Has your rain sensor been checked lately? Does your lawn sprinkler even have one? Did you know that since 2000 the state of New Jersey has made it mandatory that all sprinkler systems installed since that year have a rain sensor installed?

If you didn’t already know this, a rain sensor is a small piece of equipment that hooks up to your lawn sprinkler and will shut down your sprinkler system if there is adequate rainfall. Usually they are set at 1/8 – 3/4″ of rainfall.

The way the rain sensor works is by a small cardboard like disc that swells when it becomes wet. When it swells out, it puts a brek in the common or negative wires in the system, which does not allow the valves to open. Thus saving your lawn from over-watering and conserves water.

Even though this law has been in effect for 15 years now, there are still many sprinkler systems that either do not have a rain sensor or if they do, it isn’t functioning properly. This law is not heavily enforced (Shocking I know in NJ) and there are even areas where you may be able to get away with not installing one, however this doesn’t mean you should ignore the law.

Although beneficial in saving water while not allowing over-watering, some lawn sprinkler professionals feel they are a hassle. I tend to agree that yes they can be, especially when a customer calls and doesn’t realize that the rain sensor is activated. The most common call I receive is ” My system hasn’t gone on at the scheduled time and it hasn’t rained in a couple of days”, this is due to the fact that the disc is set to dry at the same time as the soil, therefore until it has dried, you will not be able to water, no matter what you try.

Overall, Elite highly recommends the use of a rain sensor, especially when using metered water as this can save you money during the season as well as keep your lawn from being over-watered. Over-watering can cause fungus, yellowing of the grass and just plain damage the health of the green lush lawn you work so hard to achieve.