What Is The Term For Something Electricity Cannot Flow Through Rain Shut Off Devices For Automatic Lawn Sprinkler Systems

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Rain Shut Off Devices For Automatic Lawn Sprinkler Systems

Automatic sprinkler system controllers are programmed to turn on and off on a specific day and at a specific time. The controller does not know if it is sunny and dry outside or if it is raining. For this reason, every lawn sprinkler system should have a rain sensor.

The sensor determines if enough rain has fallen to skip an irrigation cycle. There are three basic types of rain sensors. They all serve the same purpose: to keep your system from overwatering your lawn or garden. How does it work? The electrical connection between the sensor and the controller of your sprinkler system is interrupted when a certain amount of rain activates the device. The sensor breaks the electrical connection so that current cannot flow either to the sprinkler valve or to start the pump (if your system is on a well without a pressure tank).

One type breaks the connection by weighing the water in a rainwater container. The problem with this type is that leaves, sticks or the occasional lizard will find their way to the collection tray and thus shut down the system.

The next type uses electrodes to determine the amount of water in the collection vessel. This type of rain sensor also has a problem with the system collecting things other than rain in the collection container.

The most common type of rain sensor used by professionals is the expansion disc. This type of sensor does not use a collection vessel; instead, the rain causes the cork discs to expand. This device uses a pressure switch to break the electrical connection. These can be adjusted in ¼” increments up to the desired rainfall setting. This adjustment is usually set to turn off the sprinklers after ½” of rain has fallen.

The most important aspect of installing a rain sensor is where to place it. It should be installed in an area that is not obscured by trees, roof curtains, or anything else that could prevent rain from reaching the sensor. If it is a wired sensor, the placement is generally near the sprinkler controller. The wires should be connected inside the regulator valve wiring board. This allows easier detection of electrical problems in the system as the sensor can be easily detached.

In the last few years, FM wireless rain sensors have become very popular. Although they are more expensive than wired devices, the ease of installation and increased setup options offset the cost. Most wireless units come with bypass switches built into the device. Some digital controllers also offer bypass options for wired devices and wireless rain sensors.

No matter what type of rain sensor you choose, all rain sensors offer many advantages over not adding this detector to your automatic sprinkler system. Some of the immediate and long-term benefits include:

o Saves money. Whether you pay for city water or use electricity at the pump, the money you save over time will more than pay off with a rain sensor.

o Extends the life of the sprinkler system. Irrigation systems consist of moving parts. If parts of the system are used less often (during the rainy season), they last longer.

o Protects water resources. By limiting the overuse of your sprinkler system, rain sensors reduce the runoff of excess water carrying fertilizers and pest control chemicals into our shared water supply.

o Saves water. Less water is used when less additional water is needed for your lawn and in your garden.

How much money can you save with a rain sensor device?

It will vary depending on your water source (city, reclaimed or well) and where you live (water costs, electricity price, climate). Here is an example that demonstrates the above benefits:

Seminole County, Florida.

System description:

o Designed to irrigate a quarter acre of grass and programmed to apply ½” of water each time the system runs.

o This schedule would be 6,788 gallons per irrigation cycle.

o This system (on city water) pays $2.30 per thousand gallons.

o Every time the rain sensor interrupts the sprinkler cycle, you would save $15.61

According to a recent study conducted in Florida, the use of rain-sensing devices saved an average of 45% of water for single-family residential water use.

The next time you see a sprinkler system working in the rain, now you know it doesn’t have to be that way. Rain sensors are affordable solutions to conserve our water, protect our water resources and save you money.

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