User Manual

Sprinkler Times Instruction Manual for Smartphone Users

 

Please click on any of the links below for detailed instructions about that page.

 

WELCOME
TIMER
PURCHASE TIMER
LOCATION
TIMER FEATURES
ZONE FEATURES
COPY ZONE INFO
PLANT TYPE
SPRINKLER TYPE
SOIL TYPE
SUN/SHADE EXPOSURE
SUMMARY
EDIT ZONE FEATURES
SCHEDULE
WATERING ADJUSTMENT

WELCOME

 

Welcome to Sprinkler Times!

Please watch our short introductory video to get started with your Sprinkler Times program. Once you have watched the video, press Next to continue. Or press Skip Introduction Video to proceed forward.

 

The purpose of this app is to give you accurate information to help you properly program your existing sprinkler timer. Sprinkler Times will provide you with a base watering schedule that you can manually enter into your sprinkler timer. It will do all the calculations for you, so you can manage your landscape like a professional, saving you time and money on your water bill.

 

We know programming sprinklers can be complicated if you don’t do it every day like we do, so we have added help videos and text to assist you on every screen. We have also included a scrolling “Help” bar at the top of each screen for quick navigation aids.

 

We are here to make this easy!

 

Your initial Sprinkler Times download will give you access to one zone. This will allow you to experience how beneficial Sprinkler Times is to your water bill.

 

To use Sprinkler Times for up to 32 zones in your yard, you can purchase a Sprinkler Times timer for $5.99. Most homeowners will only have one timer that controls their entire yard. However, if you have more than one, additional timers can be purchased when you get to the Timer screen, right after this one.

 

Before starting your Sprinkler Times program, be sure that your system is in working order. This involves inspecting and repairing broken sprinklers and pipes, and making sure the sprinkler heads are properly directed at the targeted areas. If you are unsure as to how to check your system, we recommend consulting with a qualified irrigation contractor.

 

Once you’ve determined everything is in working order, you’re ready to start your program.

 

The first step is to enter your location and provide some basic information about the features of your timer.

 

Next, you will fill in some information about each zone in your yard.

 

Then, you will have a chance to review all your selections on the Summary page to make sure everything was entered correctly.

 

Once you are happy with your selections, you will move to the final page, where you can view your customized monthly schedule.

 

It is important to visit the Watering Adjustment feature located on the schedule page. This will be a very essential tool for you after you’ve run your program for about one to three weeks.

 

Sprinkler Times is not able to adjust your watering schedule to account for rain. Therefore, if you expect rain in your area, be sure to turn off your timer to maximize water conservation. For more information on how to account for rain, visit www.sprinklertimes.com.

 

Sprinkler Times was created to make entering your information as easy as possible, but we realize there may be steps along the way that might be a little confusing. That’s why we have videos like this one to help you at every step. Just press the Help & Video button at the bottom of every screen for help with that particular screen.

 

After you register and have your login information handy, you can access your account information from your smartphone, or from our website, www.sprinklertimes.com.

 

Once you have logged into your account your first stop will be on the Welcome screen.

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TIMER

Your initial purchase included one timer program. Most homeowners only have one timer at their home, and will not need to purchase any additional timers.

 

However, if you do need to purchase additional timer programs, select the Add Additional Timer button.

 

A timer is also known as a controller, or sprinkler control box, and it operates your entire sprinkler system. As mentioned above, most homeowners have only one. It can usually be found mounted on a wall inside the garage, or on a wall on the outside of your house.

 

For each timer you have, you will want to purchase a timer for your Sprinkler Times application. If you need them, press the Add Additional Timer button to purchase more.

 

Another useful feature is the ability to change the name of your timer. By pressing the Edit button in the upper right corner, you can edit your timer name. If you have multiple timers, you can adjust the order in which they appear on your screen.

 

When you tap Edit, a pencil icon and a list icon will appear to the right of your timer name. Tap the pencil icon to edit the timer name, or tap the list icon to adjust the order of your timers.

 

To proceed to the next screen, tap the timer you would like to work on. If you only have one timer, tap that one to proceed.

 

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PURCHASE TIMER

Most properties have only one timer. Timers are sometimes referred to as controllers, but Sprinkler Times will refer to them as timers for consistency.

