When it comes time to upgrade your sprinkler timer you may have noticed there are a lot of options. Determining which timer is right for you can seem daunting. Here are a few things to consider when shopping to help you narrow down the decision process
You’ve probably noticed that your sprinklers run one group at a time and that each group of sprinklers is dedicated to a particular section of your lawn or garden. These sprinkler groups are referred to as zones or stations. Each zone is connected to a valve and each valve is automatically operated by your timer. The number of valves you have equates to the number of zones or stations for your sprinkler system.
Timers are sold and categorized by the number of zones they operate. Most residential timers are sold with anywhere from 4 -12 zones.
If you have plans to add-on to your landscape in the future, consider purchasing a timer that has more zone capacity than you need or that can be expanded. The Toro EVOLUTION timer can be expanded by 4 zones at any time by adding expansion modules sold separately.
A program is really just a watering schedule. One program runs all of your watering zones in sequence for a set amount of time. Each time the program runs, the sequence is repeated in the same way. Different kinds of plants require different watering schedules. So you many need one watering program to water the lawn every day, and a second watering program to water the flower beds or shrubs every other day. A third watering program may be needed for your vegetable garden or fruit trees. The number of watering schedules you need for our landscape will determine the number of programs you will need for the timer you select.
How many times each day do you need the sprinkler system to run? In the hottest months it is not uncommon to run the sprinklers twice each day. Alternately, you may want to repeat the same watering program more than once to allow water to soak into the soil and to prevent runoff. Multiple watering times will enable you to run your sprinkler system many times per day.
If your timer will be installed outside ensure that you select an outdoor timer. Outdoor timers include a housing and specialized electrical components to protect it from the elements and ensure that it works reliably for many years.
Once you have narrowed down the basic elements you need from a new sprinkler timer you can select optional features. Season adjust (or percent adjust) allows you to make adjustments to an entire watering schedule up or down, typically in 5-10% increments, rather than zone by zone. In cooler months adjust the watering schedule down and in hotter months adjust the schedule up to apply more or less water in a single step.
In many areas throughout the country, rain sensors are required to automatically stop watering when it rains and prevent unnecessary water waste. Even if your city does not require it, a timer with a sensor port will enable you at add on a rain or weather sensor at any time.
A weather sensor allows the watering schedule to automatically adjust based on weather conditions in your area. This makes and seasonal, rain or freeze adjustments fully automatic and takes the guesswork out of how much to water when. It also, helps prevent under or over-watering as conditions change.
Finally, sprinkler timers, like most electronic devices in our homes are available with “smart” options. Many timers now include the ability to operate remotely using your smartphone, tablet or smart home speaker, like Alexa or Google. Toro’s SMRT-Logic enables this capability for the EVOLUTION timer and it can be added now or anytime in the future. SMRT-Logic also works with outdoor lighting, ponds, fountains and more so that you can manage all of your outdoor features with a single app from anywhere at any time.
For more water saving tips or to explore options available from Toro visit torowatersmart.com or toro.com/irrigation.