Sprinkler System

It's easy to forget how important water is in our lives. Of course we need it in our diet, but in our homes, it's a tool--a fluid medium that carries material from one place to the next. And one of the reasons it does this job well is that it's very good at holding things, either by suspending them or dissolving them.

The goal of automation for lawn and garden irrigation is to provide a more efficient and economical use of water by, for example, preventing lawns being watered when it is raining or has rained sufficiently recently. It can also prevent damage from over watering or watering during freezing conditions. Automation can also make it easy to manually control the irrigation system from inside the home.
Get advance notice of potentially hazardous water leaks with a system that alerts you when leaking water is detected. The Water Bug Leak Detection System can be used with virtually any security/home automation system that accepts a dry contact closure as a signal, including X10-based systems, Sensaphone systems, and more.

Sprinkler System

It's easy to forget how important water is in our lives. Of course we need it in our diet, but in our homes, it's a tool--a fluid medium that carries material from one place to the next. And one of the reasons it does this job well is that it's very good at holding things, either by suspending them or dissolving them.

The Solution Is The Problem

While water is in the ground, it picks up soluble bits of whatever it passes through. While this can mean contamination that makes the water unfit to drink, in many cases it simply means that the water contains minerals found in the earth. Of these, calcium and magnesium are of particular importance because they affect the water's ability to function in our homes. These minerals make our water hard.

One effect of hard water is that soaps and detergents lose some effectiveness. Instead of dissolving completely, soap combines with the minerals to form a coagulated soap curd. Because less soap is dissolved, more is required. And the sticky insoluble curd hangs around--it clings to the skin and may actually inhibit cleansing. Washed hair seems dull and lifeless.

Another reason to be concerned about hard water is its effect on your plumbing system. Calcium and magnesium deposits can build up in pipes, reducing flow to taps and appliances. In water heaters, these minerals generate a scale buildup that reduces the efficiency and life of the heater.

Water Softners

Unlike most tools, though, water doesn't come with an instruction manual. If it did, you'd know why the dishes you thought were washed are covered with spots when dry, why the water in your shower leaves a film on everything it touches, and why what you thought was clean water has clogged up your plumbing system.

Water passing through the mineral tank loses positively charged calcium and magnesium ions to negatively charged plastic beads. The brine tank holds a salt solution that flushes the mineral tank, replacing calcium and magnesium ions with sodium. A meter at the top of the mineral tank regulates recharging cycles. The valve assembly routes water flow for each phase of the regeneration cycle.

The solution to the problem is to get rid of the calcium and magnesium. While there are chemical treatments that do this, the most popular answer is a water softener.




Water Leakage Problem?
The WaterBug Leak Detection System comes with one surface sensor. You can also add up to 5 additional sensors (expansion sensors sold separately).

• Works with virtually any security or home automation system
• Each sensor can be up to 100 ft. away
• Normally open and normally closed contact outputs provided
• Up to 6 sensors can be attached

Water Cop
"Of course, the most dramatic way water gets wasted in a house is when something breaks and leaks. Each year more than five million water heaters rupture, flooding basements across the land. DynaQuip Controls' WaterCop, a small black box that attaches to the main water supply, automatically shuts off the water when it detects a leak." The Wall Street Journal, May 2002

The Wall Street Journal has featured four articles since June 2002 about homeowners insurance highlighting policy cancellations and homes being uninsurable. Two or more claims in five years, especially for water damage, and your home may have become uninsurable or have huge premiums. Uninsurable means unsellable!

Study Your Homeowners Policy: Allied/Nationwide amended our Iowa homeowner's policy with a $10,000 cap on mold and mildew mitigation. In many states, insurance companies now offer NO coverage at all for mold and mildew mitigation.

Reactive Reasons for Recent WaterCop Purchases.
$36,000 damage: refrigerator water dispenser water line
$150,000 damage: dishwasher with a slow leak
$10,000 damage: tube splits in 2nd story toilet tank in townhouse.
Proactive Measures for Water Damage Control:
Install a WaterCop with Water Hounds under/behind clothes and dishwashers, hot water heaters, water and ice dispensing refrigerators, toilets, etc.
Install hot water heaters and washers above the basement level in "pans."
Use steel reinforced water hoses for washers and dishwashers.
Inspect weekly for water leaks.