 

A timer will control several separate watering areas, called zones. If you have more than one sprinkler timer, you will want to purchase additional timer programs here.

 

If your property has more than one timer, you can purchase a Sprinkler Times scheduling program for the additional timers.

 

To purchase additional timers, tap the box next to “Enter Quantity” and select the number of additional timers you would like to purchase. Tap purchase when you are ready to submit your order.

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LOCATION

For this screen, you will need to provide Sprinkler Times with your zip code.

 

You can either select the Use My Current Location button and Sprinkler times will automatically input a zip code by using the GPS feature, or you can manually input a zip code.

 

Based on your zip code, Sprinkler Times will use 20 years of historical data to find the average monthly weather patterns for your area. This will help establish a pattern for your neighborhood’s unique watering needs, as each month has a different weather requirement for watering.

 

Now that you have your location needs set, select the Next button to move to the next screen.

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TIMER FEATURES

On the Timer Features screen, you will need to input the number of Programs, Start Times and Zones in your sprinkler system.

 

Programs

In general, you can determine the number of programs your timer has by looking at the control face plate of your sprinkler timer.

 

If you are unsure as to how many programs your timer has, you can either refer to your timer’s instruction manual, or go out to your timer and look for the answer on the controls.

 

Most timers have between two and four programs. Programs are usually marked on the timer control face plate with letters (1, 2, 3, 4) or numbers (A, B, C, D). You will find these on the timer’s face plate with a knob, slide switch, or on the screen.

 

The purpose of having multiple programs is so that you can water similar groups of plants on certain days, and other groups on other days. For example, you might want to water the grass every other day, while watering your shrubs just twice a week. Sprinkler Times will provide you with recommended settings for each of your programs.

 

Once you have identified your timer’s programs, enter that number in the space provided.

 

Start Times

Next, to develop an optimized watering program for you, Sprinkler Times needs to know the number of start times available on your timer. Start times are the number of cycles that your system will complete. Run times refer to the duration of time that your zone will be watered.

 

Multiple start times means your timer can calculate shorter run times, which will minimize water running off the target. This strategy may not eliminate runoff altogether, but it will help more of the water to soak into the root zone.

 

Start times are also sometimes called cycle starts. This is when your sprinklers will start watering your lawn. Most programs have between 3 and 8 start times. You should be able to find the number of start times in your timer’s instruction manual. Additionally, you can find them on a dial or button on your timer. Or right on the timer’s screen

 

Once you have identified the number of start times each program has, post that number in the space provided.

 

Zones

Zones are sometimes called stations, circuits or valve zones. Typically zones separate specific areas of your yard. For example, zone 1 might be your Front Grass, zone 2 your Back Grass, and Zone 3 the Side Bushes.

 

If you’re not sure how many zones you have, look on your sprinkler timer’s control face plate. You may be able to look at the number of control wires connected and identified within your timer. The best way is to manually start all available zones to count them.

 

Once you have identified the number of zones you have, enter that number in the space provided.

 

If at any point down the line you realize you need to change any of the numbers you’ve submitted on the Timer Features screen, press the Back button in the upper left corner until you return to the page. You will never lose any information by leaving a page and you will always be able to modify the values you provide.

 

After you have filled in those three fields, press the Next button to continue forward.

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ZONE FEATURES

The Zone Features page allows you to tell Sprinkler Times the plant type, sprinkler type, soil type, and sun exposure in each area or zone around your yard.

 

This information is essential so we can calculate an accurate base watering schedule for you.

 

Scroll left to right to access your zones and to select a zone to work on. You will be able to tell which zone you have selected because it will be lit up.

 

You can start with any zone you like, but all information must be completed for each zone. Don’t worry if you’re unsure as to any of your zone’s specific elements. We have descriptions for each feature, and even provide a suggested default value for soil if you’re unsure.

 

Once you are on a zone, select the plant type that is in that zone by tapping the Select button to the right.

 

Next, select the sprinkler type, then soil type, then finally the sun/shade exposure.

 

Don’t worry if you are unsure as to what any of these features mean. Once you tap the Select button you will move to a new screen with much more information about each option. If you are still unsure when you are on that screen, press the Help & Video button on that page for more detailed information.

