The truth is there is no such thing as the right or perfect irrigation controller. No controller will magically save you water. In fact, trusting technology too much may actually cause you to use more water.
As a conservation consultant, my job is to provide coaching on water management. No matter what type of controller you have, knowing how it works and what settings to use is the key to watering efficiently.
There are smart controllers on the market, but if you get a new smart controller, remember you are smarter than it is — and you need to program it. Smart controllers typically have two settings: manual and weather-based (automatically adjusts to current weather conditions).
Be careful with the weather adjustable program settings as they tend toward generous use of water. For example, on warm winter days the controller may conclude your dormant grass needs irrigation and turn the system on. In the summer heat, your controller may conclude irrigation three times a week is necessary. This can quickly add up to a much larger water bill than you anticipate.
There are also smart phone-based controllers with several convenient features such as allowing you to turn off your system remotely whether it starts to rain or you’re walking your yard inspecting your system for leaks. While these are very convenient features, they won’t save you water or money.
As I said early on, there is no such thing as the perfect controller. There is only good programming and diligent water management. That said, irrigation controllers are never, ever something you want to set and forget because irrigation systems put out a lot of water each time they operate. Forgetting them will result in high water bills and a lot of wasted water.
We can help you set your controller for the best results. Just book a free consultation and we’ll review your landscape and irrigation system. (The consultation will also make you eligible for rebates to improve your system.) Call 704-SAVE or email us to book your FREE consultation.
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About our expert
Heather Ginsburg is passionate about helping homeowners and San Antonio save water. She brings experience as a landscape designer and horticultural therapist to each consultation she has with homeowners in her role as a conservation consultant for SAWS. Heather is an idealist and believes every homeowner can have beautiful low water-use gardens and functional outdoor spaces to interact with nature in a positive, life-enriching way. Heather is an urban farmer who works hard to teach her children to tread lighter on the earth.
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