Irrigation Checklist for Homeowners

Irrigation Checklist for Homeowners: Rain Sensor Replacement
J.E. Davis, UF/IFAS Extension, Sumter County, Bushnell FL
Situation: Water is Florida’s most important, yet finite resource. 90% Floridians drinking water comes from The Floridan aquifer, which is the one of the most productive aquifers in the world. Based on University of Florida research, over 50% of the water used in the household is used for landscape irrigation. One tool used for irrigation efficiency and conservation are rain sensors. A malfunctioning rain sensor can result in unnecessary water use, along with potential increase in a homeowner’s water bill. Objectives: 25% of homeowners attending the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ for New Residents workshop will repair their malfunctioning rain sensor after attending extension training. Results will demonstrate water savings and cost savings, through rain sensor replacement.
Methods:  Incorporation of rain sensor maintenance was added to the irrigation section of the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ for New Residents workshop. A post-survey was distributed to participants at the end of the year. Qualtrics® was used for the follow-up post-survey. Results: As a result of attending workshops, 25% (n=141) of residents who responded repaired their rain sensor. 13% (n=74) responded that they repaired a broken rain sensor themselves, after receiving extension training. Rain sensor repair for 141 residents would result in a conservative water savings of over 358,000 gallons each year. A potential cost savings of $4,440 would be saved to the 74 homeowners by repairing the rain sensor themselves, after extension training.
Conclusion: Rain sensors are an important part tool of efficient irrigation that can be used for water conservation. Incorporating extension training on rain sensor repair can not only save thousands of water each year, but can potentially save homeowners thousands of dollars in self repair.
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