If you are new to automatic irrigation systems, you may be wondering how controllers—and specifically, smart controllers—are able to determine seasonal increases or decreases in watering times. There are actually several ways in which different controllers make these “judgments.” And where some controllers use just one method, others use a combination of several different methods.
Analyzing the historical and weather use data is one common way a smart controller figures out how much water a particular area requires. While this method doesn’t tell the whole story and is sometimes imperfect, it still works well in most cases and results in significant water savings for users. During times that fall out of the historical norm—for example, the current drought—you need to manually override the automatic settings with the appropriate information.
Another way controllers make their watering determinations is through water and/or weather data they obtain via a remote provider. A smart controller will use an Internet, telephone or radio connection to gather data from a remote provider or, in some cases, a local weather station. The accuracy of the system is dependent upon the actual source of information. You would therefore be wise to ask the provider where the controller is picking up its data.
Some controllers come with their own installable weather stations. This allows them to use actual, real time data to decide how much water and area needs. This method is highly dependent on the quality of the weather station. If it’s good, then you’re in luck; if it isn’t, you could be in a bit of trouble.
Other smart controllers will use moisture sensors to tell them how much moisture is present in the soil. They then use that information to determine irrigation times. While this system can be very accurate, moisture sensors are not known for their reliability over time. You will also have to spend time calibrating and adjusting the sensors when you first get them.
South Austin Irrigation can help you determine the best method to control your landscaping needs. We can also help with controller set-up, maintenance and repair. Don’t leave your watering needs to chance—or to unfamiliar technology: call us for an assessment today.
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