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by Monica Williamson on November 29th, 2019

Now that we are well into the Fall season many of us are either spending money on having our yards cleaned up, or doing it ourselves. Raking leaves, gathering pine needles, pine cones, and getting those gutters cleaned out are pertinent to preparing for the winter season. If you have an irrigation system, you also know that it should be winterized, especially if you live in an area like Central Oregon that experiences freezing temperatures. Although irrigation is not something we typically think about in the winter, it may be something to consider upgrading. Specifically, upgrading your irrigation controller to a more efficient, smart controller can save you time and money. This makes it one of the more practical purchases for your home. Read on for additional advantages of switching to a wifi-enabled, smart irrigation controller.

1. Smart Irrigation Timers Are Great For Diagnosing Issues

Irrigation systems are a mystery to most of us. Generally, irrigation lines are out of sight, making it difficult to diagnose a leak or break in the system without a professional. Installation of a smart controller can remedy this. Rain Bird’s ESP-TM2 Series Indoor/Outdoor Sprinkler Timers helps you to better understand your irrigation system.
The user-friendly interface will display any issues your system may be experiencing. When combined with the handy Rain Bird mobile app, you’ll always be in control; if there is danger of freezing temps or more seriously, a short in the system, you’ll be notified. Furthermore, if you do wind up needing a technician, Rain Bird displays useful information your technician will need to get your system up and running again.


2. Smart Irrigation Controllers Can Save You Money

While the cost of installing a new Rain Bird or other smart controller may seem daunting, the savings alone will more than pay for your new investment. 

On average, homeowners save 30% more water that would otherwise be wasted due to overwatering.* Rain Bird uses “Automatic Seasonal Adjust” when determining your landscape’s watering needs. This setting takes three things into consideration: the average historical weather data for the current month, what the weather was yesterday, and what the weather is supposed to be tomorrow. No more wondering if your system is actually watering your lawn, or worse—watering your lawn while it’s raining. All that water savings can equate to big money saving for you!


3. Rain Bird’s Smart WiFi Controller Puts The Power In Your Hands

Your smart controller is made to work with other smart technology. If you have a smart speaker like Google Home or Amazon Alexa, you can use these devices to control your sprinklers, this includes both zone-specific areas or the entire system. You can say things like “Alexa, water my backyard for 15 minutes, or “ Ok, Google, stop Rain Bird.”

Along with being able to control your smart irrigation system via smart technology in your home, Rain Bird has a new mobile app that makes dialing in your sprinkler system a snap. Not only can you toggle notifications on and off, the mobile app allows your phone or tablet to work as a remote control. You can operate your system from anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection. This allows you to increase and decrease run times based on weather, view your watering schedule, and water manually. You can also add or remove programs, stations or entire systems.

If you’d like more information about the installation of a smart controller, or simply have questions, we can help! We’re professionals that have more than 15 years of combined irrigation experience in Central Oregon. Call us at 541-362-1389 or visit us on the web at http://www.everistirrigation.com/.

For more information on Rain Bird’s smart controllers, accessories and technology, visit https://www.rainbird.com/. 



Sources:
*http://wifi.rainbird.com/articles/how-does-automatic-seasonal-adjust-work/

by Jerry Everist on November 12th, 2019

Every year we get that early cold snap that has many people worried that their systems are going to break and spill water everywhere.  The temperatures dip into the 20's or 10's at night or you see your lawn covered in ice when you wake up. Here a couple of pre-winterizing techniques to keep your system for freezing.
  • Step #1:  Do nothing.
    • The ground is a great insulator for your irrigation system.  While the air above is cold, the ground is nice and warm.  The ground will take a long time to freeze and this usually happens in late Winter when we never reach above freezing temperatures.
  • Step #2: Adjust your start times
    • During the summer we water early due to potential evaporation issues and water window restrictions from your water district.  With colder temperatures it is recommended that you push your start times to later in the morning to minimize any freezing hazards (ie. frozen walkways and sidewalks).  
  • Step #3: Cover exposed irrigation
    • Many homes have irrigation hose faucets or irrigation heads that are on risers to reach over the shrubbery or other obstacles.  These need to be covered or wrapped with an insulator of some sort to keep the cold air off of them.  Remember, they aren't buried in the ground.  
    • Drip is very resilient in withstanding the cold if it is on the surface because of how pliable the material is.  So Drip freezing for short periods typically doesn't cause much damage.
  • Step #4: Make sure valve box are covered with lids
    • In order to keep the warm earth air in our boxes, we need to keep those lids on.  The worst thing you can do is open a valve box during the winter and release the warm air.  Insulation is also great. but only necessary in the backflow box (the big metal thingy in the ground).  Putting a layer of insulation on top of your backflow is all that should be needed assuming your box is completely buried (remember warm ground).  
Now you know what to do in the event that your system hasn't been winterized before your sprinklers have been shut down. 





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