Adjust Your Irrigation Controller

Adolph Garcia

As we enter the growing season, it’s important to maintain proper irrigation by adjusting your system controller to accommodate daylight saving time.

Most new controllers do this automatically, but older versions still require a manual adjustment. Newer models will automatically ask for time, date and year once daylight saving time kicks in, while older models will require you to remember to reset it. Review your user manual to see if your controller makes the change automatically.

And while you’re at the controller, change the battery for backup of the time display. This ensures the controller keeps the correct time in case of a power failure. It is found behind the display panel and is usually a 9-volt battery. It’s good practice to change the battery of the controller and your smoke detector at the same time.

Also, much like checking your smoke alarm, this is a great time to evaluate your controller’s settings.

  • First, check the start time to be sure it’s within Stage 2 permitted watering times of 7-11 a.m. and 7-11 p.m. For simplicity, only one start time is necessary. For effective and efficient irrigation, the total run time per zone can be split between morning and evening.
  • Likewise, check the run times of your zones. SAWS recommends setting sprays from 12 to 20 minutes and rotors at 25 to 30 minutes depending on the 5 “Ss” — shade, slope, soil, season and species. Because of its design, drip irrigation can run 45 to 60 minutes every other week if beds are properly mulched.
  • Finally, because of the cool days and nights during the dormant season, your irrigation system should be in the OFF mode or else have the Seasonal Adjust percent at 20 percent.

Getting to know your controller’s settings will not only save water, but will also save money. So spring forward with the intent of saving our most precious resource.

Irrigation Controller Basics from San Antonio Water System on Vimeo.

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