If you feel like you need to work smarter, not harder, consider adding remotes to the controllers on your next job. Remotes improve your productivity without adding extra personnel or hours. With remote operation, you can eliminate wasted time spent walking back to the controller to stop or start a manual watering cycle. Use remotes for:
Initial set up: Once the installation is complete, remotes can increase the speed of flushing lines and making fine-tune sprinkler adjustments. Save time by eliminating the need to return to the controller – simply operate the system with your hand-held remote.
Winterization: In colder climates, remotes make blowing out irrigation pipes much simpler. Without a remote, you need to walk back to the controller and enter start times while then manning the air compressor. A remote allows you to stay in one place while activating each station.
Troubleshooting: Locate leaks, breaks, or damage to sprinklers without going from the controller to each location to identify the problem. Remotes allow you to activate and quickly shut down the system once the problem is found, using less water while you troubleshoot. One person can now perform these duties quickly and efficiently, saving you on labor costs.
Applying non-scheduled irrigation: On any job, remotes allow you to modify the run times without changing the regular program. On parks and recreation sites, employees appreciate remotes for the ease and flexibility of applying water for “dust mitigation” or adding water to high-use areas on a case-by-case situation.
Improving Access: Controllers are often mounted in non-accessible locations. Remotes offer access to controllers in basements or enclosed/locked rooms so you can still operate the system.
Final walk-through: Provide your customers with a polished final presentation by walking to each zone and activating it remotely. This allows you to showcase your work, discuss the installation with the homeowner, and answer any questions. It also provides you with an opportunity to sell a remote to the homeowner.
Reducing maintenance calls: Getting a homeowner to buy a remote not only helps you generate extra revenue, it can help prevent unnecessary maintenance calls. When the homeowner activates a zone with a remote, the controller dial is not touched, preventing any changes to the program. Many callbacks are the result of a homeowner accidentally changing a program when trying to modify run times from the controller.
There are varying costs and types of remotes, depending on the needs of the job. Some are offered as residential remotes and can be very affordable for short ranges, usually less than 300 m. With more than 100 programmable addresses allowed, you can use multiple remotes in one neighborhood. Commercial remotes offer the same functionality with longer ranges, but cost a bit more.