Calculate Your Estimated Savings
Two years ago when I purchased my first Rachio Smart Irrigation controller, it was an investment that I knew would pay off. What I didn’t know was how quickly the savings would add up. Irrigation expense is relatively easy to estimate, and for most, like myself, irrigation could be our most wasteful home expense. When I started looking into upgrading my irrigation controller, I did quite a bit of research and found a number of resources on how to calculate the water usage. My favorite was this work sheet at Severn Trent Services website because it was very straight forward and easy to understand and use. If you want to get really in depth in calculating your usage, http://wateruseitwisely.com/100-ways-to-conserve/landscape-care/principles-of-xeriscape-design/efficient-irrigation/offers even more information about how to calculate.
I decided to create my own worksheet to track my monthly savings that you can view below. If you follow along with the chart, you can see that I tailored it to my typical habits of irrigation usage prior to purchasing and installing the Rachio Irrigation controller. In the past I had an irrigation specialist set up my irrigation annually, and they would have it run in the early morning, four days a week, and for a set amount of time. I have never had a rain sensor installed in my system to stop the irrigation automatically, and a very limited number of times had I manually delayed a watering due to rain. These are all things that you should consider before calculating how much you will really save by installing a “smart” irrigation controller.
As indicated in the chart, the Rachio controller has saved me $243.72 thus far this year. It should be noted that both April and May yielded mild temperatures and greater than typical precipitation. I don’t expect typical savings to be this high every month, but the fact that it has up to this point is quite amazing. This small, easy-to-use device that nearly anyone can install and set up has already paid for itself and then some.
So how does it work?
Rachio uses your local weather reporting, along with algorithms and your initial input to tell your system when to water. Once you have installed your controller, you open up the application and follow the simple set-up instructions. The app asks you questions and provides guidance for how to answer them. What the controller wants to know is what type of soil you have in a zone, how much sun a zone gets, what the slope of the zone is, what kind of watering heads the zone uses, and last, what type of vegetation you are watering. Armed with this information the controller can create an on-the-fly schedule for when it is best to water, and it does this by estimating your soil saturation percentage. This means that not only will the controller not water when it just rained, but based on your lot, it may only water certain zones when it determines that they need it. No more watering the entire yard when only parts may need it.
Oh, You’re a Control Freak?
No worries, if you don’t want to use the Rachio’s “set it and forget it” feature, you don’t have to. The controller gives you the ability to schedule your watering however you want, or even to water manually zone by zone or the whole yard. Additionally, you can view updated graphs of each zone and the current water saturation levels. Let your control freakiness flag fly by doing it from anywhere in the world, from your phone, tablet, or through the website. It even works as a great deterrent by enabling you to turn on the appropriate zone every time the neighbor brings his dog to pee on your beautiful lawn.
The Rachio is a full featured, money saving irrigation controller. One of the greatest things about it is that it can be a simple set up and go, or as advanced as you would like. I myself set it up and kept tabs on it for about 3 weeks before forgetting about it all together. That’s what makes smart products so great, in my opinion. It’s one less thing that I have to worry about, but I know that it is saving me big money and will continue to for years to come.