No matter what type of controller you have, knowing how it works and what settings to use are the smartest ways to water efficiently.
The truth is there is no right or perfect irrigation controller. No controller will magically save you water. In fact, trusting technology too much may actually cause you to use more water.
No matter what type of controller you have, knowing how it works and what settings to use are the keys to watering efficiently.
There are several “smart” controllers on the market, but you still need to program them. Smart controllers typically have two settings: manual and weather-based (automatically adjusts to current weather conditions).
Be careful with the weather adjustable program settings as they tend to be generous with your water. For example, on warm winter days the controller may conclude your dormant grass needs irrigation and turn the system on. In the summer heat, your controller may conclude irrigation three times a week is necessary. This can quickly add up to a much larger water bill than you anticipate.
There are also phone-based controllers with several convenient features such as allowing you to turn off your system remotely when it starts to rain or if you’re walking your yard inspecting your system for leaks. While these are very convenient features, they won’t save you water or money.
As I said early on, there is no such thing as the perfect controller. There is only good programming and diligent water management. That said, irrigation controllers are never, ever something you want to set and forget because irrigation systems put out a lot of water each time they operate. Forgetting them will result in high water bills and a lot of wasted water.