EXTENSION CONNECTION: Set your sprinkler to deactivate during rain

Published: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 03:59 PM.

Expanding cork disks trigger a pressure switch. The expansion space can be easily adjusted by rotating the disc cover to a predetermined amount of rain required to trigger the switch. The amount of rain that will interrupt the irrigation system is marked on the adjustment cap.

A rain sensor must be mounted where it will be exposed to unobstructed rainfall — typically near the roofline on the side of a building.

The device can be tested during rainfall by setting out several straight-sided shallow containers, using the same technique as calibrating the irrigation system.

After rain has stopped, measure the water’s depth in each container with a ruler and calculate the average measurements. When the containers average a half-inch of rainfall, set the sensor to one-half inch and manually turn on the irrigation. The system should not run. If it does, a repair is needed.

Remember: Every drop that hits the ground will pick up pollutants as it flows to our groundwater. By only irrigating when the soil needs it, you are preventing contamination of drinking water.

Sheila Dunning is a Commercial Horticulture Extension agent at the Okaloosa County Extension office in Crestview.

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