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.