Control your sprinklers
When I moved, my house had an automated irrigation system with 8 zones
(1 zone was sprinklers, and the remaining 7 were drip irrigation for
diferent parts of my yard). The system was controlled by a Sterling 8
irrigation controller that was mounted on a wall in my backyard behind
a lots of vegetation. Because it was hard to reach, I was disuaded
from regularly reprogramming the unit in response to changes in
weather, and as a result probably used more water than I needed.
I recently replaced this controller with a Rain 8 X10 controller that I purchased from Smarthome connected to a a PSC05 power line interface module to receive X10 commands.
I set the controller to a new housecode (since it uses 14 unit codes - one for each zone plus two for preprogrammed sequences, and one to disable and one to skip through a program), placed a PAT01 transceiver on the housecode, and now have the ability to turn on and off any zone remotely when I am doing yard work. I also used by ActiveHome CM11A controller from X10.com to set programs for automatic watering, and I am able to vary my watering schedule by time of year. I can adjust the schedule as needed if we get unexpected rain, without going outside and getting caught in the bushes around the controller.
The Rain 8 includes the ability to suppress irrigation by enabling a designated unit code. This can be used so that you don't get wet if you have activities during the time the program would execute, or to suppress watering during the rain without reprogramming your controller. I have chosen not to use this feature as suggested, but instead use it as a safety mechanisms to prevent inadvertant watering if a stray X10 command is received. I leave the contoller disabled, and then to initiate watering form the program, I first enable the controller, then send the commands to iniaite watering programs or zones, and then disable the controller after the cycle is complete.
I am considering upgrading my controller to one that can set flags, and will be using one of the flags in the controller to supress the normal watering schedule.
The Rain 8 has its own safety mechanism that will turn off the water after a fixed interval (which you can program and download into the unit before putting it ourside) if no off command is received.