Well we certainly have had a lot of rain in Middlesex County NJ the past week.
Those rainy days remind me of the importance of a rain sensor on any lawn sprinkler system. It has been a law in New Jersey since the year 2000, that all new lawn sprinkler systems have a rain sensor installed. This law hasn’t been heavily enforced which is why we see a lot of systems with either no rain sensor or one that doesn’t work.
Have you ever driven down a street and seen a lawn sprinkler system running while it is raining? I know I have! A rain sensor automatically shuts off the system when a certain amount of rainfall has accumulated, depending on how the sensor is set, usually for anywhere between 1/4″ – 3/4″ of rain. The sensors continue to suspend watering until the sensor has dried out. Depending on the amount of rainfall and the setting, your lawn sprinkler could be off from just 1 day to 3 or more.
A rain sensor can be beneficial for systems using a metered water source (which is most) where you pay for every gallon of water used. You could easily save hundreds per year with a properly working rain sensor and a properly maintained lawn sprinkler.
Even if your system is connected to a well and a pump, you can still benefit from a rain sensor. An over-watered lawn may be just as problematic as an under-watered one. Not to mention you should conserve the water table i your well as much as possible. Yes it is renewable from rainfall, but lawn sprinkler systems often pump out more water than can be replenished- especially during a drought. So doesn’t it make sense to conserve as much as possible?
Installing a rain sensor isn’t difficult with today’s modern controllers. Most controllers today have a sensor hookup that is easily labeled. The adjustable settings are also easy and self-explanatory.
To sum it all up…if you don’t have a rain sensor, GET ONE!!! If you have a rain sensor, test it to make sure i is working properly. There are a couple of ways to test, the easiest is to watch and see if your lawn sprinkler system goes on when it is raining or right after a moderate or heavy rainfall.