5 Ways Smart Valves Can Reduce Pumping Costs
At Lumo, we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of the possible interactions between smart valves and pumps.
But it’s already become abundantly clear that using smart valves and irrigation automation can reduce your water pumping costs in at least four direct ways and one, kind of roundabout, but super important way.
1. If you waste less water, you use your pump less.
The most direct and obvious way you save money on pump costs is by using it less. Water savings typically come from irrigating at night (less water lost to evaporation), irrigating based on a precise volume (rather than a rough duration and over-watering just in case), automating the opening and closing of valves (so the water never runs long just because someone left late or got stuck in traffic), and catching leaks automatically (something Lumo One smart valves are specifically designed to do).
Save water, pump less, put money back in your pocket.
2. Save on your energy bill with off-peak pumping.
If you’re using an electric pump, you can save money by scheduling your irrigations for off-peak hours and take advantage of lower electricity rates (something that’s difficult to do when you’re still manually opening and closing valves by hand).
3. Using preventative maintenance to avoid bigger issues.
Lumo One smart valves monitor your flow rates every time you irrigate, which makes it possible to catch potential problems with your pump far earlier than you could otherwise. There are other things that can cause irregular flow rates (like leaks, line breaks, clogged or broken emitters, etc.), but if you’re seeing steady or sudden drop offs in flow rate, it could be a sign that your pump isn’t working properly and needs to be checked out.
4. Better pump utilization.
Oftentimes, vineyards aren’t able to use pumps to their full capacity because they’re constrained by labor hours and overtime rules. When someone has to go open and close valves and check that everything’s running smoothly, you can’t irrigate at any time of day or night.
With smart valves and irrigation scheduling software, you remove that constraint entirely, allowing you to make much better use of the pump you have and potentially allowing you to avoid upgrading to a bigger pump. This can be especially helpful in advance of heat waves, when every second counts.
You obviously still can’t run your pump all day and night, but unlocking the full twenty fours available gives you far greater flexibility and the ability to get more done with your current pump capacity.
5. Giving you the hard data you need to make the case for a bigger and better pump.
This is the roundabout way, so stick with me for a second.
When you’re growing high value crops, the biggest cost you can incur is anything that impacts your crop quality or yield. If a heatwave hits suddenly at the wrong time of the season, and you’re not able to get all your blocks watered as quickly or as well as you’d like to because your pump isn’t adequate, that can cost you a huge hit to your top-line revenue numbers.
Some of the growers we worked with this past season were able to use the data they were getting from our smart valves to prove that the pump they had wasn’t able to keep up with their irrigation needs, and have made upgrades as a result.
Pump Up the Savings
The main takeaway is that smart valves can reduce your pump costs in a variety of ways and give you the data you need to make better equipment decisions. It all just depends on your current pump setup and how you’re currently irrigating.
But between pumping less water, shifting to off-peak hours, engaging in preventative maintenance, better utilizing your current pump, and making the case for an upgrade to better protect your crops, there are certainly savings to be had.