Letter: No more 'dumb' irrigation timers
Mar 06, 2014 | 1584 views | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print

It's time to replace your dumb irrigation timer with a smart one! Smart irrigation timers have been around for more then 10 years, but were expensive and tailored for golf courses and big agriculture. Models are now made for the home, are easier to use and cost significantly less. A smart irrigation timer will save water and protect your plants by automatically adjusting the amount of water your landscaping receives depended on the weather.

In general a dumb timer is set up to provide the amount of water needed by your plants during the hottest time of the year, typically August. This means that the rest of the year the plants are getting more water than they need. A smart irrigation timer will increase the irrigation times if the weather is hotter and dryer that usual and decrease if it is colder than usual and turns itself off if it rains. Some also use years of historical data for your ZIP code to adjust the irrigation along with rain and temperature sensors. This allows the timer to optimally water plants year round without the need to constantly reprogram the timer throughout the year. The newer timers are much easier to program with better displays then old timers.

Be sure to check with your local water utility to see if they offer any rebates on smart timers as they might qualify. My water utility offered a rebate that came pretty close to covering the unit’s cost. The rebate with water savings paid for the timer within the year.

I convinced Scarborough Lumber and Building Supply in Scotts Valley to bring some of these in. I told them I would change their old controller to the new one for them and any of their customers for a small fee, though I think anyone could do it. It is that easy.

Thanks to Jan Nelson, the Mountain Gardener, for supporting my Smart Irrigation Crusade.

Robby Frank, Scotts Valley

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