 

Remember, you only have to do this step once for each zone so bear with us. If you have some zones that are identical to each other, you can use the Copy Zones feature to input the same information into multiple zones. This can be a helpful feature but be sure the zones are the same, especially the sprinkler and plant types.

 

You can also rename your zones by tapping the pencil icon. You won’t lose the zone number and you can add a name like “Front Lawn.”

 

You also have the option to take a picture of each of your zones. The picture will appear in the scrolling zone bar to help you quickly reference your zones. To do this, tap the camera image at the bottom of the screen. The picture you take with your smart phone will also transfer to your Sprinkler Times online account.

 

These features are extras but not necessary for calculating your schedule. Specifically, the copy, name change and camera features are intended to make it easier for you to distinguish the zones in your yard.

 

If at any point you need to add or delete zones, simply press the Back button until you arrive at the Timer Features page. There you can change the total number of zones to a total of 32 zones per timer.

 

Once you have entered the information for all your zones, tap Next to continue.

 

Remember, the goal of Sprinkler Times is to calculate your base watering schedule by accounting for your historical average weather conditions and the answers you provide for each zone. These are average input numbers to establish a base schedule. The base schedule will provide run times which should be very close based upon the inputs you told Sprinkler Times.

 

Just like a professional water manager, we will start you off with a base schedule. We will allow the computer to make the calculations and compensate for the seasonal changes. With confidence, you can now allow the new base schedule to stabilize for a week or so. Like professional water managers, you will need to adjust your base schedule later. We will help you to do that with the adjustment feature. And once you make the adjustments, the computer will provide you with the seasonal watering times.

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COPY ZONE INFO

To copy information from one zone into one or more other zones, scroll sideways to the zone you would like to copy. Your selected zone will be lit up.

 

Next, tap each zone you would like the information to be copied into. The zones you are copying into will light up and have a check mark.

 

Once you have finished, select Save in the upper right corner to submit your information and return to the Zone Features page.

 

If you are on this page by error and do not want to copy any of your zones, select Cancel in the upper left corner to return to the Zone Features page.

 

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PLANT TYPE

To select your plant type, tap the option that most closely resembles the plants in that zone. Once you’ve made your selection, press Save in the upper right to return to your zones page.

 

To change your selection, tap a different plant type. Or to remove your selection and come back to it, tap the check mark so that it disappears and press Save.

 

If you end up on this page in error, press Cancel in the upper left corner to return to your zones page.

 

The plant type is important for us to know because different plant types have very different watering needs. We will make recommendations based on the type of plant so just choose the one that best fits the planting in the zone area. You don’t have to be a botanist. Sprinkler Times will show you how to fine tune the zones later with the Water Adjustment feature.

 

Using the descriptions below, select the plant type that most closely resembles the plants in that zone.

 

  • Turfgrass: Normal Water should be selected for Kentucky Blue Grass, Rye Grass, Fescue Grass, and other similar grasses. This type of grass grows upright and has a relatively fine texture. They are typically called Cool Season Grasses because they tolerate cooler weather before they go dormant. This type of grass normally thrives in the top half of the United States but can also grow in the South.
  • Turfgrass: Less Water should be selected for Bermuda Grass, St. Augustine Grass, Kikuyu Grass and other similar grasses. This type of grass has more horizontal growth with coarse grass stems that grow laterally. They are commonly called Warm Season Grasses because they tolerate warmer climates better, and are rarely found in areas that get snow. In fact, they are most common in the Southern parts of the United States. They will require on average 15% less water than other Turfgrass selections.
  • Shrubs should be selected for zones with both shrubs and trees within the zone. If your shrubs are not native to your area, they will need your help growing and thriving there. You may find you will need more supplemental irrigation water here, so keep an eye on your shrubs and use the Watering Adjustment feature on the Schedule page if needed.
  • Shrubs Drought Tolerant should be selected for shrubs and trees that are native or native-like to your area, or more drought-tolerant than most irrigated shrubs in the area. This type of shrub is accustomed to the climate of your area so they do not need as much help growing. You will still want to watch them and adjust accordingly with the Water Adjustment feature on the Schedule page.
  • Annual Flowers should be selected for annual flower beds which typically require frequent watering to keep the soil moist but not soggy. This selection should not be chosen for woody ornamental shrub types with flowers, like roses or azaleas. It should be chosen for flower beds with herbaceous type flowers.
  • Newly Planted should be selected for zones that have new plants. These plants are just establishing their roots into the soil, so they need more water than established plants. Be sure to mark your calendar to adjust their watering schedule once they are established and have roots in the soil. This generally takes two to three months. Once the new plantings are established, change your selection to the proper permanent setting.

