How To Save Irrigation Water During Winter

Surprisingly winter is one of the best times to save irrigation water. From now through April-May, your JAIN Unity smart irrigation controller provides significant payback toward annual water and cost savings. Depending on geographic location in the U.S., you may shut down your irrigation system altogether or only need to water minimally. A unique Unity feature, precious in the winter months, uses forecasted weather to eliminate unnecessary irrigation. It automatically adjusts your schedule to cancel daily watering up to a 7-day forecast outlook before it rains.

JAIN Unity Helps Winterize Irrigation Systems

Jain Unity allows changes to your irrigation settings for one or hundreds of sites in minutes from the comfort of your office or home. In addition, remote access through Jain Unity’s online account means you don’t have to get in your truck to go on-site or physically be in front of the controller to program winter irrigation suspension reductions and shutdowns. At the same time, you can put your Unity on auto-pilot for the first day you want it to start managing a regular intelligent irrigation schedule again with the return of Spring!

Following are a few ways to conserve the most water with Unity in the winter season where you live.

Cold Climates

Freezing temperatures are a significant threat to irrigation systems. Sprinkler pipes and other components risk freezing and breaking when temperatures drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in an area of the country where you need to take measures to protect your irrigation system from freezing, you should “Suspend” your smart controller. This will stop the controller from watering entirely until the chosen suspension end date you’ve scheduled is reached.

Also, suppose you’re draining or flushing the water in your irrigation system valves. In that case, we strongly recommend placing a suspension on your controller as part of this winterization to avoid activating “dry valves” that would result in costly damages.

To create a suspension, go to the Controller Overview page in your Unity online account. Then, click on Suspend in the menu bar; enter the desired suspension start/end dates. Once you’ve saved your suspension, you should see the ‘Paus’ symbol ( || ) on the ‘Next 7 Days Forecasted Watering’ panel on the controller’s Overview section and the Site-level Overview section summary detail Y/N if a controller has been suspended.

Winterize Your Irrigation System: Temperate Climates

In areas of the country where it doesn’t freeze, or a typical freeze will last for only a few hours, Unity recommends you configure your Rainfall Forecast Suspension settings to maximize outdoor water use and cost savings in the winter season.

From the Controller Overview page in your Unity online account, click “Forecast Rain” in the menu options. Next, click the “Edit” link to set your rain threshold settings. When factoring weather forecasts, Unity will only look ahead to the number of days you input and will only suspend watering for rain events if the probability is over what you specify. Repeat this for each controller on a site where you would like the forecast feature applied.

As there’s rain in the forecast, Unity will automatically check to see if any stations on the selected controllers are scheduled to water. If your forecast percentage is met or exceeded, scheduled irrigation can be interrupted, provided that the plant’s needs have been met.

Additional Off-Season Maintenance

While you can program winter settings for your Unity smart irrigation remotely from anywhere and monitor your irrigation system anytime, it’s good practice to check the controller at the end of the year physically. During the colder weather months, some insects or rodents may be more inclined to attempt to get into your controller enclosure. This could cause damage that is not covered under warranty. To help avoid this damage, check your controller, and make sure there are no easy entries into the enclosure. In addition, we recommend using a flexible foam filler to seal any gaps in the controller.

When getting ready to restart your irrigation controller for the new Spring irrigation season, makes sure to tighten all end caps and check for leaks or any damage that may have occurred over winter. Next, confirm the controller’s wireless communication modem is in working order by performing a ‘Test Dial’ directly on the controller or remotely through your Unity online account. Then do a ‘wet test’ of all your irrigation stations/zones to check your irrigation valves are all working and you’ll be fully prepared for our smart, automatic water scheduling to manage your landscape’s replenishment needs through the warm and hot weather months.

Customer Care

If you need help programming your Unity or ETwater smart controller for winter irrigation shutdown or scheduling reduction, don’t hesitate to contact our Customer Care. You can conveniently reach the Care team by phone at (888) 685-5505, by email etw_service@jainsusa.com or via the Live Chat feature in your Unity online dashboard or Unity Mobile on your Smartphone.

JAIN appreciates your business! Feel free to contact us anytime. We’re here to help you work smarter and keep your landscape green and healthy.

Tools & Docs

If any of you have any additional ways to use smart controllers in the winter, we would love to hear about them in the comments section. If you enjoyed this article, please consider subscribing to our blog.

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