You'll find a complete range of Irrigation Controllers – systems, products, olutions and support services available from your local Irrigear® Independent Experts.
What is an irrigation controller?
An irrigation controller, also known as an irrigation timer or irrigation clock, is a device that is used to automatically control the watering of gardens, lawns or crops in an irrigation system. The irrigation controller is typically installed in a central location and is connected to a series of solenoid valves that are used to control the flow of water to different zones within the system.
The primary function of an irrigation controller is to turn the irrigation system on and off at pre-determined times or on a set schedule. The controller can be programmed to water different zones on different days, at specific times of the day, and for specific durations, depending on the needs of the plants being irrigated and the local climate conditions.
In addition to basic watering scheduling, many irrigation controllers offer advanced features such as:
- Rain sensors: Most controllers can be equipped with rain sensors that turn of the controller for a period of time after rainfall.
- Soil moisture sensors: These sensors measure the moisture level in the soil and can adjust the watering schedule accordingly, ensuring that plants receive the optimal amount of water.
- Remote control: Many controllers can be controlled remotely using a smartphone app or web interface, allowing users to adjust the watering schedule or turn the system on or off from anywhere.
- Flow monitoring: Some controllers can monitor the flow of water through the system and alert users to potential leaks or other issues.
What are the advantages of using a controller versus manual methods of irrigation?
There are several advantages of automated irrigation systems over manual watering methods:
- 1. Consistency: Automated irrigation systems provide consistent and uniform watering to plants, which helps to promote healthy growth and reduce the risk of under- or over-watering.
- 2. Reliability: Irrigation controllers with solenoid valves are much more reliable than a battery operated tap timer. Tap timers can be quiet temperamental and while cheaper they may end up costing you more money in the long run.
- 3. Efficiency: Automated irrigation systems can be programmed to water plants at the optimal time of day when evaporation rates are low, reducing water loss and improving overall water efficiency.
- 4. Convenience: With an automated irrigation system, users do not need to manually water their plants, freeing up time for other activities and reducing the risk of forgetting to water plants.
- 5. Precision: Automated irrigation systems can be programmed to deliver precise amounts of water to each plant or zone, ensuring that plants receive the optimal amount of water for their specific needs.
- 6. Water conservation: Automated irrigation systems can help to conserve water by reducing the risk of over-watering, minimizing water loss due to evaporation, and allowing for the use of efficient drip or micro-irrigation systems.
- 7. Improved plant health: Consistent and efficient watering provided by automated irrigation systems can help to improve the overall health and vitality of plants, leading to stronger root systems, healthier foliage, and higher yields for crops.
How long should an irrigation controller last?
The lifespan of an irrigation controller can vary depending on a number of factors, including the quality of the controller, how often it is used, and the environment in which it is installed.
On average, a high-quality irrigation controller can be expected to last between 5-10 years. However, with proper maintenance and care, some controllers may last even longer.
Regular maintenance and upkeep, such as cleaning the controller, keeping the door closed, checking for loose connections or damaged wiring can help to extend the lifespan of the controller.
In addition, it's important to keep in mind that technology is constantly evolving, and newer models of irrigation controllers may offer additional features, greater efficiency, and improved performance compared to older models. As a result, many users may choose to upgrade their irrigation controller every few years in order to take advantage of these advances and ensure that their irrigation system is functioning optimally.
What are some of the latest features in irrigation controllers?
Some of the newest features of irrigation controllers include:
- Smart home integration: Many modern irrigation controllers can be integrated with popular smart home systems, such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit. This allows users to control their irrigation system using voice commands or a mobile app.
- Weather-based watering: Some irrigation controllers are now equipped with sensors that can measure weather conditions, such as temperature, humidity, and rainfall, and adjust watering schedules accordingly. This helps to ensure that plants receive the optimal amount of water based on current weather conditions.
- Flow monitoring: Some irrigation controllers are equipped with flow sensors that can detect leaks or other issues in the irrigation system. This can help to prevent water waste and minimize damage to the landscape.
- Mobile app control: Many modern irrigation controllers now come with a mobile app that allows users to control their irrigation system remotely. This can be especially useful for users who are away from home for extended periods of time.
- Multiple zone control: Many irrigation controllers allow users to control multiple irrigation zones or stations, each with their own watering schedule and settings. This allows for greater customization and flexibility in watering different areas of the landscape.
Can I add a new irrigation controller to an existing irrigation system?
Yes, in most cases, it is possible to add an irrigation controller to an existing irrigation system. However, the process may vary depending on the type of system and the specific components already in place.
Here are the general steps you would need to follow to add an irrigation controller to an existing system:
- 1. Choose a compatible controller: Before purchasing a controller, make sure it is compatible with your existing irrigation system. Check the voltage and wiring requirements to ensure they match your current system. Also check that the controller will run the number of zones you are irrigating
- 2. Turn off the water supply: Turn off the main water supply to the irrigation system to avoid any accidental leaks or water damage during installation.
- 3. Install the controller: Follow the manufacturer's instructions to install the controller. This typically involves mounting the controller, connecting the wires to the appropriate valves, and connecting the controller to a power source.
- 4. Connect the valves: Once the controller is installed, you will need to connect the valves to the appropriate zones or stations. This may involve digging up the existing valve boxes and connecting the wires to the new controller. Also, make sure you have the ability to run cable from the valve location back to the controller.
- 5. Program the controller: Once the valves are connected, program the controller to water each zone or station according to your preferences. This may involve setting watering schedules, adjusting run times, and programming other features such as weather-based watering or flow monitoring.
- 6. Test the system: Once the installation and programming are complete, test the system to ensure that each zone or station is receiving water as expected. Make any necessary adjustments to the programming or valves as needed.
How much does an irrigation controller cost?
The cost of an irrigation controller can vary depending on several factors, including the brand, model, and features of the controller.
On average, a basic irrigation controller with manual programming and no advanced features can cost between $80 to $150. However, controllers with advanced features such as weather-based watering, smart home integration, and flow monitoring can cost between $200 to $700 or more.
Professional-grade irrigation controllers used in commercial applications may cost even more, with some models costing several thousand dollars.
Advice. Products. Solutions. Australia-wide. Locally source irrigation controllers, products and solutions from the leaders in pumping, irrigation, filtration, water and fluid management — Irrigear® Independent Experts.
It's important to keep in mind that the cost of the irrigation controller is just one component of the overall cost of an irrigation system. Other costs to consider may include installation, maintenance, and repair costs, as well as the cost of water and any additional components, such as valves, sensors, and wiring. Your local Irrigear expert is here to help.
- What is an irrigation controller?
- What are the advantages of using a controller versus manual methods of irrigation?
- How long should an irrigation controller last?
- What are some of the latest features in irrigation controllers?
- Can I add a new irrigation controller to an existing irrigation system?
- How much does an irrigation controller cost?
At your local Irrigear Independent Experts you'll find access to some of Australia's leading products and solutions in irrigation controllers – from leading brands including:
- HR Products
- Hunter Industries
If you're thinking about how an irrigation controller solution might fit into your next water management project, make Irrigear the place to find the best advice, know-how and product availability in Australia.
Irrigear Independent Experts – local expertise backed by the best brands and products available in the industry.
- Product, System Recommendation & Supply
- Parts & Equipment
- Testing & Maintenance
Find an Irrigear® store near you