What Should I Know About a Sprinkler Timer?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 10 October 2019
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A sprinkler timer is a device which can be timed to turn sprinklers on at specific times of the day. In addition to being used with simple lawn sprinklers, sprinkler timers can also be plugged into a more complex irrigation system. These garden tools can be immensely handy, but there are a few things to keep in mind when evaluating a sprinkler timer which can make the purchase easier.

One major consideration is how the sprinkler timer will be used. For example, some gardeners just want the sprinklers to go off for 20 minutes every evening at 6:00, in which case a very basic sprinkler timer will be sufficient. Simple sprinkler timers are very inexpensive, and they can be installed by connecting the sprinkler timer to a faucet and then attaching a hose to the timer in less than five minutes. However, these timers do not offer a great deal of flexibility.

Other gardeners may want to be able to perform more complex tasks with a sprinkler timer, such as watering every three days, or watering only when it does not rain. This can require a more complex programmable sprinkler timer, which in some cases may need to be wired into the house for power. Other sprinkler timers run on batteries or solar panels, making them less cumbersome to install.


There are also some additional sophisticated options, such as sprinkler timers which sync up with a computer. These devices can network with local weather reports to turn the sprinklers off when they are not needed, and they can even provide recommendations to the gardener based on rainfall, season, location, and watering habits. These sprinkler timers can also adapt to water conservation orders, improving efficiency to reduce overall water usage. Users can program the timers from the computer, or control one-time activations, which can be especially convenient for people who struggle with unwanted animal visitors such as deer.

For people who are using a sprinkler timer to create the illusion that someone is home, a discreet sprinkler timer is often a good idea, as is a sprinkler timer with a randomizing function. If the sprinklers always go off at the same time, potential thieves will quickly learn that the sprinklers are on a timer, and that people may not be home when the sprinkler is running. If, on the other hand, the sprinklers go off at some point between four and eight every afternoon, it can suggest that someone is home to turn the sprinklers on.


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Post 6

An internet sprinkler controller can vary the amount of water used based on the weather - stop irrigation before during and after rain, and reduce irrigation in times of cool weather. Lawncheck does this.

Post 5

Ally I think I found the one you are describing. The Internet web application offers a lot of water conservation oriented benefits, and for me being a "green geek" it fits well (even for my pseudo xeriscape) and it's not very expensive.

Technology solutions are great if they offer benefits so I'd just like to say that make sure whatever you buy has some real benefits that make it worth the price. Mostly these things can offer remote access, water savings, and better interfaces, and you are right, they are a little fun to use - iPhone *on*!

Derek (the green)

Post 3

ja marcus,

Thanks for the keywords. I found the internet sprinkler controller per your suggestion. I'm now controlling my yard/garden water using the Internet browser on my iPhone. Tres convenient I must say, because now I can turn on the water while I'm driving to work in the morning, if I need to. (well when I'm stuck in traffic...) The browser application is easy, and it stops the water when it rains or turns cold. This was easier than I thought it was going to be and it was even a little fun (well for a fe-geek yes!)

tks, ally

Post 2

I was reading the article and then reading the first comment and starting searching for an internet sprinkler controller. I found mostly a lot of hype links to gadgeting boxes clumped together hyping Internet control when they were really just old fashioned relay boxes wired to a computer. Plus most of these boxes don't have rain detectors built in.

I did find a nice product that has an Ethernet port on it that can be directly controlled through the Internet. If anyone is looking for interesting Internet controlled product, they should search on the following generic term: "Ethernet sprinkler." Look for a system when irrigating lawn. Check carefully what you come up with.


Post 1

Something that many wise geeks may want to know: Can I control my sprinklers using the Internet and then the very wise geeks will wonder what benefit that might bring. So, the answer is Yes, you can control your sprinklers using the Internet, and yes their are benefits namely: ease of setup and access (including remote access); cost reduction through water conservation; and flexibility of control. Search for Internet-based sprinkler and irrigation control, for a networked sprinkler controller.



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