This is What Happened with my Rachio WiFi Controller Test
If you want to know does it work and do we like it, the Rachio Wifi Controller trial season was a success.
The Rachio WiFi controller is rich with features that work well and the support staff at Rachio is excellent responding to questions through email or a phone call within a couple hours. If you are more comfortable using a smartphone than your irrigation controller, this system will simplify your irrigation needs. If you get lost on your smartphone, you could easily get lost using a WiFi irrigation controller as well.Does it work - do we like it, Rachio WiFi Controller trial season was a success. Click To Tweet
What happened is cool!
While walking around my yard if I see a dry area I can instantly turn on the WiFi controller remotely from my iPhone. For instance, Saturday, I was walking around my yard and it has been very dry for weeks when I noticed that one of the Astilbe needed more water. I took my phone out of my pocket and instantly turned on that zone to water the plants in that area using the free Rachio App.
Ultimate Zoning Set Up That Will Make You Happy
The Rachio WiFi Controller made it simple to set up a watering schedule for our landscape. It walks you through a series of questions and creates the schedule for you, assigning the amount of time to run each zone. You can easily separate certain areas of your yard for watering more often than other areas by having a group of zones assigned on one program and another group on another program. For example, your perennials may be watered every other day and your lawn areas watered every three days. Traditional controllers can do this also, but Rachio makes it easier to set up and also easier to make changes.
When you see the Water Savings
Originally, I scheduled my front yard to water as needed and Rachio had it watering less often, but deeper, so that it would water longer, but just less often to conserve water and this was working really well for the summer months. When the weather got dryer, (Birmingham, Alabama is in a drought,) I wanted to change the water schedule to every three days. The Rachio Wifi Controller allowed me to keep the original program, but I just disabled it and simply created a new program for every three days for the front lawn. When I wanted to change it back to the original program, it was a simple matter of swiping “enable” or “disable” for the two programs, so I can even alternate between the two.
Tested with the Hunter Wireless Rain Sensor
Rachio automatically adjusts the schedule based on seasonal changes and colder temperatures using historical data. This is a function, which has the option to be enabled or disabled.
The first half of May this year in Birmingham, Alabama was very wet and even though I had my Rachio WiFi Controller online and active, it consistently skipped watering and saved thousands of gallons of water. I use Rachio in conjunction with my Hunter Rain Sensor, which prevents my system from starting during rain. Even on a dry day, the controller skipped watering, because there was a lot of rain in the forecast, which it detected, because of the ability to pick the weather station that is closest to you and use that information in the scheduling of your irrigation.
One Thing You May Not Like
The Rachio controller is mounted in the garage. It does not have a screen for programming like you’re used to seeing on your Rain Bird or Hunter Controllers. In 2017 we tested the newly launched Rain Bird Wifi Sprinkler Controller and compared it to Rachio. The Rain Bird Wifi controller does have controls on the mounted unit, making it programable straight from the panel. Rachio has two buttons that you can run through a program manually if needed. As long as there is a good Wifi signal from your home router to the location of your existing controller then the Rachio controller should consistently be online and functioning properly.
Over the past several months that I’ve been using the system, it dropped off line once and I contacted Rachio and they instantly responded and told me they were rebooting their system and it would be back online shortly, which it was. There was no loss of the programs during that short temporary outage.
Rachio Wifi Controller Technology Works with Amazon Echo
Another thing that I love about the Rachio WiFi controller is the ability to program it from anywhere that I have a WiFi or cell phone connection thus giving me the ability to turn it on or off or reprogram it anywhere, anytime. It easily integrated with Amazon Echo allowing my family to verbally control the irrigation system. Now in our house you might hear, “Alexa, tell Rachio to water Zone 2 for three minutes.” The yard guy shows up on an unexpected day, “Alexa, tell Rachio to stop watering,” and immediately the system stops watering. Those commands do not change the programming.
“Smart Cycle” is Better Than “Cycle and Soak”
Before having the Rachio WiFi Controller run the “Smart Cycle,” after our sprinkler system ran it was difficult to walk around on the wet lawn to visit the flowers and ferns. With Smart Cycle, you can walk around the yard immediately after it has watered and not feel like you’re sinking into the turf or your shoes are getting muddy. The reason it works, is because it breaks up a watering cycle into three cycles, allowing maximum penetration of the water to the roots and vastly decreases runoff, another amazing water saving feature. Traditional controllers have similar programs such as “Cycle and Soak,” but they are harder to program and many customers do not use it.
Successful, but Not Perfect
The Rachio weather features are excellent, but as with any system, not perfect. The closest weather station to my house is located at the Birmingham Airport. It could not be raining at the Birmingham Airport, but pouring rain at my house and I would want the sprinkler system to turn off. I have a Hunter Wireless Rain Sensor installed on the Rachio system and it works beautifully to prevent my system from starting during or right after a rain event. Rachio works great with the Hunter Rain Sensor and even sends a text to my Smartphone to let me know when the rain sensor activated, what time it activated, and another message letting me know the time that it deactivated.
Why The Hunter Rain Sensor is Better with the Rachio WiFi Controller
Knowing that it deactivated is important to know, because it gives me a comfort level knowing that the controller will resume watering as normal. What if your fertilizer guy treated your lawn a day or two after it rained? You would want to know that your rain sensor had deactivated to be sure to water the fertilizer into your lawn. I’ve always used the Hunter Wireless Rain Sensor, but before I installed the Rachio controller, I never knew exactly when it activated or deactivated particularly if I was not at home, so there is a comfort level of being truly connected to your sprinkler system no matter where you are at work on vacation or just running some errands around town.
Tested Superior Even in The Most Dry Conditions
After testing the Rachio WiFi Controller system for a full growing season, spring, summer and fall, including the two-month and counting drought, I am now offering them to our irrigation repair, maintenance and renovation customers.
With Rachio, you control your sprinkler system on your terms from your smartphone. It’s that easy.