Winter Watering

I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The winter temperatures often go below freezing at night but are typically above freezing in the daytime. Before purchasing the Rachio controller, I would water my grass and plants periodically during the winter. Not sure what to do with the Rachio since it recommends watering before sunrise, when temperature are usually below freezing. Should I set my smart schedule to water later in the morning or will the smart schedule automatically delay watering until after temperatures warm above freezing? Would appreciate any insight on this.

Before sunrize is best compared to evening (where mold can grow overnight) and daytime (where there is more evaporation), but if your temperatures are below freezing, than it’s clearly best to avoid that.

Prior to any recommendations, does your ground get below freezing as well? I ask because even if you water during the day, the water is likely to freeze at night and burst your irrigation pipes.

To partially answer the question, no, Rachio would not shift the preset time, rather skip the run alltogether. Frankly I’m not even sure if smart schedule would be able to handle the freezing temperatures for part of the day, you may need to run it on set schedule during the winter.

Thanks! The temperatures never gets cold enough to damage the underground irrigation system…has not happened in decades. I have watered when temperatures are below or near freezing and the water froze on the grass. Based on your answer, I will probably stick with my after 11 am start schedule which is typically above freezing but not warmer than typically low 40s.

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I’m far from expert on the subject, I’ve only answered about before sunrize schedule because that’s what I use down here in Florida. There are many more knowlable community members around, who will likely chime in with details, but KISS principle is the best. If you know that at 11am it’s usually good weather to water, use that. No matter how smart, the controller (and underlying software) is designed to fit a general set of requirements (it doesn’t know your area better than you).

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Thanks Gene. You answered the key question for me which is that the system will skip the scheduled watering time instead of delaying it. In that circumstance, it would probably skip far too many if I use the suggested before sunrise schedule. 11 am works fine.

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You’ll want to have the schedule run at least one and a half hours after the temperature goes above the “freeze skip” seeting under weather interlligence. Alternatvly you can disable the freeze skip setting all together for your schedule, but that’s not recommended.

Reason for 90 minute buffer is that weather is checked about one hour prior to runtime and if it’s still below freeze skip temperature, the schedule will be skipped even if one hour from then temperature will be acceptable.

Most likely your 11am setpoint is well within the safe zone where not too many events would be skipped.

Was not aware of that. I think I will just make it, most days. Will have to keep an eye on it and see how often it skips. “Problem” with Albuquerque is that it warms up fast. Temperature can rise more than 5 degrees an hour. Thanks for the added insight.

The other option that I could try is to water at sunset, while temperatures are cooling. Temperatures would probably freeze before the water fully soaked in but perhaps that is ok??