Have questions regarding the Generation 2 Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller? In this article, you will find some frequently asked questions (and answers) that may help you with your Generation 2.
What happens if I lose power?
Our Rachio controllers have memory built into them and a small battery to save time. So once your home regains power, it will pick up right where it left off. No need to worry about it starting at an inappropriate time or not remembering to water your landscape.
What happens if I lose Wi-Fi?
If for some reason you temporarily lose internet connectivity, your Rachio controller will attempt to reconnect to your home’s network every 30 seconds for 24 hours, at which point it will go offline. If this happens, you will need to then manually unplug your Rachio and plug it back in. You may also need to do the same with your router. Each controller has a small amount of built-in memory that will save any schedules or settings you had before the connection was lost, and will continue to run those schedules indefinitely until it can reconnect and update if needed. This way, your lawn won’t be without water if you lose internet for any reason!
What's the minimum internet speed I need?
We send as much as 5kB (an average email is about 75kB) of data per request. We use MQTT requests to send packets of information between your phone, Rachio controller, and our servers. In short, we use very little data. Better still, we require only a stable internet connection (the speed doesn’t matter much.)
Can you hardwire the Rachio for the internet?
Currently, Rachio smart controllers are Wi-Fi enabled only. With most homes switching to wireless networks, and most controllers mounted outside or in a garage, we opted to go with the current trend. This allows for the greatest coverage and mounting options without having to run wire. The good news is, if you lose signal for any reason, it will continue to water, and unless there’s an unstable/intermittent connection over wireless, you shouldn’t have any problems. We recommend double-checking your signal strength using your phone in the location you will be mounting Rachio, prior to purchase. While connected to your home’s wireless network, you should see 2 bars or more for a solid signal.
How safe is my Rachio controller from mischievous users on the internet?
- In this day and age, security is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. That’s why we adhere to a strict set of requirements to keep you safe with Rachio. We require strong and unique passwords for device accounts and Wi-Fi networks. We specifically force you to do this by setting a minimum of 8 characters and complex password requirements to protect you from these situations.
- We make it mandatory to use a strong encryption method when setting up Wi-Fi network access. Again, we require you use WPA/WPA2 encryption. As a matter of fact, our system won't recognize anything less. WPA(2) is the most current and secure form of wireless encryption.
- We also do not run our own private servers, we run directly off Amazon Web Services (AWS) which are some of the best in the world.
- In our specific case, we push out to all of our users at the same time, any new firmware the day of its release. No waiting around. No hassles of having to manually search yourself.
- Our passwords are salted and hashed but it's our policy not to relay confidential information regarding most of the internal aspects of our system (database, penetration testing, vulnerabilities, etc.)
- We do not store any data in our system related to credit cards, birth dates, social security, etc. regarding customers (PCI data).
- We use Stripe and Amazon as our third party vendors for payment processing.
Which controller should I buy?
We offer an 8 zone and a 16 zone controller. Each offer the exact same experience, as our free app and software updates will allow you to have the same fun on either. The only difference will be the number of zone terminals on the physical unit. So we recommend you choose the model that accommodates the number of zones you have best.
Can I run my zones from the controller itself?
Yes! Our Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller Generation 2 controller has several physical buttons on the face of the unit. This will allow you to move up and down through your zones to select which you would like to run, and then a button to manually run the zone, for a maximum of 3 minutes each.
Does Rachio work with other sprinkler systems?
As long as your current sprinkler system utilizes AC (alternating current) solenoids. If you have an older DC (direct current or battery powered) solenoid anywhere in your system, you’ll need to do a quick replacement. https://support.rachio.com/hc/en-us/articles/115010540488-Rachio-compatibility-with-DC-Solenoids
Can I tie in two zone wires into one terminal?
You can take two zone wires and twist them together into one terminal. There are a few points to consider when doing so, though. We support a max of three valves on one zone terminal for adequate power. This will include a master valve, so if you have one, note that you can have only two additional valves in one terminal. Also, the Rachio will not differentiate between two different zones in one terminal in the software. In short, you’ll want to make sure that the two zone wires you tie together, lead to zones that have similar, if not identical, needs (vegetation type, soil type, sun exposure, incline). This way, when those zones are supplied with power and watered, you won’t need to worry about one getting too much or too little and killing your lawn, because they will run for the same amount of time.
Do we have a controller that can handle more than 16 zones?
At this point in time, we offer an 8 zone and a 16 zone model only. If you have more than 16 zones, we recommend using two Rachio controllers to satisfy your zone count. Both devices would be connected through the app on your phone, so no need to navigate multiple sources to play modify them. Please note, two controllers act independently of each other and will not communicate to each other, so they will need to be operated as different controllers. In the meantime, here are a couple ways to avoid any sort of collisions with schedules on two different controllers:
- Try scheduling the separate controllers on different days. This can be done in both automatic and manual modes.
