Tuesday, June 26, 2007

At it again

Over the course of the last two nights, I created a fancy Excel spreadsheet to keep track of my sprinkler timings. See, this recent heatwave has uncovered serious flaws in my run times that have resulted in large brown areas of the lawn in some places, and lush green grass elsewhere.

Now, you'd think this wouldn't be such a big deal to figure out, excepting I have 36 sprinkler zones. Now go off and do a little googling to discover exactly how much it costs to get a 36-zone sprinkler controller. If you find one under $500, let me know. The brilliant! previous owners of my house solved the problem by installing 3 8-zone and one 12-zone controller. Total cost of that probably closer to $200.

The problem being that it becomes quite a chore to keep all the run times from overlapping. Especially given that the gear-driven zones (9), the drip zones (3), and the popup zones require dramatically different run times, number of days per week of running, and number of times per day to run. Amongst the 4 controllers, I am able to support roughly 21 starts. I, of course, like to keep things simple, so I only use 6.

But then, as it gets hotter, I find myself adding five minutes here and there to a zone. And then something else turns brown, and I discover it's because one of the programs on one of the other controllers is now starting before this one is ending, and the whole thing becomes a domino effect that results in me having large brown spots in the lawn. We don't have anywhere near enough water pressure to run two zones simultaneously. Or even, really, to take a decent 5-head shower while the sprinklers are running.

Once I had the whole thing in Excel, though, I could very easily play with run times and start times and see how that waterfalled through the programs such that I could push out start times to accommodate the run time changes. I expect my lawn will begin to green right up again.

Except I have about 6 sprinkler heads that will need physical intervention due to trees, fence posts, being 30 degrees of vertical, or clogged. I'll get to that right after the trampoline - a job that would have been done already if only I had half-assed it. But, hey, I got my first search engine hit to "in-ground trampoline installation" today. Some dude in England. Maybe I can turn it into a community service post like I did with my snow blower review.

On a lighter note, StinkyJ is going to be in town on bidness in two weeks. He'll be able to join us for Fat Camp, perhaps. When I told The Mrs. that he'd be dropping by, she announced to HannahC that they'd better start cleaning the house.

I probably should have given her more notice.


ellie said...

granny has a cow sprinkler she might lend you for the dry spots.

ellie said...

you might want to check out your new ads--some cool ideas about trampolines.

Anonymous said...

That sounds exactly like my job every night. Trying to get everything to fit and co-ordinate time wise. Only difference is I have 57 drivers to do that with. Who gets what on what truck and how much will fit and how many DOT hours does everybody have left for the week and we have to save hours for the big sale Saturday etc etc etc. This store has to go at this time and this one has inventory and blah blah blah for 5000 accounts. This store has to have a certain truck because the lift gate on a different truck wont line up with the dock. The one right next door to that needs a different truck with out a lift gate. This driver wants a certain stop or he will whine like a big crybaby. wah wah wah AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH. Try doing that for 8 hrs 6 days a week - no wonder I am insane heheheHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

CherkyB said...

I knew you before you had this job, and you were insane then, too.

Rhonda said...

my god man you aren't rationing the water? We're in the middle of a world crisis and your sprinkler is watering the yard?!
This is inconceivable!!!

Anonymous said...

Crisis? That damn Al Gore uses 23,000 gallons of water a month to keep the fescue of his estate looking nice. I'm not going to live with guilt, and nor should you.

blogauthor said...

Yes indeed, we live oddly parallel lives. My father rigged up a massive irrigation system for our lawn and damn if it doesn't work! The first two tries were abysmal failures but now I have quigasquad computer in my garage that runs it all, and you know ... a spreadsheet is not a bad idea ..