 

Mixed plant zones are not ideal for landscapes, so when this situation arises, you will have to alter your water allocation for that zone to account for multiple watering needs. An example of a mixed zone is having Turfgrass: Normal Water and Shrubs Drought Tolerant in the same zone.

 

Correcting this may require that you contact your local irrigation service provider to change your sprinkler piping. Or you could rearrange your plants. It seems like a lot of trouble, but you will want to make sure that you have similar plant groupings in each zone to provide optimum calculations and savings.

 

If you do have a mixed zone, choose the plant type that requires the most water. Your other plant type may get too much water, but you won’t have any plants going dry.

 

In the order of most water required to least water required, the plant selections are:

 

  • New Plants
  • Annual Flowers
  • Turfgrass: Normal Water
  • Turfgrass: Less Water
  • Shrubs and Trees
  • Shrubs: Drought Tolerant

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SPRINKLER TYPE

To select your sprinkler type, tap the option that most closely resembles the sprinklers in that zone. Once you have made your selection, press Save in the upper right to return to your Zone Features page.

 

To change your selection, tap a different sprinkler type. Or to remove your selection and come back to it, tap the check mark again (so it disappears) and press Save.

 

If you end up on this page in error, press Cancel in the upper left corner to return to your Zone Features page.

 

Different sprinkler heads distribute water at varying rates and efficiencies, resulting in a wide variety of distribution uniformity. Using the descriptions below, select the sprinkler type that most closely resembles the sprinklers in that zone.

 

  • Spray Heads water in a fan shape, put down water fast, and are marginally uniform or efficient.
  • Rotor Heads shoot water in a single stream, rotating slowly in a circle, and are usually very efficient.
  • Multi-Stream Rotor Heads distribute water in multiple rotating streams that resemble multiple fingers. They tend to put water down very slowly, with good uniformity and efficiency.
  • Drip Emitters connect to flexible tubing and distribute water slowly through small holes that sit at the base of the plant. It is not uncommon to have several emitters on a single plant.The application rates for drip emitter systems can vary greatly and the water may be distributed unevenly. Further, there may be more emitters on some plants and fewer on other plants. These zones should be monitored carefully. You will want to use the Watering Adjustment feature as appropriate.
  • Bubblers distribute water in a small umbrella shaped fountain right at the root zone. They are typically used at the base of a tree. Bubblers apply water very quickly.

 

If you have more than one sprinkler type in a zone, choose the sprinkler that distributes the least amount of water. Otherwise you risk some plants not getting enough water. In other words, you will need to water for the worst case situation.

 

In the order of most water applied to least water applied, the sprinkler selections are:

  • Bubblers
  • Sprays
  • Rotors
  • Multi-Stream Rotors
  • Drip

 

Of course, it will not matter what kind of sprinkler you have if your sprinklers are malfunctioning. We recommend inspecting your system before setting your timers. Repair any broken underground piping and broken sprinkler heads, redirect sprinkler heads that are off target, and reposition sprinklers that are too low, blocked or tilted.

 

It is very important to conduct an inspection to make sure all your sprinklers are pointing towards the appropriate part of your landscape and that they are applying water in the uniform pattern that they are set up to do.

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SOIL TYPE

To select your soil type, tap the option that most closely resembles the soil in that zone. Once you have made your selection, press Save in the upper right to return to your Zone Features screen.

 

To change your selection, tap a different soil type. Or to remove your selection and come back to it, tap the check mark again (so it disappears) and press Save.

 

If you end up on this page in error, press Cancel in the upper left corner to return to your Zone Features page.

 

There are three types of soil to choose from in Sprinkler Times: Sand, Loam and Clay.

  • Sand soil is light, breaks apart easily, and is made up of large soil particles. It is silky texture allows water to pass through it very quickly.
  • Loam soil is a medium mixture of sand, clay and silt, with a combination of small, medium and large soil particles. Loam has a medium texture that fractures easily and is easy for roots to grow through it.
  • Clay soil is a heavier soil with very small soil particles that hold together tightly when wet and are hard to split apart when dry. Water does not pass through clay soil easily.

