Sprinkler Sensors help controllers shut off based on actual outside conditions such as rain, freezing temperatures, high wind speeds and over-flow conditions. Sensors help prevent costly and harmful over watering during unnecessary times or unfavorable conditions.
Different Types Of Weather Sensors
Being able to water only when necessary is the ultimate goal of efficient irrigation scheduling. Today's technology allows for installation of sensors which can measure soil moisture, rainfall totals and even shut systems down in freezing weather.
These units are mounted in a location exposed to normal rainfall, but outside the watering spray of the sprinkler system. There are different designs, but most have settings that allow some sort of measuring to take place. Rain will cause the system to remain off during or after an event if sufficient rainfall is measured. The settings can be adjusted so a light shower will not effect the system operation or eliminate a scheduled watering when rainfall is not sufficient to make up for a normal application.
This type of sensor is very popular in commercial settings where ice on walkways or streets can cause liability. Freeze sensors have a place in the residential garden as well. Watering before or during heavy freezes can create problems with ice-laden shrubs and trees as well as creating the same liability concerns the commercial user experiences. The freeze sensor is mounted on an outside wall in a location most likely to experience freezing conditions. It will interrupt the signal to the control valves when temperatures fall below freezing. When conditions improve, the system will return to normal operation.
Look at any sprinkler's performance chart and you'll see that the data was gathered from tests conducted under zero wind conditions. Of course, in the real world, not every day is a calm one. And, while most sprinklers can still perform at close to peak efficiency with some type of breeze, when the air movement starts to get stronger, water coverage can get challenging, questionable and downright messy. It can even become a liability issue when windblown sprinklers soak pedestrian paths or roadways with passing cars.
Flow sensors are used to measure the amount of water flowing through an irrigation system in Gallons Per Minute(GPM). In a typical situation, the flow sensor will transmit the information to a flow meter. Flow sensors are being used more and more throughout the industry to automate some of the common problems dealt with in irrigation systems. When the flow sensor receives information of too little or to much flow through a certain part of the sprinkler system, it can send an alert to the user (by email, text message or other various means) that there is a problem with the system. The problem could be that a valve is down, a sprinkler is broken or numerous other reasons for too low/high of a flow.