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How to Install a Wired Rain Sensor

It rained yesterday. A lot. Now it’s about 4 am, you are comfortable in bed, sleeping the sleep of the just. And your irrigation system just came on to water the already soaked yard. As you sleep your money sprays happily onto your yard and runs into the street. Or you hear the system running, jump up, stumble through the house to the garage, squeeze past the car and the workbench and turn off the controller. Then you go back to bed to get the remaining hour or so of sleep. Now that you are wide awake.

The simple way to avoid either of these is to install a rain sensor. Economical, simple and effective. The typical sensor wires directly into your controller and turns off all irrigation based on your settings. Please make sure you check the manual on how to set it, they are all similar but not identical.  They are, however, all easy to install and set.

The first thing to check is whether your controller has a rain sensor connection or not. The vast majority of controllers over the last few years do. If so then you are ready. You should find two screws labeled SENSOR or SEN. Don’t worry that there is already a wire or metal piece bridging the pair of screws. This has to be there for the controller to work without the sensor. Simply remove the wire or clip. Any questions on this just get in touch with us.

Before you mount the sensor decide on how much rain you want before it turns the system off. An important fact that many people miss or just fail to understand is that the rain sensor MUST BE PUT OUT IN THE RAIN. Don’t feel sorry for it. Don’t worry about its health. We want it out in the sun and rain so it can do its job. This is what it is trained for. Mount the sensor in a clear area. If possible, put it on the eaves of the house. If it makes more sense, put it on the fence. As long as it is an area open to both wind and rain. Wind because it will drive the rain in a certain direction and help dry the sensor after the rain stops, letting your system run again. Also make sure it is above the level of the irrigation spray. A rain sensor doesn’t know the difference between rain water and irrigation water. Suitable places might include on the satellite dish, top of chimney, edge of a rain gutter, top of a flag pole, etc. Height doesn’t matter much as long as it’s clear. After it’s mounted connect the wires at the controller. Then check to make sure your controller is set to use it, often with a RAIN SENSOR ACTIVE switch. Check your manual or give us a yell.

Something to understand about sensors: they turn the system off AFTER a certain amount of rain has fallen. Not as soon as it starts raining. There is material in the sensor that swells as it absorbs moisture. Once it gets to a certain size it trips a switch and the irrigation stops. Depending on your settings this won’t take long.

Simple, effective and helps you sleep in the morning.

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