Review: Rachio Iro Smarter Sprinkler System

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Texas homeowners who enroll on our Pollution Free™ WaterSaver 24 electricity plan can now receive a free Rachio Iro. To explain this smart controller for automatic sprinkler systems, Andrea Ortega-Toledano, Green Mountain Energy’s Director of Product Innovation, shares her experience using it.

Rachio IroMy family and I live outside Houston, Texas. If you know Houston, you know it’s HOT. That means for at least five months of the year, we’re dependent on our sprinkler systems to keep lawns looking well-maintained and cared-for.

However, there’s a balance between having your yard turn into a dusty desert and over-watering the lawn, driving up water bills and needlessly consuming this precious resource. I love a green lawn, but I want to BE green, too.

Previously, we would water our lawn every other day. Due to our busy schedules, my husband and I often forgot to adjust the sprinkler schedule to account for rainfall. Enter the Rachio Iro, a “smart” sprinkler controller, which can help water when you need it and cut it off when you don’t.

Because the Iro monitors local weather conditions based on my zip code and adjusts my sprinkler system automatically, I now have peace of mind that we’re not wasting water (and money) by running the sprinkler system when it’s raining or there is plenty of humidity.

The Iro isn’t always on auto-pilot, though. I can still make judgment calls and run the sprinkler manually if I see an area of my lawn that needs extra attention.

YardMy favorite part of the Iro is what I’m doing for the environment. I can tell how much water I am saving – 2,500 gallons since I installed it last October! – and I feel like part of a community because I also see via the mobile app how much all Iro users are saving collectively. I also like that I get communications from Rachio when the Iro reduces the time for irrigation or when I inadvertently skip using the sprinkler system.

From a technical standpoint, the Iro relies on my home’s Wi-Fi to operate. Recently, my husband bought a new router, which interrupted the Iro’s Internet connection. A Rachio customer service rep called me to inform me that our Iro was no longer connected, so I reconnected the device with just a few steps.

Since not all landscapes, lawns and vegetation are created equal, the Iro provides the option to specify which types of soil and plants are located in each zone of my yard. It’s this type of granularity that helps me conserve even more water.

This video does a good job explaining how the Iro works. Watch below for more information! Also, to purchase the standalone product, view our Specialty Products store.