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A Local Irrigation Service Manager Tested Rain Sensors and Made a Change

All in-ground sprinkler systems in Birmingham, AL need the best wireless rain sensor.  We’re going to tell you why and compare RainBird Vs Hunter.

No one gets free water.

True. But my wife’s Grandfather always said, “A penny saved is a penny earned.”  May I extrapolate that to a gallon of water saved is a free gallon of water?  Maybe my water math could be called fuzzy numbers, but the money you save on your water bill is real.

Alas, we have all seen lawn sprinklers running on a rainy day.  That’s a huge waste of water! In addition, in Birmingham, AL it’s an unnecessary expense on the water and in some areas sewer bills too.

Simple Money Saver with Fast Return

In short, the best wireless rain sensor prevents system operations during times of measurable rain.

Installing a rain sensor on your lawn sprinkler system is an incredible money-saver. With a shut-off device, you can save up to 35% on your water bill!  Moreover, Blue Sky Rain technicians also help our customers save water and money by assessing their sprinkler system for optimal efficiency

Is your index finger hitting the controller to turn it off? Then you’re all too familiar with the break-neck dash to the garage or basement to turn it off once you realize it’s running during the rain. Plus you have to remember to turn it back on when temperatures are high and there’s no rain in the four-day weather forecast.  But what if the forecast changes while you’re at the Gulf? Your lawn and landscape are at risk of drying up in the multitude of mini-droughts in Birmingham, AL.

That’s why when Rain Sensors came into their own about 15 years ago. Blue Sky Rain immediately started providing our customers the best wireless rain sensor – the Hunter Wireless Rain Clik.  The Hunter Wireless Rain Sensor is an amazing tool for making sure your sprinkler does not operate in the rain.  It’s affordable, easy to use and dependable.  The Hunter Wireless Rain Sensor operates on the Hygroscopic Disk system, which is precise and reliable.

Rain Sensors Required by Law

At the time we wrote this article, Florida is the only state with a state-wide rain sensor law.  However, there are local mandates, which require Rain Sensors in areas of California, Minnesota, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina and South Carolina, resulting from water conservation concerns.  In some areas, homeowners with irrigation systems can be fined if found to be without a sensor.  Georgia requires a rain sensor on all newly installed sprinkler systems.  Alabama needs only “a tiny fraction” of its total water supply for irrigation. Compared to California, for example, which requires a major portion, our state has not passed Rain Sensor requirements.

Some parts of the country have laws requiring freeze sensors.  Water runoff from sprinkler systems that freezes on sidewalks and roads creates a dangerous hazard.  Water from an irrigation system freezing on the pavement caused a major car accident in Dallas, TX.  Subsequently, freeze sensors are required by law in Dallas.

The Technology Leap Frog

We’ve seen a leap frog in Rain Sensor Technology. Consequently, earlier this year, I replaced my Hunter with the new Rainbird WR2 Wireless Rain/Freeze Sensor to test it for Blue Sky Rain customers.

Rainbird and Hunter both prevent the controller from running the sprinkler cycle. That means both will save you money by interrupting or preventing irrigation in the rain.  What’s critical is responding to the amount of rain water that actually hits your lawn and landscape. Was it true a rain event? Or was it a tiny sprinkle, which is not an ample amount of rainfall to skip the irrigation cycle?  The best wireless Rain Sensor should be calibrated for the right amount of rain for your landscape to bypass your next lawn watering.

Rain Bird designed the new WR2 wireless Rain/Freeze sensor to exceed the previous industry standard. With revolutionary features the Rain Bird Rain Sensor gives you more control of your sprinkler system. This is what I call a leap frog of technology. Blue Sky Rain Sprinkler Specialists and Landscape Lighting made the switch to Rainbird WR2 Rain/Freeze Wireless Sensor.

Three Reasons we chose RainBird Vs Hunter

Our goal is to provide the best wireless rain sensor for our customers in Birmingham, AL.  Why did we recently switch to Rain Bird Rain/Freeze Sensor?

The three main reasons are the watch battery, display screen and ability for more refined rainfall calibration.

A more Sensitive Sensor

If you want to sense the rain, it makes sense to more accurately calibrate how much rain you want the sensor to sense before it by-passes your sprinkler controller. Can you say that ten times real fast?

How to operate the Rainbird WR2 Rain/Freeze Sensor on youtube:

The Rainbird WR2 wireless Rain/Freeze sensor has a replaceable Watch Battery that the Hunter rain sensor does not.

Rainbird has a Display Screen, which is simple with only four buttons, left right and up and down. On the other hand adjusting the rain sensibility on the Hunter Rain Clik requires adjusting the ring on the outdoor mounted sensor, because it does not have a display screen in the garage.

Other features that make the Rainbird WR2 Rain/Freeze Sensor the best wireless rain sensor for our customers.

There are three irrigation modes to select: Programmed, Suspend Irrigation for 72 hours, Override sensor for 72 hours.

Rainfall Set Point determines how much rainfall is required before the Rain Sensor bypasses your sprinkler system (stops it from running.)  You can have your system shut down at a lower amount of rainfall or greater amount of rainfall.

The rainfall setting is adjustable from 1/8 inch to 1/2 inch. In the same vein, it has a Freeze Sensory, which has an adjustable low temperature setting from 33°F to 41°F.

To ensure the most reliable communication between sensor and irrigation controller Weather Data updates every 45 seconds on the RainBird WR2 Rain Sensory.

In addition, the display screen information looks like a cell phone to show the battery strength, so you know when to replace it. Similarly, the signal strength also looks like the “bars” on a cell phone, so you know how strong a signal you have to the outside sensor.  Dual antennas safeguard the system from signal interference by radios, mobile phones and power lines.

Proper Mounting for Best Wireless Rain Sensor

For an accurate reading mount the Rain Sensor where it is accessible to rainfall.  In addition, it should be installed at a reasonable height for replacing the watch battery when needed. Do not mount the Rain Sensor near a bird feeder, in a tree or where it will be hit by water from a sprinkler head. We mount the sensor high enough that the sprinkler system doesn’t interfere with the performance and low enough to make changing the battery easier. 

My Experience with the best wireless rain sensor

My house where I’m testing the RainBird WR2 Rain Sensor was recently pressure washed.  Consequently, water from the washing caused the Rain Sensor to shut down my Rachio Sprinkler Controller . However, because the Rainbird Rain Sensor was calibrated for a rain event and not just getting very wet, my Rachio was back on line in 30 minutes. More importantly I did not miss a necessary irrigation cycle due to the pressure washing my house. 

Blue Sky Rain provides lawn irrigation service using the best in class of valves, heads, drip irrigation, controllers and other professional-grade irrigation parts from Hunter, Rainbird and Rachio.  After testing Rainbird Vs Hunter to find the best wireless rain sensor for our customers, we switched to Rainbird as our go-to in Birmingham, AL.

If you’re located in the greater Birmingham, AL area and want a Rain Sensor installed at your home or business, call the office of Blue Sky Rain Sprinkler Specialists and Landscape Lighting or open a service request on the web site. We’re here to help you when you’re ready.

Picture Credit: Tintin and Snowy cartoon by Herge’.

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