How I Turned My Sprinkler System Into a “Smart Sprinkler System”

I have a house that was built in 1991.  And, I imagine that the sprinkler system is probably from that era, as well.  It always bothers me when it rains and I think about turning my sprinkler system off – when I am not around to actually do it!  Some units sold today have a functionality that allows the sprinkler system to be controlled based on the weather.  But, how do you go about converting an old sprinkler system into a unit that can turn on and off, based on the weather?  And, better yet, how can you do it on the cheap?

Answer:  With a Wemo switch with IFTTT.  Not sure what either of these are?  This is a Wemo switch.

The Wemo Switch plugs directly into an outlet.  You can easily turn off this switch and the connected imagedevices with your Android or iOS device.  I thought this might work really well with a sprinkler system.  And, it does!  So, many (I have Rain Bird) sprinkler systems have a back-up battery that maintains the programs, clock, etc..  But, to make the sprinkler system work, the power has to be on.

Essentially, to create your “smart sprinkler system”, you are securing the power whenever it rains.  And, your system turns back on automatically when the weather clears up.  So, how is this done?  Through the magic of IFTTT!

If you have not heard of IFTTT (“If This, Then that”), the site is an incredible way to make the internet work for you.  Once you have an account, you setup “recipes”.  For example, you could use IFTTT to automatically post your Facebook posts to Twitter or your your Instagram photos to Facebook.  There are so many integrations with various online services now that the possibilities are limitless.

So, in order to create your smart sprinkler system, you simply have to add a new “channel” to Wemo for your Wemo Switch.  Then, you add the “Weather” channel.  So, you are saying, “If it starts to rain, turn the Wemo off.”

Fortunately, there are already some good recipes out there for doing this.  This is one that I found.  As you are making rules, keep in mind that you need more than a rain rule to turn off the sprinkler.  You also need rules to turn it on if it is cloudy or clear.  You can also do the same with temperature.  So, if the temperature drops below freezing, the system turns itself off.

That’s all there is to it.




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