When we have an automatic irrigation system, we experience the joy of watching the water run while the rain falls. Besides looking silly, this is a waste of water and can damage your lawn and garden. Thankfully, there is a solution to this problem: installing a rain sensor. Rain sensors detect natural rainfall and shut the irrigation system off until the rain has stopped and the sensor has dried off. These devices can be used with any brand or type of wall-mounted irrigation controller, and there are several types available.
Installing a Rain Sensor Locating your Sensor:
All rain sensors should be installed near the major portion of the garden or yard, usually on the eave of the roof, on top of the fence, or placed on conduit. The sensors come equipped with long cables, and can be extended easily with 18-gauge irrigation wire so that installation can be as remote as needed. New wireless model eliminates cabling.
Connecting to Controller:
Timers that are equipped with sensor terminals (sensor-ready) simply need wired to the proper places. Typically, jumper wires or plates should be removed first. If your timer is not sensor-ready, you should connect one wire from the sensor to the common wire terminal, and the other to the common wire from the valves. You can also connect the sensor wire in-line anywhere on the common wire, one sensor wire to the common wire to the valves, and the other to the common wire from the controller. In this way, your rain sensor can be connected to any controller or valves.
Bypass Switches: Bypass switches are used to ‘turn off’ a rain sensor. If it has recently rained, and you need to test the irrigation system, a bypass switch will allow you to operate the system despite the sensor. On sensor-ready controllers, there is usually a bypass switch built into the controls. For all other types of controllers, this is an optional feature.