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Saturday, September 23rd 2017, 2:21pm

Should I get a smart controller?

I have a few questions regarding irrigation systems, as I know nothing about them. I will post each of them individually. Here is the background:

We inherited a sprinkler system 7 years ago, when we bought a house built in 1972 in Portland, OR. Supposedly (according to the person who maintained it but didn’t install it for the prior owner) the system was installed in parts over time, as it has both galvanized steel and PVC pipes. A few heads were replaced, some were shut down during the past few years. The system is functional but some of the heads no longer go down, some spray erratically and water the side walk and fences, etc. The maintenance guy tells us that "removing a sprinkler head is a major challenge; put a wrench to it and the pipe below may crack. One day soon you either see your water bill going high up or a muddy sink hole in your garden.“. The current system has 6 zones, an Orbit controller, a mixture of head types and 3 valve boxes. The house is on a slope so the ground is relatively flat in the front and back but sloping on the 2 sides. We have grass on all sides and some flower/bush areas.

I asked for proposals from the current maintenance guy and 2 more companies in this business and asked them for their professional opinion about potentially “upgrading" the existing system. All 3 only wanted to bid only on a new system, stating that probably I would end up paying almost the same for upgrading the old system with no guarantee for its reliability.
I got the 3 proposals, all of them quoted for a much higher price than expected and with contradicting recommendations and comments, which really confused me. I have no idea whom I can trust (or not).

One of the contractors recommended usage of a smart controller (Rain Bird ESP-SMTe). He said that after he does the initial adjustment, we would not have to do anything. The other one, when asked about it said that " they are still to complicated for home owners, I do not recommend them unless you are very technical savvy”. I do not want to ask for any headaches or build in ongoing maintenance/support issues, but I would love to have a smart system that can determine watering needs based on actual circumstances. I am not very handy and while I can, I prefer not to read periodically long manuals and struggle with adjustments. Usually in Portland a rain sensor is not helpful because it either rains most of the time or never rains (during the summer). Which contractor should I believe?

This is the first time I post. Will I get an Email if someone responds?


This post has been edited 1 times, last edit by "Olga17" (Sep 23rd 2017, 2:28pm)

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