Sprinkler Dallas: Smart Controllers
By Maria Bargellini
Dallas Landscape and Irrigation Contractor
The Smart controllers are a fantastic invention. These controllers are also referred to as ET (Evapotranspirational) controllers. This big fancy 2 part word has been created to describe the incorporation of Evaporation (change from liquid to vapor) and Transpiration-(plant’s water loss). The Smart Controller is designed to collect past and present weather data with the use of it’s weather station to estimate how much water has been lost through both processes and and how much water is then needed for your specific conditions.
If it rained once a day for 7 days, we got a total of 5″, and it was followed by 2 days of sweltering heat the Smart Controller will figure out how much water has evaporated from the ground, how much water was lost through transpiration and how much and when to water next. Ingenious right–well yes but it isn’t full proof, at least not yet. If you have plants that are covered by eaves or zones that have plants with mixed water requirements, or a faulty system the Smart Controller can’t recognize that.
You can however set the controller to understand the following conditions
- Sloped areas: This is great because all too often we don’t realize that we lose a lot of water from slope runoff. The controller can figure that out for you.
- Individual zone list: You can tell the controller what type of plant material you have per zone. For ex. pots, new planting, shrubs, grass, etc. have different water requirements and this will allow you to set it up so that they all get the water they need when they need it.
- Differentiate between Drip and spray zone: Drip has to stay on much longer than spray zones. This makes it easy to adjust them accordingly.
- Adjust the percentages of water for the year–for ex. In the summer you will do 100% of your water values but in the winter you will probably use 0-10% of your water values. Other controllers cannot be set to change percentages.
- You can block out days and times according to restrictions–The Smart Controller will adjust it’s watering schedule around the restricted date and times automatically.
- Valve Locator–(not all ET controllers have this) This is a fantastic tool. If you need to locate faulty or buried valves the SmartLine controller by Weathermatic will send a signal that will make it chirp so that you can find it.