What does "water saved" really mean?


#1

My system hasn’t run a schedule since September 6, and says due to forecast weather it won’t run again until September 21. However, the app says my Rachio has “saved” 0 gallons of water. I live in south Florida, and typically my system runs for 45-60 minutes at least every two days when there’s no rain. So shouldn’t I be “saving” quite a lot of water?


#2

Im assuming you’re using a flexible daily schedule. They only calculate water savings with fixed schedules with weather intelligence enabled. While you are certainly saving water, the controller won’t calculate it. There was a thread with a similar comment. Im using flexible daily as well and had the same thought.


#3

Yea, that’s the case, I’m using flex scheduling. But isn’t that sort of the point of having this device? An “intelligent” controller that can’t tell me any more about my usage than any other fixed controller with a rain sensor isn’t very “intelligent.”


#4

Understood, but what should they be comparing to for water savings? A fixed schedule of every day for 10 minutes? A fixed schedule of every 3 days? Or in my case, what my old Rainbird SMTe watered? My point is that any “savings” that they come up with for a flexible schedule is all in the eye of the beholder. It all depends.

I would say it all comes down to $'s per month, but even then, that’s difficult. In previous years, when we had drought conditions, I just turned the water off and let the lawn go dormant. Now, with Rachio, I let it water when needed. How would they calculate that?

All told, the savings is up to each individual’s interpretation of their previous situation. I just know that my lawn is looking pretty good, and I’m not spending as much money to make it look like that. :+1:t3::+1:t3::+1:t3: to Rachio!!!


#5

Well, it makes sense that the Rachio understands your configuration and general climate, and generates a basic schedule based on that. Then it applies the “flex” scheduling based on rainfall and other weather conditions. So, even if it’s not comparing to a fixed schedule, it should still be able to say, “I would have watered X gallons over this time, but due to local weather, I didn’t have to water on these days that I would have otherwise watered, therefore, Y gallons have been saved (estimated).”

At the very least, they could estimate water savings based on one or more fixed schedules, like “Compared to watering every other day for 45 minutes, you’ve saved an estimated X gallons this month.”

The premise that there is nothing to compare against destroys their marketing as to why Rachio is better. Saying that “it saves you water, but we can’t actually demonstrate that it saves you any water” is kind of dumb.


#6

We have had this discussion on here before. I agree with you. There must be some data to compare against, otherwise savings is meaningless. Someone else in the community suggested removing this OR adding a way to add in actual water usage (minus estimated indoor use) for the past several years.

I have a friend who installed a competitive Wi-Fi smart controller. Before he ran the system one time he started getting outlandish emails that he had already saved 60%. But 60% of what?


#7

Logically, if you’re not using some kind of “smart” controller, then you either water manually, or you water according to a schedule with a regular controller. Those are both reasonable baselines, but they would require to user to input those parameters during setup to give a basis of comparison.

But even absent that, the “evapotranspiration” calculations don’t appear to be all that mystical. My Rachio, on a flex schedule, really doesn’t do anything more than delay the next scheduled watering if there’s been rain or there’s rain forecast for that day. My schedules run at the same time when they do run, which suggests to me that it’s barely more intelligent than that. A “smart” system to me would be running at different times of the day as needed to keep the plants in a good range of hydration. If it’s especially hot, it might throw in a late afternoon watering, maybe. But that’s never the way it works. I also never notice it doing multiple short soaks in a zone like I remember reading it was supposed to do to help prevent runoff before water could soak into the soil. I’ll admit maybe because most of my yard is pretty flat.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Rachio, it’s a great controller and having the app to control and monitor my system, I just don’t know if I believe many of the claims of how “smart” it is. I always have faith that they can provide more and better features and intelligence through updates. That’s the great thing about having connected devices.


#8

I never want my sprinkler system during the heat of the day. You are describing a Toro Golf central system with soil moisture mapping. If you want that kind of routine, put that zone or zones on fixed schedule where you can divide a total run time into multiple cycles . Rachio is a great residential controller, but it’s not perfect.

I use the flex schedule with odd even restrictions and it works great in central Oklahoma. I have some zones now that only come on once a week. Since 2000, I have seen the evolution of smart ET controllers. Things have never been this advanced in the residential market. I get three cycle and soaks. It will depend on what soil and slope. If you have runoff, then you need to tweak your settings.


#9

I think the smart controller is certainly an improvement over a standard controller with a rain sensor. While it can’t quantitatively tell me that I’m saving water, I know that I am.

The example I always give is that if its going to rain at 9, and I water at 4, the dumb controller will water and than it will rain. Rachio will see that its going to rain, adjust the water schedule and save my sprinklers from watering for no reason makes sense to me. The rain sensor alone won’t do that.


#10

Right, but it isn’t smart enough to know that it “saved” that water because it didn’t run when it was going to rain?


#11

I would think there’s an easy way to do it which would be to program what you would run and then let it figure out how using the flex schedule saves you water. While that would probably be easy, it’s probably not worth their time to do so people get a warm fuzzy and can pat themselves on the back knowing they’re saving water. The proof for me is in my water bill.


#12

Bottom line is our water bill. I’m on track for my September usage to be half of my usage during August - just because of cooler weather and rainfall. If my old clock was still on the wall I probably would not have changed the schedule


#13

It’s no different then the smart thermostat I have. I can do the same thing manually, but I will inherently forgot to change the temperature when I leave. The rachio automates its and provably does it better than I could do on my own


#14

Now this is something Rachio might be able to do - calculate the savings from not watering on skipped rain days. Maybe they will respond.


#15

I’d prefer better calculation of water used. Seems like you could do this in the zone setup menu. Have a menu where you input the starting number, run the zone for a set time, input the end number and let rachio calculate the usage rate for that zone. Run that for each zone and than you’ll get an accurate usage number.