With the hot summer months, here again, it's time to be as water efficient as possible and find the best timer (water controller) for your needs. The convenience that a timer gives you is tremendous. People often go away for a week or two during the summer, and a timer can take their place in the garden, making sure your plants get watered while you are away. The focus of this article is to describe the types of timers that will fit your needs.
Battery Timers are the most common type of timer used by homeowners. They do not require a 120-volt electric power source, come in single and multiple station options, and are simple to program. A battery (Alkaline Industrial Strength only) will last one complete growing season. The Galcon timers are commercial grade timers with inline valves, provide full flow, you can use above ground installed on your garden faucet or in underground valve boxes. For the most straightforward programming, the Galcon Easy Program LCD Timer is a smart choice. The Galcon Greenhouse Battery Timer can run from 1 second (for misting) up to 12-hour duration for more precise watering requirements. If you are coming directly from a water tank with low pressure, the Zero Pressure Timer is an excellent choice. To take the guess work out of having to select a timer, our DripWorks irrigation kits come with an optional timer pre-selected for your convenience.
Electric Timers are high-end timers that need an electrical source to work. These timers have multiple functions and are often required on a multiple zone farm or home landscape. The Hunter Pro C AC Timer is an affordable full-featured four station timers designed for commercial and residential use. It can be used in a full range of applications from a greenhouse with small potted starts to an orchard needing a long 6-hour watering duration. The Galcon 6 Station Greenhouse AC Timer has a (9 volt) battery backup, four independent programs per station, and can operate two valves simultaneously.
Solar Timers are environmentally friendly, functioning only on clean, renewable, solar power. Powered by ambient light and easy to install, these timers offer the same reliable performance as standard timers.
Wind Up Timers
Wind Up Timers are timers where you only turn the dial each time you want to water (a few minutes up to 2 hours), and the timer will automatically turn off. Considered semi-automatic because they require to be reset every time you need to water. These are usually single outlet and have a flow rate up to 8 gallons per minute.
- Schedule early morning watering if possible. It's usually best to set the watering schedule to turn on between four and ten in the morning.
- Watch for overwatering (runoff) as it can be just as bad as under watering. In the spring, usually 10 minutes a day is sufficient if you have a drip system.
- Double the time in the summer.
- Consider purchasing a rain sensor. Some timers have a rain sensor port, look for a timer that has one to have a fully automated system. When the sensor sensed moisture, it automatically stops the water cycle.
After years of having garden timers on the market, the manufacturers have the kinks worked out. Reliability is the key! A timer will free you up for the more fun things in life and give your plants just the right amount of moisture all season long.