When (Not) to Water, part 2
Rain, rain, come and stay! Isn't all this rain wonderful? The plants and flowers in my yard are looking fantastic! And everyone's rainbarrels are overflowing! Driving around town, I see plenty of great looking landscapes. The best part is that we haven't had to water our yards for a few weeks now, thanks to Mother Nature. For those of us with automatic sprinkler systems that may forget to turn them off during rain episodes, I highly encourage you to purchase and install a rain sensor. This will help save some water, save a little money, and certainly, save your image by not allowing your sprinklers to water during or just after a nice rainstorm. I know I've seen many properties doing just that (watering while it's raining)--and it drives me nuts!
Rain sensors prevent an irrigation system from turning on during or after a rain event, after a specified amount (you set this on the sensor) of water has fallen into it. It then allows the system to turn back on and run according to its schedule after it's dried out. A sensor doesn't stop the irrigation system from turning on when a rain storm is predicted, though there is technology out there that does just that. That would be a weather station, that receives weather data several times a day to determine if watering is needed on any day or not. One such sensor like this is called idd; all of the major irrigation manufacturers (Rainbird, Hunter, Toro) have weather-based sensors that can be installed and set to water based more on weather conditions, or soil moisture, rather than just a set schedule. This type of watering schedule is better for the landscape and can be modified to work with restrictions on watering days.
Any type of rain sensor is rebated by the City's Water Conservation program, at 75% of the cost of the sensor. Just submit the rebate application after the sensor is installed. And if you haven't yet turned off your irrigation controller, please go do it!
Learn a little more about rain sensors here: