By Brad Wardle, Vice President, B-hyve Smart Home
Photograph courtesy of B-hyve Smart Home
In the United States, we love our lawns. We mow and trim, rake and manicure - and we water. We water our lawns often to keep them lush and green. A green, healthy lawn is something to be proud of and is evidence of a lot of love and care. However, our lawns, regardless of size, can be difficult to take care of, especially when it comes to watering.
A little known fact is that in the U.S. more than 75 percent of homeowners don't have in-ground sprinklers in their yards, leaving them to manually water their lawns with a hose. While that is a necessity for some, manual watering is a challenge for homeowners from both a time and water waste perspective.
Despite the water output of a hose being far less than an in-ground sprinkler system, it still contributes to much of the water waste outside of the home. How many times have you started watering your lawn and then found yourself distracted by a number of other tasks vying for your attention, only to remember the water you started a few hours later? I know as a teen I was guilty of that and my mom let me know about it when the water bill arrived.
Watering with a hose can also be time consuming, even with a small yard. Life gets busy and finding the time to manually water can be difficult, especially during optimal watering times of the day.
While we all have stories about forgetting to turn off the water, water waste is generally not intentional. In many instances it is due to a few factors: not knowing how much water your lawn needs, and the example I shared above about setting a sprinkler and forgetting about it.
Knowing how much water to use when tending a lawn is important. Too much water creates shallow roots, and unhealthy lawns. And watering with a hose can be even trickier for homeowners as it’s difficult to know the water output of a hose. In-ground sprinkler systems are typically designed to maximize efficiency and coverage of the yard. But hose watering by dragging a hose and sprinkler is typically more by sight than science. Hoses vary in size and length and the PSI may differ depending on where they live. However, Washington State University has created a tool that helps homeowners easily calculate their water flow using information such as hose diameter and length, PSI of their house and time they water. If you’re looking to determine the output from your hose, this is a great tool to use for precise measurements: http://irrigation.wsu.edu/Content/Calculators/Residential/Garden-Hose-Flow.php
According to the tool, a 5⁄8 inch hose at a length of 100 feet and a PSI of 40, which is average for a standard house, will yield 11 gallons of water per minute. That’s a lot of water, especially if you forget your hose is on.
This is a great tool, but what does 11 gallons per minute mean, and how long should you water based on that flow rate? And what about that forgetting the “water is on” issue? There is a simple solution available to help you know how long to water, and to remember to shut off the water for you: a hose faucet timer.
Hose faucet timers come in different varieties and are simple to install -- just twist them on and away you go. Basic timers can turn off after the programmed duration, while more sophisticated options like the Orbit B-hyve Smart Hose Faucet Timer have a built-in flow meter that monitors how much water you are using and displays that data within the free app on your phone. The B-hyve app actually asks you the size of the area you are watering and combines that with the flow rate to determine a run time. Overall, a timer prevents overwatering which leads to puddling and runoff. Run-off is dangerous because it means pesticides and fertilizers are flowing off your lawn and into the water system.
Conserving water goes beyond just knowing how long you are watering. While basic timers allow you to set a timer to turn on and off automatically, today there are smart timers available that take it a step further and help automate the process, saving you time and money. For example Orbit’s B-hyve Hose Faucet Timer has smart technology that detects local weather so that you’re not watering in a rainstorm. It can be programmed to schedule waterings so that you can water early in the morning when it’s optimum for your lawn versus watering later in the day when the sun is high and losing way too much water to evaporation, reducing the efficiency of the water hitting your lawn.
According to the engineers at Orbit, you can save an average of 48% of water using B-hyve as opposed to using no timer at all.
Our lives are busy and we all want to do what we can to help conserve water, but time is limited and there is a lot we have to focus on. With water conservation it’s really very simple: the adoption of a hose timer -- smart or basic -- when you’re watering your lawn with a hose saves time, money and most importantly, saves water.
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