- If you live in an area with restrictions, try scheduling one controller late in the evening and the other one early in the morning.
Do I need a rain/soil sensor?
We do not require a rain or soil sensor to use Rachio to its fullest and keep your lawn healthy and green. Some of our users live in microclimates where the nearest weather station might be too far to get an accurate forecast for your home. Or you may live on an island that has different weather patterns, etc. These are great instances where we might recommend a rain sensor attached to your Rachio. The good news is, for the majority of users, our powerful software accounts for numerous zone settings in conjunction with weather reporting/forecasting, to keep you from needing rain and soil sensors. Though, you can certainly add one or both!
Can you replace my current controller/will you work with my rain sensor?
In most instances, Rachio will quickly and seamlessly replace your current irrigation controller. Simply, as long as you have a 24VAC irrigation system, our controller should replace it with little effort. The Rachio hardware is much like any standard controller, in that it turns zones on and off by supplying a particular zone with power, or taking it away. There are occasions where a rain sensor won’t work with Rachio because it’s a proprietary model that works exclusively with one brand/model of controller. To see a list of well-known compatible rain sensors and how to install them with your Rachio, check out the article below. https://support.rachio.com/hc/en-us/articles/115010542628-Rain-Sensors-FAQ
Can the controller be used outside?
While the Rachio controller itself is not weatherproof, we offer a Rachio outdoor enclosure you can use to mount your controller outside. It’s fully weatherproof and can withstands temperatures in the range of -31F to 140F. All mounting hardware is included in the enclosure box.
Is it easy to wire up/install?
Typical installation for a Rachio user with little to no experience is about 30 minutes or less. We recommend preparing beforehand for the best experience. Decide where you want to mount it, if you need additional wiring to move it elsewhere, grab yourself a screwdriver and a pencil, and take a picture or two of your current wiring to reference in case you forget which wire goes where. If you’re really good, it can take as little as 10 minutes, but don’t rush, it’s a sight to see when done correctly.
What happens if I move, how do the new homeowners use it?
Good question and easy answer. If you sell your home that has a Rachio controller installed, all the new homeowner needs to do is download the free Rachio app. While working with a Rachio agent to verify your ownership over the phone, online, or email, we can help quickly transfer the controller over to their account in as little as a few minutes. This applies to the Rachio Sprinkler Controller, Generation 2 models currently. If you happen to move into a new house and do not have a way to communicate with the old owner, we can help remove or transfer the controller over to your account as well!
Is the app easy to use?
We’ll let the reviews speak for themselves, but we’re constantly working closely with our users and pros to push the limits and make managing your lawn a “no brainer”. Check some out at www.rachio.com/reviews.
Does Rachio know if one of my heads breaks, if there's a leak, or a valve doesn't close?
Currently, we have the ability to recognize zone faults, which is a way of knowing if a zone is experiencing electrical concerns due to a wiring issue. We are working to bring our Rachio users the ability to detect and be notified when we sense a break in your line, a broken head, or a leak.
What will happen if I switch cell phone or internet service providers?
No need to worry! All of your information is backed up, updated, and saved on our Amazon cloud servers. This means, even if you delete the app or buy a new phone, once you re-download the app or go online and login, all your settings are still there waiting for you. If you change internet providers or purchase a new router, you can perform a quick “Wifi Update” from within the app. This is similar logging into your Wifi again on a computer.
Are there any extra charges?
None at all. The only thing you put in is the price of the controller or enclosure itself. For some, there are even full rebates available, so be sure to check if there are some for you with your water utility. There are no monthly or annual subscriptions, the app is free to download anytime, and all software and firmware updates are automatically updated for you for the life of the product!
Are there frequent updates and how do we get them?
Updates to both our hardware and our app are pushed out to you as we come out with something new. This can be the day after a large bug is identified, to several months depending on the need. We stay very involved in our software, as it’s our specialty and basis for the smarts behind the Rachio controller.
Do you work with Apple HomeKit?
Can the controller be shared to other accounts?
You can absolutely share your Rachio controller to another user. If you are a homeowner and would like to share access to your irrigation specialist or a family member, you can do so from within the app without giving them your login information. They have their own free account, and you have your own. Same goes for pros. If you’d like to have more complete ownership of the controller and share to the homeowner or to another employee on your team, this is well within the limits of our capabilities. To learn more, check out this article on the sharing options we have: https://support.rachio.com/hc/en-us/articles/115010541868-How-do-I-share-my-controller-with-someone-
Can I have more than one controller on the same account?
