Turn Me On, Don’t Run Me Off

Guest Author

Familiarize yourself with your irrigation controller and avoid one of the most common mistakes when programming the device. Run times and start times are two completely different functions on a sprinkler system controller and confusing the two can really lighten your pocket book.

  • Run Time – determines how long each individual zone will run.
  • Start Time – determines when a specific program (usually A, B or C) will turn on. Your irrigation system will only turn on if you have a start time associated with that particular program.

Every controller has the run time and start time labeled. The common misconception is that each zone must have a separate start time, leading to multiple irrigation cycles or “stacking.” For example, if a sprinkler system has seven zones and you add a start time for each zone to irrigate for two days, each zone would actually run 14 times instead of only twice per week. That’s a lot of wasted water!

Run times vary with the head type and landscape. In general, spray heads supply the most water and therefore should have the lowest run time. Rotor heads supply less water and have longer run times. Of course, sunny locations need more water than shady locations; and run minutes for shady zones can be cut in half of the sunny zones.

If you’re struggling with setting your controller, give us a call to schedule a free consultation with one of our conservation experts. Call 704-SAVE.

Authored by Darik Conner

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