t seem to start closer to sunrise even if it is watering only one or two zones instead of all of them. It appears to always assume the maximum schedule runtime and subtracts it from sunrise.


Yes, location is correct:

Oh I bet that is it, looks at total run time and backs that out from sunrise. Since my total run time is 9.5 hours, starting at 7:30 would have finished at 5AM.

Can you confirm? If that’s how it works, maybe we could add that to the feature list. Obviously running at 7:30pm increases the risk of fungus and other things that aren’t good such as not allowing me to play with my two year old boy after work since the sprinklers are on :frowning:

Seems simple enough, when you make the decision on whether or not to run you estimate total runtime. That’s already in the system today. Seems simple enough to back that run time out from estimated sunrise for the controllers zip code and then set the start time for that iteration.

My system only runs every zone for full run time once per year, startup. The rest of the year it can probably start early morning after the family has gone to bed and finish just before sunrise which seems more ideal.

Thanks in advance,
Loren Okuly

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End by sunrise with flex daily is kind of a beast :wink:

Here is a better explanation and @theflexdude can answer some questions as to why it is so difficult.

We currently do have to account for all the zones watering in the flex daily schedule.


Well, my big question of course, since I was the one suggesting this feature, can I look forward to some royalties now :wink: - Just kidding, haha! Thank you so much Rachio team for implementing this into your app! You guys are awesome!

Big thank you and best wishes from Dallas, Texas!

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I still don’t get this, it feels awkward especially for the “smartest” schedule type. :frowning:

Our system ran today for the first time this season and watered all 7 zones as expected. The schedule shows it will water only 5 zones on the 11th from 1:53 AM to 3:22 AM. It has decided this 48 hours in advance based on zone settings and forecast. It also has tentative custom schedules for the 17th and 18th.

The system knows what a full schedule needs for time if all zones were empty moisture. Let’s call it 210 minutes as an example. I’d expect it to do a recheck of conditions at something like oh maybe 240 minutes before sunrise, validate how many zones need to run, if wind/rain skip is in effect, and then adjust the start time closer to sunrise if fewer than all zones will be run.

It is hard as the consumer to understand this device can do magical voodoo schedule planning weeks in advance, yet also cannot subtract today’s runtime length from today’s sunrise time. :slightly_smiling_face: :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

The current logic sort of feels like it’s own worse enemy and preventing the underlying benefit from being fully realized. I am :crossed_fingers: this relatively new feature becomes more logical for us flex daily users in the future. :pray: :slightly_smiling_face:


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Thanks @scorp508, now @theflexdude will not sleep for weeks. I know he wants to revisit this when we have time.


^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Agree 100%, feels half-done in its current form. It’s not a huge deal since I understand how it works, but I think most new customers will continue to be confused by this feature until it is updated to finish today’s watering by sunrise, instead of the total schedule runtime, which includes time for zones that may not be watered today.


For now I have created an acceptable workaround for my situation. I split my single Flex Daily schedule in to two, using the odd/even interval days. This moved my start time from about 1:30 am to 3:45 am, getting much closer to sunrise. Luckily I do not have watering restrictions, so this was an option for me.

I absolutely agree with everything that is brought up. The perfect functionality requires an enormous amount of state for just one schedule type configuration. Limited on time we went with a stable yet imperfect implementation. Once there is time this will definitely be revisited.


I’m hoping this is revisited sooner rather than later. I’ve had to revert to “Start at a specific time” because “End before sunrise” (which is recommended) starts watering at 11:23 pm and finishes way before sunrise. Now I have mushrooms growing in my yard, which I’m not super thrilled about…