Why does it water starting at 5PM?

Hi Franz - A year+ later I’m still having this problem. My sprinklers start at 5pm and end by 9pm - every cycle. Do I need to manually download an update to get the fix?

Thank you!

  • Steve

Same question…

Hi, we just got a Rachio 3 and also see this happening. We selected to “End by sunrise” and the water is starting at 6pm the previous day, ending a few hours later depending on how many zones decided to run. Seems like an incredibly easy algorithm… sunrise is at X, total watering time is Y, total soak time is Z, so start at X - (Y+Z). Is this going to be fixed? Why can’t this be calculated automatically each time Rachio decides to schedule a watering event? I can’t have the watering starting at 6pm when someone might be outside sitting on the lawn… Looking forward to a quick solution to this years-old problem!

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This is still an issue. The current workaround is to put similar zones in the same flex schedule. They will then run at the same depletion frequency and you will not have the gap in scheduling. The team just hasn’t got around to prioritizing this ahead of our other big initiatives.


I tried splitting up zones into 3 schedules for lawns, bushes and garden. It only lets me select “End before sunrise” for one. If I try to choose that for another, I get an error. Am I misinterpreting the workaround?

You can group similar zones into one flex schedule and if they are running at the same depletion rate be guaranteed they will run on the sames days and if end before sunrise, there will be no gaps in running. It does get a little complicated if you want to support end before sunrise and additional types.

Maybe put the majority of grouped zones (similar characteristics) in the end before sunrise, then stack the other schedule start time early enough to accommodate the other schedule?

Not ideal, there will probably still be gaps, but less so than having every zone run independently.

Only an issue for flex daily schedules since they are really just containers for zones running individually.


Idk @franz, seems like this should be a priority because it takes all the ‘smarts’ out of your app. I see lots of complaints about it in the forums… why not listen to your customers and fix what’s broken instead of adding new features? That gets my vote.

I set up 3 flex daily schedules. One for lawns (3 zones), one for bushes (4 zones) and one for garden (1 zone). The lawns don’t run on the same day even though they’re setup the same way and all in the same schedule. I ended up just using the ‘start at’ mode to get more things to finish before sunrise. The other day, watering for bushes, lawn and garden were all scheduled on the same day, so it started watering at 2 AM, finishing at 1:30 PM or so with all the soak times. In a few more days, something similar will happen. It is not working well and seems to contradict the “Expert Watering” marketing label you’ve applied, unless it means you have to be an expert in order to configure it to work properly.

If the smart scheduling worked properly, I would love your product! As it stands, I’m tempted to go back to dumb schedules to avoid all of these headaches.

Thanks for listening!

Ugh, super frustrated. How do I tell Rachio not to water on Fridays? That’s when the gardeners come and it seems like every Friday Rachio decides to run too many zones and ends up running into the late morning. I then have to first notice it’s still on and manually set a timeout for an hour. If my gardeners are running late, I cancel the timeout and set another one, at which point Rachio forgets that it already ran for 1.5 hours on a zone and restarts again for the whole 2.5 hour schedule.

Is your Flex Daily schedule currently set up for any day right now? Doing a little testing, I think you may need to make a new Flex Daily Schedule where you select Specific Days – just leave Friday out. Then you should be fine. You may need to delete your current Flex Daily schedule to create the new one, so jot down the settings before you do the new one (Not sure – I didn’t take time to test that far).

Once you do specific days, you can change any of them around should your mowing day change.

Thanks, I was hoping I didn’t need to start over again. I knew I saw a watering day option somewhere but could not find it again. They don’t make it easy, do they?! Too bad the “end before sunrise” option doesn’t work.

Just reread one of your notes. Are your garden or bush zones on drip? If so, you might not have to have them run overnight. I have one zone for flowers that uses a fixed spray head, and I let that run at 8:30am in the morning. Then I start all my drips at 9:30am and let them run through the morning. That way only the lawn part needs to end up early in the morning.

Nah, all my stuff is a mix of drip and sprayers. I set my bushes to start at 1am since they can take up to 8+ hours with the soak times, and lawns and garden for 2am. It’s my attempt at making them finish by morning most of the time. I have no idea how anyone with 16 zones can use this product and the Flex schedules. I can’t even do it with 8 zones.

I’m going to have to agree with this.

I have 5 zones:

  • 2 lawn zones (with fixed spray heads feeding cool-weather grass on clay loam)
  • 3 drip zones (with emitters feeding shrubs in clay loam).

The drip zones all run around 3h20m each. Multiplying that length by 3 drip zones, then adding 2 lawn zones, Rachio starts it’s Daily Flex on my lawn at 6:15pm, usually before my family even eats dinner! I’m in Northern California, so at 6:15pm, it’s still been over 100 degrees in blazing sun the past couple months when my system starts nightly. This does not seem ideal at all.

I’ve seen the suggestions of setting up different schedule groups or whatever, but you’re right, it takes the ‘smart’ out of the app, especially if only one Daily Flex can use the “end before sunrise” setting. Obviously I don’t know what goes into the code, but it doesn’t seem too hard to calculate a different start time for each day. Sunrise - (sum of zones lengths scheduled for that night) = start time. I’m sure it’s more complicated, but this seems like a pretty good thing to slide up the prioritization list. From searching around, lots of people are having the same issues, and have been having the issues since 2018 (from the post, anyway). It seems pretty wild to make the assumption that all zones are running on every night in the start time calculation.

I really hope this gets fixed sooner than later, but I suppose shiny new features drive income better than algorithm tweaks :slight_smile:

edit: I tweaked my soil settings according to the web soil survey instructions and it dropped my drips down to ~2h instead of over 3h, with a nightly start time of 11pm. This is much more reasonable, but doesn’t solve the underlying issue of it assuming all zones will be watered every night.

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