How Do Sprinkler Rain Sensors Work?

rain sensor mounted on roof

You have probably seen the wasteful accident that occurs when an automatic sprinkler system runs during a rainstorm. Believe it or not, this happens quite often. This common mistake not only wastes water but costs you money and it can be resolved with a simple fix. The problem is that people are so busy that they often forget to shut off their system when natural precipitation is present. The weather can also change rapidly, depending on your region. You may not be home in order to shut off your system when a storm quickly rolls in. By installing a simple rain sensor you don't have to worry about manually shutting off your system. You can conserve water while maintaining nice, green grass as cutting edge technology manages your sprinklers automatically. Before we answer the question how do sprinkler rain sensors work? let's first define:

What is a Sprinkler Rain Sensor?

A rain sensor is a device that communicates with your sprinkler timer about rainfall levels. If enough rain has fallen, then the sensor will tell the timer not to skip the next cycle so that your pop-up sprinklers don't run.

So How Does a Rain Sensor Work?

Not all rain sensors operate with the same mechanisms. Here is a quick rundown of the various types:

Types of Rains Sensors

Depending on the type of yard you have, where you live, and how often it rains, you will want to determine the type of sensor to use. Here are some of the different rain sensors:

  • Rainfall collection cup - This sensor stops the sprinklers from turning on when the rainfall cup fills to a certain level. An issue to be aware of with this kind of sensor is a false fill up. Leaves, debris, and even bugs or pests can fill up the collection cup causing the sprinklers to shut off. They often work through wireless communication.
  • Expansion disk - This type of rain sensor is becoming more and more popular all the time. This particular sensor uses a cork disk that expands when there is rainfall to measure the level of precipitation. A pressure switch is then used to break the electrical connection which causes the sprinklers to turn on and off.

What about Freeze Sensors?

rain eliminates the need for the sprinklers to run

Some units are two-in-one rain and frost sensors. The way the frosted technology works is simply based on temperature. It gets a reading and indicates to the timer that it's too cold to allow water in the pipes and risk damage from freezing and cracking.

Save Money and Conserve Water

If you have a sprinkler system set up on your property it's a good idea to have a sprinkler rain sensor installed. Not only will it save you money, but it will conserve water as well. A rain sensor is perfect for individuals who go out of town a lot, or for forgetful people who can't remember to turn on and off their sprinklers. Sprinkler rain sensors are one of the very best ways to keep your irrigation system working flawlessly. Now you can share this article on social media so your friends can know how sprinkler rain sensors work!

If you want to transform your sprinkler system, check out the Rain Bird LNK WiFi Module.

Remember, you can buy all your rain sensors, residential timers, and more for your sprinkler system from reputable manufacturers like Rain Bird, Toro, Orbit, Weathermatic, and more.

Related Resources:
Planning a Sprinkler System Installation
How to Winterize Your Sprinklers
Tips for Late Summer Lawn Care
Sprinkler Maintenance Checklist
When to Water the Lawn

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