Monday, March 29, 2010

Rain Sensors or Rain Shut-Off Devices

The weather this week looks delightful for early spring. Sunny days and above average temperatures. You can almost hear the sigh of relief from the entire Midwest.

In the forecast for the weekend is the possibility of thunderstorms. Now that the threat of flooding as receded we could use a good rain to just wash away all the dirt and muck left behind from the snow melt.

Rain is almost always a good thing, it does complicate our job as it creates delays, but God is always more effective at a good watering than anything man can try to design. What is not a good thing is running your irrigation system while it is raining or when adequate rainfall has occurred. Water is our most precious natural resource, we need to be certain we are not being wasteful. Water use regulations are increasing in every state. We have not seen many restrictions in our area, but I can guarantee it will reach here within the next few years.

As a home owner, what can you do? Can you have a sprinkler and be a responsible steward of the water we have available? Yes, you can. The easiest and least expensive change you can make to your sprinkler system is the installation of a rain shut-off device.

Your sprinkler controller is set to run on specific days and times. It does not know if it is sunny or rainy or if we had thunderstorms yesterday that dumped 3" of rain in the area, it just knows that is it suppose to run. A rain sensor determines whether or not enough rainfall has occurred in order to skip an irrigation cycle. How? The electrical connection between the sensor and your sprinkler system controller is interrupted when a certain amount of rain triggers the device. The sensor breaks the electrical connection so that electricity cannot flow to either the sprinkler valves.

At Jensen Sprinkler we install a wireless rain sensor that utilizes a cork disk, or expansion device, to determine when to shut off the system. This device uses a pressure switch to break the electrical connection. These can be adjusted in increments of ¼" to the desired rain fall setting. This adjustment is usually set to turn off the sprinklers after ¼" of rain has fallen. When the water evaporates and the disk shrinks, the pressure is released from the switch, the electrical connection is restored and the controller will run on the next scheduled cycle.

The best part about a rain shut-off, besides saving water, is that you don't have to remember to turn the sprinkler on or off with the changing weather patterns, the device does the regulating.

If you do not have a rain sensor, we recommend you have one installed, it will pay for itself in water savings within two seasons. Besides, conserving water is the right thing to do!

Have a super week! Enjoy the sunshine!

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