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Wonderful World of Lawn Sprinkler Wet Sensors

lawn sprinkler and irrigation systems

Lower Your Lawn Sprinkler’s Water Waste with Wet Sensors

If you live in Florida, you know that your lawn won’t survive the winter months or the summer unless it’s properly irrigated. Automatic lawn sprinklers have become essential for garden maintenance – they’re convenient, save you time and money, and ensure that your lawn is evenly watered. However, what many people don’t know is that since 1991, it has been state law in Florida for any automatic irrigation system to be fitted with a wet sensor (also called a rain or moisture sensor). Besides being lawfully required, there are many advantages to fitting a wet sensor to your lawn sprinkler system.

What are wet sensors?
A wet sensor is any technology which is designed to interrupt the operation of an automatic irrigation system once a specific amount of rain has fallen. Wet sensors can either be directly connected to your irrigation system, or can be wireless. Nobody wants their lawn sprinklers operating during a rainstorm – not only does it look foolish, but it contributes to unnecessary water wastage in an already water-stressed world. This is why wet sensors are so useful – they’ll turn off your irrigation system even when you’re not at home to do it yourself.

How do wet sensors work?
Wet sensors are typically mounted in open area in one’s yard, where rainwater can be freely collected in a small cup without obstruction by roofs or trees. Depending on the type of sensor device, the amount of water collected is measured either by weight, by an electrode, or by an expansion disk. When enough water has accumulated, the sensor will either send a signal to the controls of the sprinkler system, or will directly break the electrical connection to the sprinkler valves, depending on the type of sensor. The amount of rainfall required for the sensor to turn off the sprinklers can vary – most wet sensors have a shutoff setting between 1/8″ and 1″ of rainfall. Once the sensor has dried out, the irrigation system will continue to operate as usual.

What are the advantages of installing a wet sensor?
There are a number of reasons why it is a good idea to invest in a wet sensor for your lawn sprinkler system:

  • Wet sensors ensure the conservation of water by switching off your sprinklers when rainfall provides sufficient moisture.
  • Installing a wet sensor will save you money and reduce your utilities bill, since your automatic irrigation system will only be in operation when it is absolutely necessary.
  • Wet sensors are likely to increase the lifespan of your irrigation system. Water is naturally corrosive, and will gradually wear down your irrigation system’s parts. Less water flowing through the system means the parts will work better for longer.
  • Most plants will not survive if they are frequently water-logged. Wet sensors help to regulate the amount of water your garden receives, and will thus protect plants from root rot, disease, nutrient loss, and other consequences of over-watering.
  • By preventing over-watering, wet sensors will also help to protect soil surfaces by minimizing water run-off. Your groundwater supply can be easily contaminated by water run-off carrying plant fertilizer, pesticides and pollutants, so reducing water run-off is important for this reason, too.

Don’t compromise, be water-wise
Without a wet sensor, it’s unlikely your lawn sprinklers are operating at their optimum level. If you’re relying on an automated sprinkler system for your garden’s irrigation needs, consult an irrigation contractor about installing a wet sensor in your system. This relatively cheap device will save you money, save the planet’s water, and make sure your garden is irrigated to perfection.