Smart controllers are a key component in smart irrigation systems. Such systems customize watering schedules to a landscape or yard and start your sprinkler system automatically. As much as 50 percent of the nine billion gallons of water Americans spray on their gardens annually goes to waste. The waste occurs as a result of overwatering and from water blowing away in the wind. Part of a smart irrigation system is choosing the right sprinklers to avoid wind waste. For example, drip irrigation is great for gardens and flower beds. Overwatering can be eliminated by using smart watering features to schedule watering times and water at the best possible time of the day. Smart controllers are paramount to achieving the best lawn on the block!

Smart Controllers for Irrigation Systems

Traditional vs Smart Irrigation Controllers

Traditional watering system controllers operate using timers according to a preprogrammed schedule. The biggest benefit of the traditional models is simply the convenience of sprinkler automation. However, smart controllers do so much more.

Smart controllers for irrigation systems can automatically adjust the irrigation schedule in line with weather changes, plant water use, and evaporation. In addition, they also monitor soil conditions. A smart controller caters the irrigation to the environment, wet or dry, cold or hot, by configuring sprinkler type and rates, and soil types. There are a variety of smart irrigation controllers available.

Weather-based smart controllers

Known also as evapotranspiration (ET) controllers, weather-based controllers fine-tune the smart schedule by making use of local weather data. Evapotranspiration is a combination of plant material transpiration and soil surface evaporation. By using local weather information, the irrigation system controller works to alter the irrigation run-time to deliver the appropriate amount of water. There are three basic types of weather-based controllers:

Signal-based Controllers

Signal-based controllers use publically available meteorological data to calculate a grass surface ET value. A wireless connection sends the ET data to the controller for more precise watering.

Historic Controllers

Using historic water usage in a region, historic controllers use a pre-set water use curve, to control irrigation. The system then adjusts to the curve, in accordance with solar radiation factors and temperatures.

On-site Weather Measurement Controllers

This type of irrigation system smart controller calculates continuous evapotranspiration and waters accordingly by making use of weather data gathered on-site.

Soil Moisture Sensor Systems Used With Smart Controllers

Soil moisture sensor-based smart irrigation controllers measure the moisture content of soil by making use of established technology. These sensors are located in the root zone of shrubs, trees, or turf. After determining the soil’s moisture level they send readings to the controller. There are two types of soil moisture sensor-based systems used with a smart controller:

Suspended Cycle Irrigation Systems

These are set in the same way as traditional timer controllers, with a watering schedule, start time, and duration. The system will halt the next scheduled watering when there is sufficient moisture content in the soil.

Water On Demand Irrigation

These systems need no irrigation duration programming. However, they do need to know which days to water on and what time to start. Water on demand irrigation controllers can be set to an upper and lower threshold which will initiate watering when the moisture in the soil falls between the two levels.

Additional Information: WaterSense Labeled Controllers – United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Pioneer Underground Lawn Sprinklers | Omaha’s Best Commercial & Residential Sprinkler Systems

Contact Pioneer Underground Lawn Sprinklers to schedule a free estimate on a system install or to find out what you can do to make your existing system more efficient. We welcome commercial and residential clients. And remember, whether you need our services now… or later in the season, Your Healthy Lawn is Our Passion and we are only a phone call away! Call 402-934-7900 to schedule your service.