One of the great advantages of a lawn sprinkler system is the automated convenience it provides. You can program the timer to water your lawn and landscape on any schedule desired. When Mother Nature is stingy with the rain, your sprinkler system will cover the deficit. And the ‘rainfall’ will be automatic, conforming to the schedule you programmed into your timer.
But what about the times when rainfall is abundant? We’ve all seen instances of an automated system merrily sprinkling away in the midst of a driving rain – the ‘purchased’ water mingling with the free water as it rushes down the storm gutter.
Will you suffer that embarrassment? Not if you utilize an anti-embarrassment tool known as an automatic rain sensor.
A Sensible Sensor
An automatic rain sensor is one of those common-sense tools that every automated sprinkler system should incorporate. In some states, in fact, it’s a violation of state law not to have a rain sensor or some other form of automatic shut-off device.
But whether it’s optional or mandatory, a rain sensor is ultimately sensible. In addition to preventing the embarrassment of having your sprinklers running during a monsoon, a rain sensor will obviously prevent the waste of water – a waste that can be ill afforded in many regions.
On a personal level, preventing the over watering of your landscape benefits both your lawn and your wallet. Over watering of your landscape could lead to increased disease problems with your foliage. And the negative impact to your wallet of buying water and immediately flushing it down the storm drains is obvious. In fact, research published by the University of Florida has shown that a rain sensor can pay for itself in less than a year just by eliminating the waste of water.
Simple in Concept
Most rain sensors operate by measuring either the weight of water collected, or the electrical conductivity of water collected. Once enough water has accumulated in the collection device to trigger the shut-off, the system remains off until a sufficient amount of water has evaporated from the collection device (or until water has been physically emptied from the device).
Rain sensors are adjustable, so you can set them to trigger off for any given amount of water collected (usually in increments no smaller than 1/8″). They’re quite reliable, but they do need to be checked periodically for issues such as debris in the collection cup or low batteries.
Moody Mother Nature…
Mother Nature can be a very fickle gal. Sometimes she shares freely of her bounty; at other times she’s stingier than a penny-pinching miser. But if you have an automated sprinkler system with a rain sensor, you’re well equipped to deal with all of her moods.