In general it’s difficult to motivate people to be passionate about landscape irrigation. However, there is one event — when the sprinklers come on and it’s raining — that really gets people going. Adding a rain sensor to your current irrigation system might be the most sensible thing you can do to conserve water. It can save water, money, and more importantly, keep your neighbors calm.
Due to increased focus on water conserving products, manufacturers have created several new irrigation solutions to help your system reach peak performance for a surprisingly minimal investment. Most rain sensors can be purchased for less than $100 and you need one sensor per controller. These new products will help you save money, improve landscape health, and contribute to the betterment of the local environment. Rain sensors have been around for years, but recent gains in technology have created a wireless rain sensor allowing you to place your sensor in an optimal location to detect rain.
Rain sensors can be mounted anywhere — on gutters, posts, walls or conduit. The rain sensor communicates with your system’s controller and is designed to override the cycle program, stopping the system during rainfall, and keeping it off for a while after rain has fallen. Irrigation will resume once the sensor dries out. Location of your sensor is critical because mounting the sensor in a sunny southern location can cause the sensor to dry out quickly. Conversely, mounting in a shady northern exposure will cause the controller to stay off longer. Stay away from extremes when determining a mounting location.
Hunter makes a wireless rain sensor called Rain Clik. Rain Clik has a unique Quick Response™ feature, which can command a controller to shut off immediately — not after a quarter or a half-inch — but right when it starts to rain. Derres Catalano, Product Manager at Hunter Industries recently told me, “Rain sensors save money and reduce water waste by eliminating irrigation during rain events. They also protect turf and plants from overwatering, and allow the user to avoid fines and/or take advantage of local rebates offered by their water authority.” Check local laws.
Rain sensors can be purchased anywhere irrigation products are sold, or – better yet – can be won on this blog. They can be installed by the do-it-yourselfer or irrigation professional and will save water, money and, in some cases, improve relations with your neighbors.