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Irrigation Controllers: Smart or Not, They Need Attention


The common misconception of lawn irrigation systems, particularly in the Midwest, is that we can simply ‘set it and forget it.’ However, summer rains and fluctuating temperatures dictate different settings for an irrigation controller — from the mild, wet climates of spring to the warm, dry summer months and back to the cool and dry fall season. Irrigation design is much more than a simple water hose and your irrigation controllers need monitoring throughout the watering season.

Irrigation Controller Adjustments Ryan Lawn & Tree

A Ryan Lawn & Tree Irrigation Pro adjusts a sprinkler head during an inspection of a customer’s lawn irrigation system.

Why You Should Adjust Your Controller

Generally, when an irrigation system is installed and/or activated in the spring, the programming is set up to reflect the lower temperatures and increased rainfall amounts typically experienced during the growing season. The problem with that is that as we transition to the heat and dryness of summer, often the irrigation system is overlooked, and the controller is not adjusted to meet the higher watering demands of the summer months. 

A standard irrigation controller relies completely on the programming entered at the beginning of the season to determine the watering frequency and duration for each specific zone on the lawn irrigation systems. If outfitted with a rain sensor, these same controllers can skip a watering cycle as needed, based on the amount of water received at that location. However, they do not automatically adjust themselves based on the change in seasons. 

Smart Irrigation Systems Can Conserve Water

There have been some wonderful advancements in the irrigation industry, specifically targeted at controllers. These new “smart irrigation system controllers are one of the most popular irrigation system upgrades due to their many features that help a homeowner stay on top of their irrigation settings and needs. Smart controllers take into account temperature, rainfall, wind speed, soil type, exposure and slope to help determine the proper run time for the existing conditions and whether a scheduled run time needs to be lengthened, shortened or skipped altogether. 

Another issue that needs to be addressed is how much water you need to be putting down each week. Typically, a sprinkler system is divided into zones and each zone requires a different amount of water, based on the plant material that is in that zone. Smart controllers can have the ability to adjust the watering cycles and run times automatically with Wi-Fi signals, while standard controllers need to be adjusted manually to match the season and local weather conditions that are expected as well as the differing water requirements of the vegetation found on the property. This can be considerable savings on your water bill.

Converting to Smart Controllers Is Easy

A primary concern about smart controllers is how hard it is to convert over from a standard controller to a new smart system. Typically, the irrigation system installation to replace an older-style controller with a smart controller can be completed in about an hour. Besides the automatic adjustment features, the smart controller allows you to operate your lawn irrigation systems from either your phone or a tablet from virtually anywhere, so long as you have internet to your house. And, if you grant electronic access to your smart controller, repairs or adjustments to your system can be made without you having to be there to provide physical access to your controller. Granting electronic access to your smart controller does not give anyone access to any of your personal information or electronic data. 

Hire A Pro To Adjust Your Lawn Irrigation Controller

Having a professional adjust your system leading into a new season not only adjusts the system to run according to the different watering requirements of your property, but it also gets eyes on your system, making sure your system is operating at peak efficiency to help decrease water usage and save money. Often, because an irrigation system is almost entirely underground, routine maintenance and repairs are overlooked or postponed. Undiagnosed or simply ignored, a system may not perform at peak efficiency and the summer months seem to magnify any issues you may have, resulting in less than spectacular turf or landscape displays. This decline in your irrigated areas can often lead to misdiagnosed issues with plant material, when in fact it is a problem with an underperforming home irrigation system. 

Having an irrigation professional inspect your system in the summer season will help you maintain the health and vigor of your landscaping and turf areas throughout the long hot summer season. You will find that the minimal cost of a summer inspection will enhance the quality of your lawn and landscape, as well as give you a healthy dose of peace of mind throughout the long hot season.

Let Ryan Lawn & Tree Guide Your Irrigation System Needs!

When you need help adjusting your lawn irrigation controller, you can count on the irrigation Pros and Ryan Lawn & Tree. We handle evaluation, design and hands-on, professional installation of your new sprinkler system from our Midwest locations in Kansas City, Wichita, Tulsa, and Springfield. Want to learn more? Give us a call at 855.216.2293 today for a no-cost consultation or download our free guide to choosing the right irrigation system for your lawn! We’ll help your lawn look beautiful and green all season long!