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The irrigation system in my yard is a disaster. There is no consolidated controller, and each zone is regulated by a battery-operated controller with the attached valve. Here you can see one that I took off made by DIG.

They are confusing, unintuitive and sometimes aggravating to work with. If you don’t buy all of them at the same time in the same batch, there are different flavors, and none of them work the same.

There are many moving parts and they are hard to install. Once installed, they never seem to last. Over the past 12 months, in four out of six zones where I had them the controllers simply failed. During last season, I had to patrol them once every few weeks just to make sure they were still working. They’d reset themselves and go to default, so in the middle of the night the sprinklers would come on. Headaches after headaches.

I researched and found that there are different manufacturers but the results are similar. Byzantine designs, confusing user interfaces, cumbersome to install.

I wanted a centralized controller for regular valves, but that would have meant running wires all over my yard from the garage – a daunting project.

Then I found the solution. Zilker.

The valves are sleek and simple. There is one button and one LED. Click once, green light, water is on. Click once again, red light, water is off. Nothing more to do. Here is one next to the old DIG:

The valves cost about the same as conventional valves, about $65 each.

There is a base station in the house which controls the valves wirelessly. The base station connects to my WiFi, and the app on my iPhone controls the base station. The user interface is consistent and intuitive. The system connects to the weather station of my choice and it actually does not water if it rains – which, if course, is not very interesting in Southern California. It never rains. The other day I turned on my sprinklers from the airport. Just because I could!

Here is what the Zilker valves look like installed. They connect into garden hose adapters. So you can put one on your hose bib outside, put the garden hose on the other side, and it will control the water of any device at the other end of the garden hose.

My irritation with irrigation has been mitigated.

To read more about this great product, go to Zilker.

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