Having several sprinklers around your lawn and garden can be a very convenient way to keep your grass and plants looking their best without you having to do manual watering.

But what happens if your sprinklers keep cycling over and over? This is normally due to the programming start times being too abundant.

Programming Start Times

While many controllers can handle a dozen or more different start and stop times, some can get bogged down due to a feature called “stacking.”

If you have too many start times programmed into your controller, you may notice the programming is getting confused with zone start times and station run times.

Controllers can be set up in a couple different ways. Most people will set a start and stop time for one zone, then set a start and stop time for a second zone, and so on.

However, this will force the program to run through the start and stop cycles fully each time, which can lead to multiple schedules getting glitched or bugged out.

Understanding the System

Having a lawn sprinkling system is extremely convenient, but can also be somewhat confusing if you are unfamiliar with the common terms that go with the system. Some of the most basic terms you should know are:

  • Valve – This is part of the station’s circuit that opens and closes to water each area. Valves can be clogged by dirt and debris, so if you notice a valve leaking or sticking open or shut, a simple cleaning can normally fix this issue.
  • Zone – This is the actual part of the circuit that will be receiving water at the time. You will normally have a single station, but can have a dozen zones for your front and back yard, or garden areas.
  • Controller – This is the electronic device that tells the station and zones when they will be turning on or off. A controller can have different schedules programmed into it so the system will automatically turn on and off.

Understanding the Programming

The controller and its programming can be a bit more confusing when it comes to terms and how to use it, and each controller will be different.

Your controller’s user manual will be extremely helpful when it comes to understanding the programming. Basic terms for the controller and it’s programming will include:

  • Run Time – This is the block of time that the valves will be opened for in each zone. If Zone 3 has a daily run time of 10 minutes at 8am, the valves will open at 8am and close at 8:10am every morning.
  • Stop – This tells your controller to halt watering schedules. This is handy during the winter or if you are doing some morning landscaping..
  • Manual Setting – This gives you full control over which valve will turn on and for how long. This is a very useful setting when making repairs to the circuit or when replacing or cleaning valves.