What changed in flex scheduling?


I would add that you should let the zones run as long as the system wants to based off your settings. You have Loamy Sand (AW 0.07), which means that water quickly gets down to your roots fast, which is why your watering times are low. If your soil is correct, and your root depth is really only 6", watering any longer will be wasted water.


I reduced the watering time only for the front lawn which doesn’t seem to have this issue. The Side and Backyard are at the 100% given by Flex. @Modawg2k - The system will always run for the duration that is set. I believe it is the result of the other factors that you can change. Frequency is really what Flex is “Flexing”, not duration. So if I set it to water 20 minutes, it will water 20 minutes every-time it waters. If it’s not keeping up, I thought allowing it to run 15 minutes for example might make more sense. I’d rather water less frequently by having the zone fill up during watering and then run once allowed depletion (50% in my case) is hit. Looks like 10 minutes gives me .21 inches which is what is evaporated on low to mid 90’s day in my case. So, I believe each water should probably drop closer to .5 inches.


Just started 15 min manual run of side and backyard zones.


I get what you are saying. All I’m saying is that the system has its run times based off your settings, so you could run it for twice the amount of time, and the graph will bump up twice as high, but are you really doing your grass any good? You’ll be watering past it’s 6" root depth more than likely


If that were the case, then why wouldn’t the top of the graph be where my line currently is. I guess I’m getting confused trying to understand the difference between having the field capacity ideally in the 50-100% range at all times (hence the 50% allowed depletion) and what you’re referring to as enough water for my lawns needs. If my lawn is where it should be at 33%, then why not have the graph go from 0 to where my line is now being 100%, not 33%?


@mbaturin, I think the issue might be that the ‘raindrops’ on the graph are only plotted once per day, sometime after your watering. During the time in between the watering and the graph update, moisture has evaporated. If a ‘raindrops’ were put on the chart immediately after the watering, I’m guessing that you’d see it at or near 100%.


Someone is more than welcomed to chime in if I’m understanding it incorrectly, but the top of the line on the moisture graph is meant to show you that your soil has met it’s maximum water retention/saturation. This has nothing to do with water reaching your root depth. The flex wants to do 2 things, 1) keep you bouncing around between your allowed depletion level (bottom) and saturation maximum (top line) and 2) water to your root depth every time


I may be wrong here. I’m not sure if the graph is updated at the time of watering or later in the day. I know that a ‘raindrop’ exists on the plot for an event the day that it happened, but what I’m not sure of is if that was there as a planned event and is updated later, or is updated at the time of the event. Regardless, I think @Modawg2k’s response helps clear up the expectation of getting to 100% every time.

Regardless, since you’re graph is ‘flat’ @mbaturin, it seems that your system is barely keeping up. Your irrigation system puts down 6" of water down one day, and within the 24 hour period that water has evaporated.


Ah this makes sense - so it may be filling it to field capacity, only to have it evaporate in 24 hours - hence no movement. So I ran the zones for 15 min each manually…


To clarify, you were not filling to field capacity before, you were filling to have water reach 6" below the soil, which kept you at about 1/3 of the way between your allowed depletion (50%) and field capacity (100%). Now that you manually ran the system, and added a total of 0.54" for the day, what does the next week forecast look like? I would assume it’s going to revert back to what it was doing before


Got it thanks. Looks different next week due to the weather being somewhat cooler (high 70’s to mid 80s) and some rain forecasted as of now for the 19th.


Ok yeah your ET drops almost in half some days… well best of luck and hopefully the reset works for ya


I don’t really need it looked into - I think I’ve got all my settings tweaked for now and will monitor it going forward. I only adjusted my root depth by .5 inch and also bumped my crop coefficient down only slightly. I’ll check again in a week and if it still looks like it’s watering too much I’ll nudge the crop coefficient down again. For now I’m just doing baby steps. I also tweaked all my zone sq footages so i get a more accurate estimate of water usage, which will alert me to a problem going forward. Lastly - I had a messed up temperature sensor on my 5in1 weather station that my rachio was using. I’ve ordered a new one and I suspect that correcting daily temps will solve most of my problems.