You can not only have more than one controller on your account, you can have an unlimited number! This is great for irrigation pros with large numbers of clients. Add the controller to the account as you would any other, and then choose the controller from a list from within your app to modify, run, or delete a controller as needed. https://support.rachio.com/hc/en-us/articles/115010378487-How-do-I-add-another-controller-to-my-account-
Do you adjust automatically based on weather forecasts?
Your Rachio controller will adjust not only when it waters, but how it waters, based on what the connected weather station has seen, as well as what it predicts. Depending on your schedule type, it will utilize different “Weather Intelligence” features in relation to the weather station forecasts, to skip a watering, or push the schedule out to a date in the future when your yard will need it.
Does Rachio have the ability to do a pump delay?
Rachio does not currently have the ability to program a pump delay. Many of our users find it best to set up an individual schedule for each zone in order to facilitate the need. This will allow for the pump to rest as long as you’d like depending on when you would like the next zone to run.
Can I use two Rachios at the same time?
You may have an unlimited number of Rachio controllers under your one account, but to run two at the same time may take further explanation. While you can have more than one on your property, to run them simultaneously may interfere with your water pressure. If you have one master valve, it will require some advanced wiring to share it between the two.
It’s important to note that Rachio units cannot communicate between each other and will need to be operated as different controllers from within the app. We generally recommend having one controller run certain zones on odd days, and the other run on even days to help keep them from overlapping schedules or zone waterings.
Can you use multiple weather stations at the same time and average their data?
Rachio users will have the luxury of choosing between any number of available, nearby personal or national weather stations. Only one weather station can be used at one a time, but users can switch as much as they’d like. We work hand-in-hand with Aeris to report any issues with a station in order to get it resolved as quickly as possible.
Do you allow for watering restrictions in my area?
Absolutely! Working with water utilities and municipalities around the United States, as well as professional irrigation specialists, we understand just how important it is to work with them to better understand the need for restrictions in place. Therefore, we have added in features to allow Rachio users to plug in which days or patterns they are restricted to, and it’s as simple as choosing the option within the app!
How do Flex schedules work?
Flex schedules are our smart schedules, and they’re cool! They leverage weather data from the connected weather station by looking at the past and future forecasts, and automatically adjusting your watering on the fly on a zone by zone basis. They can see what weather you’ve received in the last 24 hours, what’s to come in the next 24 hours, and push a watering to a later date if the soil moisture content is above a user specified level. In short, they keep an eye on the weather and what’s in your soil to determine when to run, without you having to lift a finger. Have watering restrictions? Flex schedules allow for those as well! https://support.rachio.com/hc/en-us/articles/115010541708-Flexible-Daily-Schedules-FAQ
What happens if I purchase your current controller now, and the next generation comes out in a few months?
No need to fret! No matter what piece of Rachio hardware you have, you will enjoy the same user experience. The software remains the same across all platforms, so the only thing that will change, is the controller itself.
Can I call someone immediately if there's an emergency?
We have several forms of direct communications. Depending on the season we’re currently in, our hours for may be extended. If you are a professional installer, you have a dedicated call line for emergencies. Any Rachio user can also email us 24/7 or chat with us immediately on our website during normal business hours. Refer to our contact page for more details, or within your app: https://support.rachio.com/hc/en-us/articles/115010380167-Contact-Support
Do you have any rebates/where can I find rebates?
There are tons of rebates through regional municipalities and water utilities offered around the United States. To search if there are any in your area, visit www.rachio.com/rb and enter your zip code.
There are generally several other promotions that you may be eligible for, so keep an ear and eye out on www.rachio.com or in your mailbox!
How did you name your company?
Rachio is Latin for spine or backbone. Much like the backbone in your body, the Rachio controller supports your irrigation system and sends electrical signals back and forth between your sprinkler heads and the brains (software) in the cloud. Together, they are the central nervous system of your entire landscape.
Do you ship/sell internationally?
We currently sell in the United States and Canada via Amazon, Rachio.com, Home Depot, Lowes, Best Buy, and Woot. Any international Rachio lovers have found their controllers through their regional Amazon dealer or through Amazon.com (US) and shipped overseas. As we grow, we hope to expand to further reaching markets just like yours!
What kind of data does Rachio collect?
What is your warranty? Is there a warranty through eBay?
We offer a two (2) year standard warranty for all new Rachio controllers purchased through a verified Rachio vendor, a one (1) year warranty for any Rachio certified refurbished units, and a four (4) year warranty for any “pro” units sold through a Certified Rachio Pro. We do not cover non-Rachio vendor products including, but not limited to, third party Amazon sellers, eBay, Offerup, etc.
How do I get in contact with Rachio?
Visit Rachio Support for more information on how to speak to the appropriate Rachio representative for you!