“April showers bring May flowers” is a timeless adage that marks the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring. The frequent rainfall is a great opportunity to let nature take over the work of your sprinkler system, helping reduce water waste (and the dough you spend). Here are a few ways to conserve water during rainy months with your lawn and irrigation system.
Rain and Freeze Sensor
A rain and freeze sensor is an ideal first step toward sprinkler water conservation. This device detects both rainfall and outside temperature to ensure your sprinkler system is not running when it shouldn’t be. A rain and freeze sensor is typically mounted to a gutter or fence near your sprinkler controller and comes in both wired and wireless options. When conditions are too wet or temperatures drop too low, the sensor detects these conditions and will signal your system to be turned off. This ensures that your plants are not overwatered while conserving water at the same time.
Most major sprinkler part manufacturers produce rain and freeze sensors that can be added to your existing controller. Installation and set-up are relatively straightforward, and regular maintenance is required. This includes replacing the battery when it runs low, and replacing the hygroscopic discs when they wear out.
For the absolute best in sprinkler system water conservation, a smart controller is the way to go. Due to their ‘smart’ functionality that monitors local weather stations’ data via Wi-Fi connectivity, a smart controller adjusts watering in more advanced ways. These advanced features take into account forecasted weather conditions such as rainfall, freezing temperatures, and wind, and adjust your sprinkler system’s watering schedule accordingly. Unlike a rain and freeze sensor, smart controllers don’t simply skip scheduled run times; the controller monitors previous watering schedules (and weather skips) to predict soil moisture saturation and will adjust future watering based on this data. Additionally, because smart controllers monitor weather data, rain skips are far more accurate than traditional rain and freeze sensors that require a physical accumulation of rainfall.
Smart controllers are also app-based, which provides a whole new level of accessibility and control from your cell phone. This advanced accessibility provides you with not only the flexibility of adjusting your watering times from anywhere in the world, but also saves you the time and hassle of manually adjusting your controller and maintaining a physical rain and freeze sensor.
Pro tip: many municipalities around the country require sprinkler systems to have a rain and freeze sensor or smart controller, especially in areas where drought conditions may exist. In some cases, the municipality may also provide a rebate program for these water-conserving devices or even a reduced water bill; check with your local city or township to see if your conservation efforts can save you money!
For additional information and professional installation and service, the licensed experts at Andy’s Sprinkler, Drainage & Lighting are ready to help you with your sprinkler water conservation efforts. Whether you just have a few questions or are interested in purchasing & installing a rain and freeze sensor or smart controller, you can trust the pros at Andy’s!