Shouldn't your home or office be safe from its own plumbing? These modern conveniences frequently leak and cause water damage:
1) Washing machines.
2) Icemakers or water dispensers on refrigerators.
3) Dishwashers.
4) Hot water heaters.
5) Toilets, sinks, bathtubs, and showers.
6) Water softeners.
7) Exterior spigots for watering shrubs.
8) Lawn irrigation systems.
9) Furnace humidifiers.
10) NOTE: Our customers' top 3 reasons for buying WaterCops are jammed water refrigerator dispensers, dishwasher leaks and water heater leaks.

What if the leak is not noticed?
Leak detection takes more than keen eyes. Slow leaks often occur under kitchen appliances such as dishwashers. The result can be serious damage, inconvenience, and repair bills. Frozen pipes from furnace failure, power outages, or garden hoses left attached to outdoor spigots in Northern climates generate faster leaks sooner or later. WaterCops with properly positioned WaterHounds and FreezeHounds help keep damage to a minimum. Connect with a dial out monitor such as the Temperature Guard Plus or interface with a security system and you are notified of a water leak almost immediately.

WaterCop's motorized brass ball valve unit responds almost immediately when a Water Hound or Freeze Hound transmits a radio signal indicating a water leak or low pipe temperature. The main water supply or water in the protected zone of the building is automatically shut off. Connects to alarm systems for immediate notification of water leaks.

Don't Over Water Your Lawn After a Rain
Don't over-water your lawn or plants after a rainstorm. This sensor will cut off your existing sprinkler controller from activating the valves and wasting water.

The Mini-Click sensor contains special hygroscopic disks, which absorb water when it rains and simulates the drying of the turf. The rainfall sensitivity is adjustable from 1/8-inch to 1-inch, so a light shower won't interrupt regular watering. The reset rate (the speed at which the sensor "dries out") is also adjustable.

A heavy-duty 10.1 amp rating allows the Rain Sensor to control most any irrigation systems without additional relays.

Two models are available
normally closed contacts. The contacts are closed when the sensor is dry and opens when rain is detected. It closes when hygroscopic disks dry out. This model would most commonly be used to interrupt the current out of the common terminal on a sprinkler controller. It can also be used as a turf sensor so the lawn is not over watered.

normally open contacts. This model's contacts are open under normal conditions and close when rain is detected. When the sensor dries out, the contacts return to an open condition. This model is ideal for turning something on when rain is detected.

Connect either sensor to your home automation controller. They can connect to the digital inputs on a Stargate, Home Vision, or similar controller. To trigger an X10 signal, connect the output to a Powerflash module.


Evapotranspiration is the water lost to the atmosphere by two processes: evaporation and transpiration. Evaporation is the loss from open bodies of water, such as lakes and reservoirs, wetlands, bare soil, and snow cover; transpiration is the loss from living-plant surfaces. Several factors other than the physical characteristics of the water, soil, snow, and plant surface also affect the evapotranspiration process. The more important factors include net solar radiation, surface area of open bodies of water, wind speed, density and type of vegetative cover, availability of soil moisture, root depth, reflective land-surface characteristics, and season of year.

Irrigation System Overview
The design of a lawn and garden irrigation system is fairly simple (see Figure 4.8.1). A standard, non-automated irrigation system consists of a series of low-voltage solenoid operated water valves (usually 24V AC),connected to the house water supply. Each solenoid valve controls the water flow to one area or zone of a lawn or garden. The valves are wired to a timer/controller device (electronic or electro-mechanical). The timer will usually allow the owner to store a watering schedule for each zone. The timer/controller will automatically turn on (open) each valve at a predetermined time for a programmed period.

A typical schedule might be to turn zone 1 on at 6:00, zone 2 on at 6:20, zone 3 on at 6:40 and zone 4 on at 7:00 AM, Mon, Wed, and Fri for 20 minutes at a time.

Typical irrigation system. System controls 4 zones for watering from one controller/timer.

For example, if the wind sensor indicates a high wind, the home automation system may delay turning the sprinklers on until the winds subside. But if it detects rain, it may skip the watering day till the next scheduled watering. Home automation systems can use other inputs to delay or turn off watering such as detection by a security sensor of someone in the yard, a freezing condition from the HVAC sensors, or a party mode selected by the homeowners.

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