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Control your sprinkler system with the touch of a button
You want your lawn to be green and vibrant, but you don’t have the time to spend hours every day ensuring each section receives just the right amount of water. An automatic irrigation system is the solution to your problem, and a timer will put you in complete control, even when you’re not home. Timers allow you to program a number of variables, including which zones receive water at what time during a given day and which days during the week your lawn is watered. Timers range from simple mechanical devices to advanced electronic computers, so you’ll need to decide which features are most important to you prior to making your selection. Keep the following questions in mind as you shop to find the ideal timer for your needs:
Timer Types, Operating Tips and Features
When selecting a timer you’ll need to make a few key decisions first. Start by figuring out how many zones you’ll need, how frequently those zones will need watering and how much time you want to spend tending to your lawn. Once those decisions have been made, you can easily select a timer that can handle the number of zones you have as well as your programming needs. Choose features that will make watering more convenient, but don’t spend extra money for a unit with a myriad of features you probably won’t use. Regardless of whether you choose a basic or advanced timer, make sure you know how to maximize watering efficiency.
Zones and Programs: Prior to purchasing a timer, it’s important to understand what it controls. Each irrigation system possesses a specified number of zones, which are comprised of groups of sprinklers connected with a single valve. A yard can have any number of zones, one of which may include the garden while another encompasses your back yard. Look for a timer that can handle at least as many zones as you currently have. Programs are watering schedules, which determine when, how frequently and for how long your system is activated. Single-program timers water all zones on the same day and are best for basic lawn watering. When you have areas that require different amounts of water and need to be watered on different schedules, such as a large back yard, a garden and a row of shrubs, purchase a timer that offers multiple programs.
Mechanical, Electronic and Hybrid Timers: Basic mechanical timers must be manually set and are usually very economical. They provide a somewhat limited number of programming options, so they are best suited for yards that don’t have a lot of different landscaping features that require varying amounts of water. Electronic timers provide more options and features, putting you in complete control of each part of your lawn. Some models give you access to your sprinkler controls from a computer, allowing you to make adjustments remotely when you’re on vacation or even if you’re at work and realize your system’s running and it’s starting to rain. Hybrid timers combine features of mechanical and electric timers for convenient controls and easy-to-read inputs.
Operating Tips: By observing the following suggestions, you’ll be able to conserve water while keeping your lawn lush and healthy.
|Alter watering schedule as seasons change||Ensures that lawn receives the proper amount of water for a given season and helps avoid over or under watering|
|Avoid watering during or after rainstorms||Prevents lawn from being flooded and gives it time to properly dry, helping to avoid disease|
|Water early in the morning or late in the evening||Prevents water from evaporating during the hottest part of the day|
Convenience and Efficiency: To make your watering experience more convenient, consider choosing a timer with some of the following options. If you install your timer outdoors, shield it from the elements with a weather-resistant cabinet. If you have a zone that doesn’t need watering but you don’t want to reprogram the whole system, a skip button will come in handy by allowing you to pick and choose which zones should receive water. In areas of the country where there is marked climate change, seasonal adjustment capabilities let you customize the amount of water your lawn receives each season for better lawn health and improved water conservation.
Moisture Sensors: Moisture sensors help you avoid over watering by shutting your irrigation system off if it begins to rain during operation. They will also prevent the system from starting after it has rained to prevent saturation and flooding.
Odd/Even Setting: In areas of the country where water is restricted, you may only be allowed to water your lawn on either odd or even days of the month. If this is the case, look for a timer that allows you to set it to run only on the days you are able to water.
15-Second Delay: For irrigation systems that run on a pump, this feature provides a delay between zones to give valves ample time to close prior to the next one opening, ensuring proper operation.
Battery Backup: If you have a lawn with a number of different watering requirements that require a great deal of customization on your timer, look for a unit with a memory backup feature that will remember your settings when the battery dies, saving you from having to reprogram the timer every time you replace your battery.
Valves and sprinkler heads are other necessary components for your irrigation system.
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