Auto Sprinkler System for Uniform Watering
Keeping your lawn or garden looking beautiful is not only about creating great curb appeal for your home, but it is also an important part of making sure you have a yard that you can enjoy. Uniform watering is vital to the success of these efforts and has the added side benefit of supporting the foundation in expansive soil regions. Uniform watering is best accomplished with an automatically controlled sprinkler system. This said, many automated sprinkler systems provide excellent watering to your plants and lawn, but have the drawback of watering your yard regardless of the weather. While you can set a timer on your sprinkler system to activate it during the times of day that you want the lawn to be watered, it does so whether it has rained or even when it is raining. This is why many states and municipalities are beginning to require rain sensors on new sprinkler system installations.
Sprinklers Can Take a Raincheck Thru Rain Sensors
A rain sensor does pretty much what it sounds like it might do. It detects rain fall and signals the automatic sprinkler controller to skip scheduled cycles if it is wet. Most sensor are adjustable so that you can set a depth of rain at which it will start skipping scheduled sprinkler cycles. This is not only going to help your lawn and garden remain free of overwatering and provide it with a consistent watering for better growth, but it also means that you are going to save a great deal on your water bill. Running the water when it is unnecessary can be extremely costly and can be avoided by using a rain sensor for your sprinkler system.
Rain Sensors: Cost Vs. Savings
While there is clearly a price associated with the purchase and installation of a rains sensor for your sprinkler system, the offset is defiantly in your favor. The savings you find with the unit can provide you with repayment of your investment in one season. The only other drawback with this type of system is the installation. It isn’t so much the actual installation as it is determining the proper location for the installation outside of your home. You need to make sure you put it where it will do the most good and get the best reading from the water accumulation. Once you have installed it in the right place you will find that there is nothing left to do except let it do its job.
The rain sensor will help you to save money on the amount of water that you are using, allow you to save water that you use making it environmentally conscious and provide your sprinkler system with the break that it needs to last a long time. Over time your sprinkler system might need repair or replacement if it is used every day. There is no reason that it needs to run on a day or week when you get ample rain water to the plants and lawn. This is a good way to make sure that you are sprinkler system lasts as long as possible and doesn’t suffer damages from overuse.
How Does a Rain Sensor Work?
A rain sensor works by placing an electrical connection between the sensor and the sprinkler system controller. When this connection is broken it deactivates the sprinkler from working that day. There are a few types of rain sensors to choose from and they each have their pros and cons. One type of rain sensor uses the weight of the water that has been collected in an attached cup to determine whether or not to break the electrical connection it has with the sprinkler system or not. The difficulty with this type of rain sensor is that objects other than rain can cause changes to the device and break the connection. If objects such as sticks and leaves get into the cup used for measuring it can change the weight in the cup and the reaction of the sensor, making it believe that rain water is there.
Another type of water sensor uses electrodes in detecting the amount of water collected in the cup. Much like the type that uses weight, a change in the cup can set off the sensors and make the device believe that there is more rain water in the cup than there really is and therefore shutting down the sprinkler system for the day. This means that the system may need to be checked periodically and debris removed from the collection cup to ensure that it is working properly and getting true readings.
Yet another option, and perhaps the most popular, is a rain sensor that uses an expansion disk to collect the rainfall information. This type of device uses cork disks that expand when they become wet. The expansion triggers the sensor to shut down the sprinkler system for the day. The disks can be adjusted based on the amount of water that the user wants to trigger the system off. Its adjustments can be made in increments of 1/4″ and is often set at a level of 1/2″ as the shut off point for the sprinkler system.
How Much Does a Rain Sensor Cost?
The price of a rain sensor can vary depending on the type of sensor that you purchase and the quality of the product. The range runs from $35 to $100 and usually includes some type of warranty. If you purchase the sensor online you will also need to consider a shipping cost. If you are having your sprinkler system installed when you are considering the rain sensor, you might want to talk to the professional installer about getting this installed at the same time and what the price might be. They may be able to give you a break on the price and they might throw in the installation as a part of your installation package saving you some time and money.
Installing a Rain Sensor
If you choose to purchase the rain sensor and then install it yourself, you will want to make sure that the device you purchase comes with excellent instructions. The process is not difficult, but placement is essential. The most important thing to remember is that you want to install it in an area that does not have trees over it or under the overhang of your home. It needs to be rained on in order to get a proper reading from the precipitation. You also want to try to place the device close to the sprinkler system controls and ear wiring if it is an electrical unit. Tae the time to make sure you choose the right spot first and foremost.
You will want to make sure that when you choose the location that you connect the two sensor wires to the two terminals and that you connect the wires to the control box of the sprinkler device. If you want a wireless device you might consider an FM device, which are growing in popularity. Remember that this will increase your budget requirements and might be something that you need to consider first, but it could be worth the time and effort that it takes for installation.
You want to make sure you select a unit that will give you consistency and that requires little or no maintenance over the coming years. There is much to be said for saving money with your sprinkler system automation. Be sure that you get the right one for your situation and that you find one that has easy installation. There should only be a couple of wires to connect and you will be off and running.