What is a smart irrigation controller?
A smart irrigation controller automatically adjusts watering based on local weather conditions. For example when it rains the smart irrigation controller will reduce or turn off your irrigation to save you water.
It works by automatically turning your watering up and down according to weather triggers you input into the controller. This is great for saving water and, if you input the right triggers, should also make your garden even healthier. It's important to keep an eye on your garden, adjusting the triggers if your garden is looking thirsty or waterlogged.
Smart irrigation controllers include an online portal that you can access on your computer or via an app on your smart phone or tablet, allowing you to easily adjust your irrigation from anywhere in the world! Some smart irrigation controllers also include flow meters and other smart technology that will alert you of any leaks in your irrigation system.
There are varying levels of 'smartness' in smart irrigation controllers that you should be aware of when switching to or setting up a smart irrigation system. Talk to your preferred irrigation professional for up to date advice.
A smart irrigation controller reads online weather data and responds via pre-set weather triggers. These triggers are set by yourself or a local irrigation expert via a web portal or app. Here are a couple of example triggers:
- Turn off irrigation when it rains over 10mm
- Decrease irrigation by 50% when it rains over 5mm
- Increase irrigation if forecast temperature is over 35 degrees
- Suspend watering if wind speeds over 50km/hr are forecast
What are the benefits of a smart irrigation controller?
As we all become busier in our daily lives, technology such as smart controllers can help intelligently automate what can sometimes be a confusing and complicated task. Rather than adjusting our irrigation on a weekly, fortnightly, bi-annual or just annual basis, smart controllers will automatically adjust every day based on localised weather information (primarily rainfall, temperature, wind and evaporation). This will reduce water use by at least 20% which will save you money!
Whilst it is easy to see the effects of under-watering, it is often not so easy to see the effects of over-watering. Yet the negative effects can be just as detrimental to your garden with shallow rooted plants and the continual run-off means wasted water and nutrients down the drain.
Another benefit is the easy and accessible app or web portal function that can be accessed via a tablet, smartphone or computer from anywhere in the world!
Smart controllers have additional capabilities such as flow monitoring, zone shutdown and email/SMS alerts for leaks and broken pipes (great for those night time irrigation faults that can go unnoticed). There are also faulty wiring alerts for valve malfunctions which are a common cause of hard to find leaks within irrigation systems.