There are two different sensors, also referred to as moisture sensors, which can be attached to your sprinkler system. The first, a rain shutoff device or rain sensor, can be set to shut off after a specified amount of rainfall. It essentially works like a simple electrical circuit. After a certain amount of rain falls, it effectively shuts down the sprinkler system controls. A rain sensor is usually placed on the roof or other open place (away from splashing) near the irrigation controls to which the sensor is connected by wire.
The second type is a soil moisture sensor. It is to your sprinkler system what a thermostat is to your heating and cooling system. The moisture sensor measures the moisture content of the soil, stopping the sprinklers if the soil gets too wet and turning it on if the soil reaches a specified level of dryness. There are varying levels of quality when it comes to soil moisture sensors. An adequate product will allow you to set moisture levels yourself and should cost no more than $200 to $250, but can easily cost less than $100.
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