Oh and to the main topic at hand, I dropped my crop coefficient on my warm season bermuda to 0.6 and I got this

That’s the only 2 days off in a row period I have in the next two weeks, but hey I’ll take it. Must be the winter like sub-100 conditions we in phoenix are experiencing today


Four of my five zones watered today after I adjusted them to full yesterday. My ET rates seem to deplete to the allowed depletion every day. Has the definition of depletion changed from the past?

I went ahead and increased my allowed depletion to see if that will sort out my issues.


I don’t think so. What was your Allowed Depletion set to before you changed it. Default is 50


I had reduced it from 50% to 25%. To get the watering to space out a bit, I upped it to 50% this morning. I also adjusted all zones to full after the increase.


There is something wrong with the Rachio programming right now. My monthly water usage year over year has almost doubled. It seems that there are more people having the same issues I am seeing with extreme over-watering.

I had set up and meticulously configured Flex schedules May of 2016, catch cups, tested soil type, slope, accurate sun exposures, measured square footage of zones, root depths, everything… The watering was working great, the lawn looked good but not over-watered, the watering frequency was at times less frequent than I thought it should be, but the results seemed to be good. Last year I saved approximately 25% on my overall water usage from the previous year due to Rachio working as advertised. Then something changed between the time I shut down for the winter and started up this spring.

This year 2017, I am seeing many, many problems. With no changes to my setup, I am seeing a substantial increase in watering. I have put in a support ticket with Rachio, however, all the suggestions have failed to change the watering frequency/total watering.

May '16 Water usage: 15,000 gals - ave temp 62 - total precip 1.20 inches : Water Bill $109.00
May '17 Water usage: 35,748 gals - ave temp 63 - total precip 0.59 inches : Water Bill $220.00

June '16 Water usage: 41,041 gals - ave temp 78 - total precip 0.20 inches : Water Bill $225.00
June '17 Water usage: 70,088 gals - ave temp 76 - total precip 0.25 inches : can’t wait to see it…

So far in June, with 2 days left in the month, my water usage is already almost double June of last year, same experience the previous month. I use IFTTT to log my watering in a google spreadsheet; when comparing June 2016 to 2017;

June 2016 46 total hours of watering.
June 2017 113 total hours of watering.

Support had me try a new weather station, this changed nothing.
Two weeks ago I tried adjusting crop coefficients slightly to see if this changed anything.

This week I decided to delete everything and set up from scratch. I deleted all schedules and re-ran the Setup Zones process. After accomplishing this, I went into the zones and noted that all the settings that I have customized, were still unchanged in the zones even though I had re-run the zone setup. I would think this would have reset everything to defaults but it did not. In spite of this, I reset my flex daily schedules and it appears I still have extremely high water times and frequency so it appears that this hasn’t helped anything. I again, today, I deleted Flex daily completely and am going to try flex monthly. We will see if it helps.

I am ready to throw in the towel on this one, Rachio this year has already cost me $100 more for May and now for June my bill is $220 more than last year. DOUBLE my bill each month so far this year, and I am not even in July yet… when my water bill is usually the highest. At this rate of increase, I will have a $1,000 water bill for July (assuming I left Rachio to do the watering).

I see a lot of people on here talking about Rachio seeming to overwater this year vs last year. There is obviously something wrong with Flex daily, this needs to be addressed.


Based on my observations of Flex Daily, the one variable I wonder about is ET. As I mentioned in Arizona Turf Water Consumption, the ET computed by Rachio seems a little higher than what AZMET indicates.

