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Timers

Electronic Timers
 
Timers automatically turn lights, appliances and irrigation systems on and off, saving you money, water and energy. In addition, they can help make your home more comfortable and secure. When considering timers, think about the problem you need to solve in your home. Timers can address the following situations and more:
 

• Motion detector lights can provide security to dark areas outside your home.
• A programmable timer allows you to turn a space heater on in your bathroom before you get out of bed in 
   the morning.
• Sprinkler timers can be programmed to water your lawn in early morning hours, while you’re out of town 
  or to meet drought restriction schedules.


This buying guide will explain the types of timers and what to look for so you can enjoy the convenience, water conservation and energy savings timers bring to your home.
 

Factors to Consider


•  Lighting and Appliance - Wall-switch, plug-in
•  Sprinkler - Mechanical, battery operated, electronicLighting and Appliance Timers
 

Lighting and Appliance Timers


Wall-switch timers

Wall-switch timers are used in place of standard light switches and operate in one of several ways to save you money and energy.
Indoor motion detectors

Indoor motion detectors sense movement in a room and automatically turn on the light for a preset amount of time or until the switch senses the room is empty. These timers are ideal for bathrooms, laundry rooms, or any room in your home where the light is often left on or where you need hands-free activation.

 

Outdoor motion detectors turn on a spotlight when they sense movement near outdoor areas like garage doors or porches. A timer turns the light off after a preset amount of time, unless more motion is detected. The sensors in outdoor lights can be in a wall switch or in the fixture itself.

   
Timer switch

Timer switch — These switches have buttons or a knob that turns on a light for a preset amount of time. Timer switches are appropriate for rooms you don’t stay in for very long, such as a bathroom, walk-in closet or attic. If you need to keep the light on for an extended period, you can reset or over-ride the controls with the touch of another button. Timer switches can help minimize moisture in bathrooms if used to control bathroom vent fans. To be most effective, start the fan 5 minutes before a shower and set the timer to run for 10 minutes after a shower.

   
Programmable switch

Programmable switch — You can set a programmable timer switch to turn lights, fans, heaters or other appliances on and off, with different settings for each day of the week. For example, you can have a porch light turn on before you come home from work during the week without having it on all day or on the weekends. Programmable timers also let you turn lights on and off at random times when you’re out of town to create the impression you’re home when away on vacation.

Plug-in timers

When you only need one lamp or appliance on a timer or you don’t want to rewire your wall switches, a plug-in timer is a flexible solution for indoor and outdoor applications.
Indoor plug-in timers

Indoor plug-in timers — With an indoor plug-in timer you can turn lamps, appliances, seasonal displays and more on and off at preset times. Heavy-duty timers are available for appliances like a window-unit air conditioner or space heater

 

         • Digital timers — With digital timers you can set lights to come on at different 
            times for different days, control multiple appliances and with a random setting, 
            make it appear someone is home even when you’re away. Digital timers are 
            more precise and more flexible in their settings than mechanical timers
 

         • Mechanical timers — Less precise in on and off settings than digital timers, 
            mechanical timers are also less expensive. These manually operated timers are 
            a good alternative when exact timing or multiple programming isn’t necessary.

   
Outdoor plug-in timers

Outdoor plug-in timers — Weather-resistant housings make these timers safe and durable for outside use. Use them to program outdoor lighting, holiday displays, and more. Yard-stake timers offer multiple outlets for seasonal lighting or landscape displays and less expensive single-outlet timers can be used to program one light, perhaps to come on as you come in from work.

Sprinkler System Timers

Irrigation system timers allow you to preset days, times and the length of time to water your lawn. Timers are available for use with outdoor faucets and garden hoses, as well as with complex landscape irrigation systems.  

Mechanical timers

Mechanical timers, which attach to a garden hose or faucet, are the most economical and reliable because they don’t operate on external power. They are manually set, with gears you rotate by hand, like a kitchen timer. With limited programming options, mechanical timers are best suited for yards that don’t require varying amounts of water.

   
Battery-operated timers

Battery-operated timers run on a battery that generally lasts for a full season. The timer attaches to a garden hose or faucet and often has automatic on and off features, so users can schedule when watering should begin and end. Some models can run multiple programs, making them a popular and convenient choice for vacationing gardeners. If the battery dies, however, these timers will usually lose their programming

   
Electronic timers

Electronic timers attach to the main water supply and allow you to program multiple schedules for watering different areas of your yard at different times of day and for different lengths of time. Some come with software that allows you to program your sprinklers remotely using your computer, a convenience if it’s raining while the sprinkler is running and you’re away from home. Electronic timers optional features include:

 

         • Battery backup: A system with battery backup will remember your settings, 
           saving you from having to reprogram the timer if the electricity goes out.

 

         • Seasonal scheduling: Some timers will allow you to set a seasonal 
           program so that less water is distributed in the winter, or rainy months, and 
           more in the summer, when it is often hotter and drier.

 

         • Remote control: A remote control allows you to troubleshoot your irrigation 
           system and turn different programs on and off from the comfort of your easy 
           chair.

 

         • Moisture sensors: Moisture sensors help you avoid over-watering by 
           shutting your irrigation system off if it begins to rain during operation or if the 
           ground is already wet.