Smart irrigation system controllers are the most recent innovation for sprinkler irrigation systems. Programmable electronic controllers are capable of executing sophisticated watering programs, but they are incapable of adjusting for the current local weather conditions.
Unless the homeowner manually adjusts the program every time it rains and when the seasons change, a traditional electronic irrigation controller will waste a lot of water due to over watering. Overwatering is a problem not only because of wasted water, but also because it leads to insect infestations and disease.
Smart landscape irrigation controllers have the capability of using information about local weather or soil conditions to modify watering programs and reduce or eliminate overwatering and wasted water. There are two types of smart controllers.
Weather based controllers use current weather information to control irrigation scheduling. The information can come from weather sources on the internet and from weather monitors located at your home such as rain gauges and instruments that measure temperature, humidity, and wind speed. Other information provided to the smart controller includes soil properties, slope, and plant types.
The other type of smart irrigation controller uses soil moisture sensors to control irrigations schedules. Some of these types of controllers are programmed like a traditional electronic controller, but the controller will not activate the system if the soil sensor detects sufficient moisture in the soil.
Other soil moisture based irrigation controllers are called “water on demand” controllers. These are not programmed like traditional irrigation controllers. Instead, the upper and lower soil moisture limits are set and when the lower level is reached, the irrigation system is activated and allowed to run until the upper soil moisture limit is reached. These types of systems are very water efficient.