Smart Controllers automatically adjust watering schedules based on the weather.
Smart controllers can save time and water by automatic schedule adjustments. Most models measure the weather every day and make needed changes, more frequently than homeowners or landscapers have time to do. The models that connect to your home Wi-Fi allow you to have a remote control right on your phone to check your system.
They measure the weather every day using one of the following:
- Onsite sensors
- Weather data from the manufacturer
- From a nearby connected weather station accessed through your Wi-Fi network
- Buried soil moisture sensors
Data points collected may include:
Any of these as long as they do frequency adjustment.
- Controllers that only just adjust run times will not water properly in the winter.
Some smart controllers work from a maximum water need and reduce the run times as the weather cools. These are fine for cooler climates but with the extreme difference between summer and winter water needs they are not a good choice for our desert climate. Make sure your selected model is able to adjust watering frequency (the number of days between watering). For example, a desert adapted shrub needs water weekly in summer but only monthly in winter. Many smart controllers will not adjust in this way, so be sure to check the model's capabilities before purchasing.
They must be programmed correctly.
- They need to be calibrated to your specific landscape and irrigation system
How do I make sure my smart controller is programmed correctly?
- Reference our programming guides for the Rainbird (ESP-SMTe) or Rachio controllers.
- Still need help? Contact us: Schedule a free Water Efficiency Checkup.
The smart controller will work best if accurate information about your yard is input at the beginning. Smart controllers are programmed differently than standard ones. Some ask for information such as the plant types, soil types, and sprinkler types. You also need to know the rate that your irrigation applies the water. You can contact us to set up an appointment where we will come to your house and help you with the programming.
They won’t fix problems with the rest of the system such as:
- Improper sprinkler head layout and spacing
- Incorrect number and placement of drip emitters
- Improper operating pressure
- Leak notification (unless a flow sensor is installed).
The controller only tells the stations when to turn on and off. It cannot fix problems with the rest of the system. We recommend repairing any major issues with your sprinklers or drip before considering a smart controller.
This technology has been used for decades on large scale irrigation systems, such as:
- Large municipal parks
- Golf courses
This technology is now available for any size of home landscape!
The way these controllers work is not new, it’s the way golf courses and other irrigation systems have been operated for decades. This technology is now available for home-sized controllers.
Smart controllers will maximize water savings in these scenarios:
If your original watering schedule was not set optimally (days, minutes, times etc)
If your watering adjustments were not made often enough (at least monthly)
Even if there is not much water savings available for you, smart controllers can still be a great convenience because you don’t have to make the programming adjustments anymore.