 

To choose your soil type, tap the selection that most closely matches the soil in your zone. Once you’ve made your selection, tap Save to continue.

 

Sprinkler Times uses the soil type factor to determine watering frequency– based on how fast your type of soil can absorb water.

 

If you are still unsure, we recommend selecting loam soil since that is the most common. You always have the option to change your selection later.

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SUN/SHADE EXPOSURE

To select your sun exposure, tap the option that most closely resembles the exposure in that zone. Once you’ve made your selection, press save in the upper right to return to your zones page.

 

To change your selection, tap a different exposure option. Or to remove your selection and come back to it, tap the check mark so that it disappears. Then press Save.

 

If you end up on this page in error, press Cancel in the upper left corner to return to your Zone Features page.

 

When selecting your sun exposure, make sure to select the highest sun exposure that any part of the zone gets. Sprinkler Times wants to account for the most amount of sun possible for the subject zone.

 

If, for example, most of your zone is in the shade, but some of it does get full sun exposure, select Full Sun. You may use a little more water this way, but your exposed plants won’t go dry. Unfortunately, you will always need to water for the worst or most problematic condition.

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SUMMARY

The Summary screen gives you a chance to review all of your selections before calculating your schedule.

 

Please be advised: If there is ANY missing information on an active zone, that zone will not show up on any of the scheduling pages.

 

In addition, if you have entered an incorrect value for any of your zone or timer features, the recommended watering times on your schedule page will not be accurate.

 

To return to a specific zone and make changes, press the arrow that correlates with it. You will be taken back to that particular zone screen so you can change the information accordingly.

 

Once you are satisfied with all your information, press the Calculate Schedule button in the top right to move to the next page.

 

If you move to the next page and realize you want to change something, don’t worry. You can always go back and edit your information. Your information will not be lost when you go back.

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EDIT ZONE FEATURES

Edit your zone information and press the Save button to return to your Summary screen.

 

If you’ve come to this screen in error, press the Cancel button in the upper left to return to your Summary screen.

 

The Zone Features page allows you to tell Sprinkler Times the plant type, sprinkler type, soil type, and sun exposure in each area or zone around your yard.

 

This information is essential so we can calculate an accurate base watering schedule for you.

 

Scroll left to right to access your zones and to select a zone to work on. You will be able to tell which zone you have selected because it will be lit up.

 

You can start with any zone you like, but all information must be completed for each zone. Don’t worry if you’re unsure as to any of your zone’s specific elements. We have descriptions for each feature, and even provide a suggested default value for soil if you’re unsure.

 

Once you are on a zone, select the plant type that is in that zone by tapping the Select button to the right.

 

Next, select the sprinkler type, then soil type, then finally the sun/shade exposure.

 

Don’t worry if you are unsure as to what any of these features mean. Once you tap the Select button you will move to a new screen with much more information about each option. If you are still unsure when you are on that screen, press the Help & Video button on that page for more detailed information.

 

Remember, you only have to do this step once for each zone so bear with us. If you have some zones that are identical to each other, you can use the Copy Zones feature to input the same information into multiple zones. This can be a helpful feature but be sure the zones are the same, especially the sprinkler and plant types.

 

You can also rename your zones by tapping the pencil icon. You won’t lose the zone number and you can add a name like “Front Lawn.”

 

You also have the option to take a picture of each of your zones. The picture will appear in the scrolling zone bar to help you quickly reference your zones. To do this, tap the camera image at the bottom of the screen. The picture you take with your smart phone will also transfer to your Sprinkler Times online account.

 

These features are extras but not necessary for calculating your schedule. Specifically, the copy, name change and camera features are intended to make it easier for you to distinguish the zones in your yard.

 

If at any point you need to add or delete zones, simply press the Back button until you arrive at the Timer Features page. There you can change the total number of zones to a total of 32 zones per timer.

 

Once you have entered the information for all your zones, tap Next to continue.

 

Remember, the goal of Sprinkler Times is to calculate your base watering schedule by accounting for your historical average weather conditions and the answers you provide for each zone. These are average input numbers to establish a base schedule. The base schedule will provide run times which should be very close based upon the inputs you told Sprinkler Times.

