When installing an irrigation system it pays to install rain sensors as well. This can help you conserve water and save money in the long run. It also makes sense to add them to already installed automated irrigation systems. Furthermore, freeze sensors and wind sensors can be useful depending on where you live. Rain sensors are one way to protect the health of your lawn by preventing overwatering and lowering the risk of insect and fungal problems.
Are Rain Sensors Worth It?
Automated irrigation systems with sensors have been around now for decades. While the technology has evolved, the principle behind the sensors is still the same. The concept is that the sprinklers should not come on when it is raining or only come on when absolutely necessary.
Generally speaking, rain sensors work by simulating the moisture evaporation rate in the soil. Whether a sensor needs to have rainwater collected in a cup or uses an absorbent disk or wafer, the sensor knows when it is raining and will turn off the sprinkler system. This makes having them definitely worth it if you travel frequently. Of course, if you live in an area that receives very little rainfall, rain sensors would just be extra.
Although to a lesser degree, these types of sensors are also beneficial. Freeze sensors are ideal for climates that don’t have dramatic season changes but do on occasion experience unexpected freezes. There are two main benefits of a freeze sensor.
Firstly, they will allow sprinklers to still operate when temperatures have dropped, but there is no rain. In such climates, there is still a need to irrigate. Conversely, there is a need to prevent irrigation without having to turn off the sprinkler system.
Secondly, freeze sensors are a safety device. They will switch off the system to prevent irrigation runoff at predetermined and set temperatures. Sprinklers operating in freezing conditions cause runoffs which can be exceptionally dangerous when water is streaming and then freezing on sidewalks and roads.
Wind sensors switch off the sprinklers when the wind is blowing at a high speed. These sensors can be useful in several scenarios. Firstly, wind sensors will ensure that windows and buildings aren’t splattered, making them dirty, when the wind blows. Secondly, in the case of water features that push out tall columns of water. A wind sensor will turn off the water feature to make sure that pedestrians don’t get wet. Thirdly, wind sensors ensure that water flows are limited in velocity and flow in fixed amounts according to a schedule. Lastly, wind sensors also help to conserve water by preventing it from being blown away. Therefore, wind sensors installed in public areas help taxpayers.
In some jurisdictions, rain sensors, and even freeze sensors, are a legal requirement. The list includes California, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, as well as New York, Minnesota, and New Jersey. Check out the building codes for your area or state before installing a sprinkler system, or talk with a local sprinkler system company.
Additional Reading: Water-saving strategies for home lawns
Pioneer Underground Lawn Sprinklers | Omaha’s Best Commercial & Residential Sprinkler Systems
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