One of my personal pet peeves is hearing or seeing sprinklers go off during a rainstorm. It seems like such a waste both environmentally and financially. It is also potentially harmful to the plants since the extra water can lead to root suffocation or fungal problems. If you don’t want to run outside to manually turn off the sprinklers each time it rains, a rain sensor may work very well for you.
A rain sensor is mounted somewhere on or near your house (such as a fence or gutter) and can be either hard wired or wireless depending on the type and how much your budget allows. Many use a part called a hygroscopic disc to collect any rain that happens to fall during the day. These discs are designed to expand when water hits them. When they reach a certain size, they flip a switch. The system sends a message that overrides the sprinkler system and causes it to stop watering or not turn on at its normally scheduled time.
You do not need to worry about resetting your sprinkler system after the rain sensor is triggered. They are designed to dry out once the moisture stops and then your regularly scheduled sessions will continue as normal unless rainfall is again detected.
An additional feature found on some of these rain sensors is the ability to stop the system if freezing weather sets in before you have winterized your system for the year. If the pipes are full of water when the weather gets too cold, they can burst. Installing one of these types of sensors can stop this from happening.
If you are interested in adding a rain sensor to your current irrigation system, give us a call. We would be happy to help you choose the right one for your landscape.
Image by IngaMun under a Flickr Creative Commons Attribution License