What Are the Different Types of Rain Sensors?

To keep your garden green and lush, you need enough water. A skilled gardener must also dedicate time to maintain its beauty. That means regular trimming, pruning and watering, and controlling how much water each plant gets (as per its needs). You can automate these tasks by programming sprinklers to activate at certain times of the day. When they’re installed alongside rain sensors, they can be used more sustainably. Understanding how such sensors work and the different types available will help you pick the most suitable option for your garden.

What Is a Rain Sensor?

A rain sensor communicates the rainfall level to your automated sprinkler system. When there’s enough rainfall, the sprinklers will skip the scheduled watering cycle. Installing these sensors ensures that your plants aren’t ruined by too much water or wilt due to a lack of it. Moreover, if you miss out on watering your garden, these sensors alert you as soon as the water level dips below what’s required.

Types of Rain Sensors

There are several types of rain sensors. The following are some of the best options:

  • Water collection basin

This is one of the earliest types of rain sensors and remains available. A cup or basin is attached to the sensor which acts as a rain gauge as the water collects in it. This helps the sensor determine whether it needs to activate the sprinklers. Its main drawback is that it can’t discriminate between rainwater and debris which leads to an inaccurate interruption of the watering cycle. Also, when your sensors have a shallower basin, wind can blow the water out of the container which leads to similar troubles. They are also known as rainfall collection cups and can work with wireless systems as well.

  • Conductive sensors


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These sensors use a more advanced technology and work on the principles of conductivity. In this design, there are two electrodes at the bottom of the basin. A circuit completes once the water level reaches these electrodes, turningon a switch. This system can differentiate between debris and water, but if the debris pushes up the water level after a brief shower, the sprinklers may deactivate prematurely. Hence, the open container is a liability in both water collection and conductive type of sensors.

  • Hygroscopic disk (or expansion disk)

This type of sensor has gained immensely in popularity over the years and is considered among the most accurate. It has a cork disk that expands by absorbing rainwater. This triggers a switch after a pre-set amount is collected. The scheduled watering won’t start unless the disk hasdried and retracted to its normal size; so, the longer it remains wet and expanded, the longer the sprinklers will be kept shut down. This system has proven to be effective and precise which has added to its demand.

  • Freeze sensors


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These sensors are designed to detect frost as well as rain. They read the temperature and decide when running water through the sprinkler pipes risks cracking them. These sensors are also among the more expensive.

Benefits of Investing in Rain Sensors

There are several perks to putting rain sensors in your garden which is why more and more homeowners are installing them.

  • Conserving water becomes easier as they detect natural rainfall and pause your sprinkler system until it’s necessary to run it again.
  • As water needs vary from plant to plant, using these sensors prevents over-watering and water logging caused when sprinklers remain active during rainfall.
  • Since the irrigation system isn’t overworked, its lifespan is extended.
  • You prevent waterway pollution and groundwater deficiency.
  • You save money on energy bills and external fertilizers.

You can learn about the benefits in detail by checking out this blog on rain sensors.

Rain sensors are slowly but steadily gaining in popularity as people become more aware of the need to conserve water. It’s easy to make your garden thrive without using too much water when you rely on technology to get the most out of each rainfall. The sensors mentioned above are readily available, but consult a gardening expert to discover which is best for you.