Checking Older Irrigation

Checking an Older Irrigation System’s Functionality 

Homes built in the early 2000s will likely have the original irrigation system controller still in use. While it might appear that your irrigation system controller is working properly, after a decade or more it could be failing. 

What to check for …  

A common issue for older systems is the controller mixing up days when turning the dial. For example, the dial is turned to Thursday, but the system’s screen reads that it is Wednesday. The system’s confusion can cause the sprinklers to operate at times homeowners are not aware of. This can lead to higher water usage and higher water bills.

When to check …

Ideally a check should be done at least four times a year as irrigation needs may change from spring to summer, to fall, and then winter. More frequent checks are encouraged.  Florida’s weather can cause power outages or surges that result in timers adjusting to factory default settings. 

How to check the controller...

  1. Turn the dial and go through each day of the week to ensure that when the dial is turned the system is displaying each day properly.

    • Example: The dial turned to Monday, should read Monday on the screen, the dial turned to Tuesday, should read Tuesday on the screen, and so on for each day of the week. 
  2. Make sure you check the displayed day in the same manner for each program in your system. 

When to upgrade your system … 

If your irrigation system controller is not reflecting the correct day and/or the correct program it may be time to consider upgrading your system. 

Example: The dial is set to program B, and the controller screen reads that you are on program C. The system has the days and cannot keep the correct days programed. 

Why upgrade the system instead of fixing it… 

Even irrigation system controllers that have been fixed may not continue to operate properly going forward. Often, a fix may show the correct setting one week and the next week it might not. The best way to fix an old, malfunctioning controller is to upgrade. It is important you ensure your irrigation system controller is working properly, not only to comply with local water ordinances but also to avoid high water bills. 

Where to go for more information… 

When the time comes to upgrade your irrigation system controller, check to see if you are eligible for a smart rain sensor rebate through the Tampa Bay Water Wise Rebate Program. Eligible locations can receive a rebate for upgrades to the controller that can help conserve water and money while providing your turf and landscaping with the water it needs.