 

Just like a professional water manager, we will start you off with a base schedule. We will allow the computer to make the calculations and compensate for the seasonal changes. With confidence, you can now allow the new base schedule to stabilize for a week or so. Like professional water managers, you will need to adjust your base schedule later. We will help you to do that with the adjustment feature. And once you make the adjustments, the computer will provide you with the seasonal watering times.

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SCHEDULE

Your schedule page has all the information you will need to program your sprinkler timer. Be sure to look through all your programs by pressing the programs buttons A or B etc. This will insure you capture all of the information.

 

You can preview the schedules for any month by pressing the arrows next to the month name.

 

Each program will indicate which zones you should run on that particular program, as well as the number of minutes each zone should run for. Pay particular attention as all zones may not be on each program and they may not run in sequence. You may have zones 1, 2 & 5 on Program A. Which means Zones 3 & 4 are likely on another program, maybe Program B.

 

Below the program buttons, you will see the number of minutes Sprinkler Times recommends running your sprinklers for each zone.

 

At the bottom of that table you will see the Number of Start Times per Day. This tells you how often each zone should be watered per day.

 

Next is the Number of Days per Week to run each zone in that program. Be sure to spread out the days per week. In other words, do not water in consecutive days if you do not need to. Also, for lawns, schedule the timer to water the morning after a mowing event and going forward spread the watering days throughout the week as practical.

 

Finally, Minutes Between Start Times is provided to allow the water to soak into the ground before you start the next watering cycle. This is primarily based off of the soil you selected. For example, water needs more time to soak into clay soil, whereas sand soil absorbs water very quickly, so there is minimal runoff.

 

In short the duration of watering minutes will provide the correct amount of water to each zone. And the frequency of start cycles and time between starts will help drive the water, in correct amounts, to the root zones, and minimize runoff.

 

Remember, the goal of Sprinkler Times is to calculate your base watering schedule by accounting for your historical average weather conditions and the answers you provide for each zone. These are average input numbers to establish a base schedule. The base schedule will provide run times which should be very close based upon the inputs you told Sprinkler Times.

 

Now here is where you come in. Allow the base schedule to operate for a few weeks. Now observe the state of each individual zone. Is it getting too much or too little water? Make adjustments to each zone by using the Watering Adjustment factor. You will adjust the water allocated for each zone up or down, until you hit that perfect balance.

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WATERING ADJUSTMENT

Sprinkler times uses the same methodology of professional water managers.

 

You have created a good base watering schedule. Now, your base schedule is ready to be fine-tuned after a short period of monitoring (we recommend one to three weeks).

 

To fine tune, you will use the adjustment factors but you won’t have to enter all of your landscape data again.

 

Fine tuning your watering program is an extremely important part of creating your annual watering schedule. It is very likely you will have to increase or decrease the adjustment factor after you have monitored your landscape.

 

Here’s how you do it:
Allow the base schedule to operate for a short period of time; we recommend one to three weeks.

 

Proactively monitor your zones and make notes as to which zones are getting too much or too little water. Enter the appropriate adjustments into the Sprinkler Times Water Adjustment feature by selecting the zone you would like to adjust, and picking the percentage you would like to increase or decrease your water usage by. This will produce a new schedule for you to input into your own timer.

 

Repeat this process as required, probably three or four times, and you will have developed an excellent watering schedule for your landscape. Once you hit the best schedule, Sprinkler Times will account for monthly weather changes and provide you with monthly schedules that are matched and tuned to your conditions, your landscape, and your weather.

 

Sprinkler Times constantly accounts for the changes in seasonal weather, and will remember this adjustment for you, so all the adjustments will be carried forward to future months.

 

By the way the reason we use 10% increments is to make adjustments in whole minutes and not fractions of minutes. Most timers will not accept fractions of minutes.

 

At this point, you will only need to modify the adjustment factors. You do not need to re-enter any of the other information you have already put in.

 

The only exception where you will need to return to the previous landscape zone feature screen is if you change the physical conditions of your yard or sprinkler system.

 

To save your adjustments and view your newly adjusted schedule, tap Save. To cancel these adjustments, tap Cancel.

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