In most DFW cities it is actually against the law if your sprinkler system is found running in the rain. If found guilty, you could be subject to a fine of up to $500. By installing a rain sensor that turns your system off automatically when it is raining you will save yourself an expensive fine and do your part to conserve our most precious natural resource, water. A rain sensor can save up to 30% on outdoor water.
So, "What is a rain sensor?" "What are the benefits of a rain sensor?" and "How do rain sensors work with irrigation timers to promote water conservation?"
A rain sensor is a small device that is wired to the common line on an automatic sprinkler system and is designed to override the automatic watering cycle when a certain level of rainfall is detected. The shut-off level is usually set at 1/4 inch of rain. The sensors do not affect the sprinkler system's overall timing. Once the collection dish dries out, the automatic timer kicks in.
Benefits of Rain Sensors
Rain sensors save valuable dollars by automatically shutting of the sprinkler system when adequate rainfall is received. Thus, you save money on your monthly water bills.
A rain sensor promotes less wear and tear on your sprinkler system because the sprinkler system only runs when necessary.
A rain sensor will actually protect your yard from over-watering.
How rain sensors work with irrigation timers to promote water conservation
Because plants consume more water in the summer than during the spring and fall, the irrigation timers should be programmed accordingly instead of always keeping the sprinkler system on the same timer. This practice will promote good water conservation as well as ensure that your plants being watered at the right time of day by overriding your sprinkler system timers with rain sensors. In addition, if you program your sprinkler system timer to go on early in the morning, you will lose less water due to evaporation than if you were to water during the heat of the day.
For optimal water conservation, it is also necessary to override the irrigation timer of your automatic system, if you receive heavy rainfall the night before your system is programmed to run. If not, you would be pushing up your water bill unnecessarily. If you'd rather not have to bother overriding your system manually in such cases, install a rain sensor on your roof. Rain sensors can be tied into automatic sprinkler systems which shuts them off for you after a rainfall.
If installed correctly, one can assume the obvious benefits of a rain sensor feature as a necessity rather than "just another feature" to their irrigation system. The long-term savings and environmental benefits make a rain sensor a "must have" for all automatic sprinkler system owners.