Smart Sprinkler System Saves Water in the Yard

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With its WiFi-connected smart controller and corresponding mobile app, the Rachio sprinkler system promises to save homeowners water and money. Photo: Rachio

With its Wi-Fi–connected smart controller and corresponding mobile app, the Rachio sprinkler system promises to save homeowners water and money. Photo: Rachio

If you’ve ever been frustrated to see a lawn sprinkler running in the rain or out of season, you may want to check this gadget out.

Created by Denver startup Rachio, the Iro smart sprinkler system uses a Wi-Fi–enabled controller, a cloud connection, and a corresponding Web and mobile app to adjust watering schedules to conserve water.

According to the EPA, more than 90 percent of households use a timer on their lawn sprinkler systems. These timers have no way of knowing when it’s raining or if your lawn has already gotten too much water — meaning as much as 50 percent of residential irrigation water goes to waste in the U.S.

The Iro system automatically adjusts for changes in weather and seasons, using as little water as possible, and it will also learn from you as you teach it about the unique characteristics of your yard — tweaking watering schedules over time.

This diagram shows how the Iro sprinkler controller connects to existing and new home sprinkler systems, helping homeowners cut back on water use. Photo: Rachio

This diagram shows how the Iro sprinkler controller connects to existing and new home sprinkler systems, helping homeowners cut back on water use. Photo: Rachio

So, how does it work? Rachio sets a schedule for you the second you connect the Iro controller to your home Wi-Fi and sprinkler system. It customizes the schedule based on your location, taking into account regional characteristics and even the soil composition in your area.

The system is optimized around rain, wind and humidity, and you can easily see how much water you save month to month with personalized water reports.

Rachio has completed its hardware and most of its software for the new system, and the Iro already made its debut at the product showcase at GigaOM’s Mobilize conference in October, where it took home the top title.

The company is finalizing where it will manufacture the sprinkler controller units, which will be compatible with existing and new home sprinkler systems. Denver native and Rachio co-founder Christopher Klein told GigaOM he plans to have the sprinklers manufactured in the company’s home state of Colorado.

The first Iro systems will ship in spring 2014 and are priced at a modest $199.

The company notes that there are limited quantities for the spring shipment. So, if you’re interested in snagging one for yourself, be sure to pre-order to be one of the first to get one.

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Mary Mazzoni

Mary Mazzoni

Mary is a lifelong vegetarian and enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, biking and relaxing in the park. When she’s not outside, she’s probably watching baseball. She is a former assistant editor for Earth911.
Mary Mazzoni