That said, it isn’t crazy high for me at least, and certainly not double. Aside from ET, most of the calculations Rachio does aren’t too difficult, and you can sanity check them by hand via your advanced settings:

Watering Duration

  1. Calculate availableWater * allowedDepletion * rootDepth. Example: 0.2 * 40% * 6.00" = 0.48". This is how many inches are needed to fill your root zone starting at the brown line on your Moisture Graph. You should see this value appearing periodically in your “Forecasted” Flex Moisture Level details.
  2. Divide by your precipitation rate to determine how long an ideal system would water. Example: 0.48" / 1.65"/hr = 0.29 hr.
  3. Multiply by 1 / (0.4 + 0.6 * efficiency) to figure out how long your system must water. This is about how long Rachio will water normally. Example: 0.29hr * (1 / (0.4 + 0.6 * 49%)) = 0.29 * 1.44 = .42 hr = 25 minutes. (I sometimes get a slightly different answer than Rachio but it’s pretty close.)


  1. Temporarily set your crop coefficient to 100% and read off a daily ET value in the Moisture Graph details. This should be close to the so-called “reference ET” for your area. For Phoenix this is in AZMET summary - maybe there’s a similar site for your area.
  2. Multiply the reference ET by your real crop coefficient e.g. 70% - this is how many inches Rachio “wants” to water for the day due to weather.
  3. Once you’ve accumulated (due to weather) the number of inches from Watering Duration step #1 less any precipitation or manual waterings, Rachio will water. You can see this in your Moisture Level details.

Hope this helps you cross check what Rachio is doing. There are lots of variables so it’s hard to say what changed for you YOY without digging into details, but if you didn’t change settings then ET may be the wildcard.

ET consistently above local reports

ldslaron, Thanks for the suggestions.

In my support ticket with Rachio, I pointed out two issues;

  1. I suggested that my ET rate seemed high: my moisture level graph was going from 90 - 100% all the way to 10-15% in one day. It used to be a curve to zero over several days followed by a rapid fill to 100% which is what i would expect.
  2. I also noted that frequently, my water moisture level was not dropping all the way to my allowed depletion line before refilling.

I was using their defaults of 50% depletion, 80% efficiency, .70 crop coefficient, root depth of 6 inches, available water of 0.20, with no watering restrictions.

Using your suggested method to examine my ET rates;

Crop Coefficient set to 1.0, my daily ET value in the Moisture graph details shows a 7 day average of 0.34 in.
Reference ET for my area ( http://data.weatherreach.com/udwr ) the past 7 day average of 0.27 in.

Difference is 0.07 in. which is 26% higher than it should be. This is exactly what I have suggested to Rachio, that my ET rate is too high and how can I adjust it.

My Calculation;
Multiply my researched reference ET (based on local data) of 0.27 in. by the configured coefficient of 0.70 = 0.19 inches per day that needs to be replenished.

Rachio’s Calculation;
Multiply the Rachio ET of 0.34 in. by the configured coefficient of 0.70 = 0.24 inches per day. Rachio is scheduling to replenish 0.26 inches per day which matches the calculation.

Am I looking at this wrong?

I think my initial results with the original FLEX programming that I started out with in 2016 were good, however Rachio changed this to FLEX daily sometime near the end of last year, and since then my results have not been good. I believe that they also changed the default cool season grass coefficient from 0.6 to 0.7 which would account for some of the increase I have seen, but not all.

I am going to set up the daily FLEX again, and adjust my coefficient down to 55 or 60% from 70% for my lawn and adjust my other zones accordingly as well and see if this helps. I think Rachio’s ET rate is calculated/set too high, I shouldn’t need to adjust this coefficient down so much from the default if it was accurate.

I see an awful lot of people on this forum talking about the same experience this year vs. last. Last year I saw a lot of people complaining about their lawns not getting enough water and I am curious if Rachio adjusted their ET values or the variables that affect ET rates to compensate for this. That is all I can imagine that would have caused so many to see such a notable increase in watering this year vs. last.