You install a sprinkler system to have peace of mind that your lawn and gardens receive just the right amount of water, especially during hot summer months whether you are at home or not. In the words, your, #1 criteria is a reliable sprinkler system. What does “reliable sprinkler” actually mean? Here are the details you need to know:
Is a smart sprinkler system better than the old manually controlled system? If so, how so? What are the main criteria to select sprinkler controllers by?
While there are differences in the quality of drip lines, sprinkler heads, and system valves, the main feature to get right is the sprinkler system controller since it is the way you (1) set up zones and (2) operate the entire system throughout the season.
He felt bhyve provided him a reliable sprinkler system over the last four years, so he recently upgraded to their new smart sprinkler controller. This kind of test over time is certainly a well-earned endorsement! We should all pay attention to this kind of proven testimonial.
Steve likes the fact that his smart irrigation controller allows him to label his zones for better identification. He loves the fact that he can control his system directly from his phone. Yes, not having to stand in a basement or outside is a huge advantage. It is one detail you may not think about in your search for a reliable sprinkler.
Weather forecasting built into the smart controller is another advantage Steve describes. Oh yes, we have all seen sprinklers running in the midst of rain. In other words, a smart reliable sprinkler controller should also provide the best weather forecast for watering when needed and water conservation / no watering when Mother Nature provides it.
Sabine H. Schoenberg, host of SabinesNewHouse is also a big fan of smart and reliable sprinkler controllers. Among her initial selection criteria is
(1) Number Of Zones For a Reliable Sprinkler
Most units on the market today provide only 8 zones. While controllers can be twinned, in reality, it is much more manageable to operate your system with one single controller.
Sabine points out that larger properties have much different light, soil, and slope conditions for both lawn and plantings compared to smaller, more uniform landscapes. In other words, zones need to be planned on nature’s conditions, not man-made system configurations. Invariably, this means more zones on larger properties. The good news is that having many zones means that water consumption can then be fine-tuned based on light and soil conditions. Example: A shady area should not receive as much water as a sunny section. This is a real help in water conservation.
(2) Weather Forecasting
Reliable sprinkler controllers with weather forecasting are as good as the weather station they connect to. Sabine points out that some smart irrigation controllers she tested/ installed over the years connected to less accurate weather stations in her area. By contrast, Rainmachine connects to one which has proven to be the most reliable weather station in her area.
(3) Building Code – Master Valve Shut Off
Know that one of the zones in the system goes to a Master Valve. This valve is a really good thing since it shuts down the entire irrigation system in case of problems. So, configure your system to the number stated on the controller minus one.
(4) Reliable Sprinkler = Good Service Department
In the world of smart devices, you sometimes have to go through a reset procedure. Having a good, a.k.a. available and patient support staff from your controller company is key. It means everyone can have a smart irrigation controller without being a smart tech-savvy homeowner. Mrs. Schoenberg provides this from her experience:
Rainmachine identified that the irrigation controller was not working as it had been hit by lightning. Indeed there had been a lightning storm in the area. Even better, since the event occurred in the first year of operation, Rainmachine replaced it with a new one free-of-charge. Talk about a reliable sprinkler company.
(5) Monitoring System Performance
Since the water usage is available to you on your phone you can discover pretty quickly when there is a defect in the system. Once you have a baseline on each zone, you will know something is not quite right in a given zone. This happens more than you might think. Schoenberg describes that in hot months squirrels love to knack into drip lines to get to the water on her property. When this occurs the water usage in that zone will shoot up. In other words, you don’t have to wait for stress to show in your plants. Without a smart irrigation controller, it might be months of wasted water before you discover the break. AND, of course, you can do all of this remotely. Simply call in your installer from wherever you are.
Smart irrigation controllers are a tool every gardener and homeowner will want to have. A reliable sprinkler is a good example of how today’s technology provides measurable, eco-friendly solutions for handling Mother Earth’s precious resources, like water.
Steve and Sabine are here to encourage everyone to find the right reliable sprinkler controller for their 2021 gardening season. You will never return to the old, “dumb” versions – guaranteed!