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How to Tell if Your Garden Watering Timer is

Wasting Water (And How to Fix It)


Water bills have increased by 30% in less than a decade. This includes paying for the water you waste. And one of the most common places people waste water is in the garden.

You installed a garden watering timer to save water and save time on manual watering. It's a great tool that makes your life easier and ensures your garden is watered when you're not home.

But did you ever wonder how much water your garden watering timer is actually using? Do you know if it could be wasting water and affecting your water bill?

Keep reading to find out how to check for these issues and some helpful tips to resolve them.

How Much Water Should a Garden Watering Timer Use?

The beauty of an irrigation timer is that you can set how much water it uses. You can adjust the frequency and duration of watering for the various zones in your garden. The amount of water to use will depend on the following.

Your Garden's Needs

This depends on the local climate, soil type, plant types, and size of your garden. Well-draining sandy soils need more water than clay-based soils. The Royal Horticultural Society says an ideal amount for plants to grow is around 5.2 gallons per 10 sq ft every 7 to 10 days.

Type of Irrigation System

Once you research how much water your garden needs, you can set your water timer accordingly. After installing a sprinkler system in your backyard, you can set your hose timer to deliver the optimum amount 3 times a week.


Some gardens may require a lower volume and higher frequency of water. This is the case for vegetables and exotic plants. A slow-release drip feed system such as a weeper hose will keep the soil moist without overwatering.

Water Pressure

Gravity-fed water systems will have a much lower pressure than pumped or mains water lines. 


When the water timer is on, the amount of water that flows depends on the pressure from the faucet. Most hose timers have an operating pressure range, but some are specially designed for very low water pressure.

How to Tell if Your Garden Watering Timer Is Wasting Water

Although water timers are a great way to save water and time in the garden, mishaps can occur. Here are some examples of how a hose timer could potentially waste your water.


Small leaks are a common problem in all irrigation systems. Whether it's coming from an old garden hose or a poorly connected faucet. Any time your water timer is on, the water will continue to leak without you noticing.  

Misplaced Drip Pipe

Sometimes strategically placed drip pipes can be moved by pets or children playing in the garden. When the water timer starts the water will no longer be directed to your plants and wasted elsewhere.

Not Adjusting for Heavy Rain

If your water timer is still watering your garden during heavy rainfall or during the wet season it could be wasting water. There's no need to water your garden if it's already saturated with rainwater.

Inefficient Sprinkler Placement

If you have chosen a sprinkler system for your garden, it must be properly spaced for the best coverage. If you have numerous sprinklers that are too close together you will overwater certain areas and waste water.

An Increase in Your Water Bill

If you notice a rise in your water bill but you haven't changed your water usage in your home- perhaps the garden watering system is to blame. This means your water timer is supplying the garden with more water than manual watering.

Tips to Fix a Water Timer That Is Wasting Water

You can repair or replace your leaky garden hose and hose adapters attached to your water timer. It's a good idea to check for leaks on a regular basis.


But leaks aren’t the only thing you should be looking for!

Adjust the Settings

Take some time to calculate exactly how much water your garden needs and adjust the settings of your hose timer. That way you won't have to pay for any wastewater on your next bill.

Check Your Irrigation Regularly

Take a walk around your garden to check on the placement of your irrigation system, drip hoses, and sprinklers to check they're in the best spot. Rearranging your system as your garden grows will ensure the water goes to where it's needed.

Replace the Battery

Maybe the garden watering timer has simply run out of battery! Most battery-powered units can have their battery replaced or recharged. 

Get a New Garden Watering Timer

Perhaps the timer has malfunctioned because it's damaged or old. If so it's time to replace it with a more reliable model. Choose from the dial or digital models to suit your preference.

How to Conserve Water With Your Garden Watering Timer

Watering the garden manually can waste a lot of water. As much as 50% of the water used in a garden can be lost due to inefficient irrigation systems. Here are some tips on how to save water with your hose timer.

Install With a Well Designed Irrigation System

This way the optimum amount of water is consistently directed as close to the roots as possible. This is the key to a healthy lush garden.

Use With a Rain Butt

A great way to save water is to use rain instead! If you collect rainwater you can hook up a low-pressure water timer with an irrigation system for the garden. 

Research the Optimum Settings

Every garden has different watering needs. Setting the water timer to suit your garden will help conserve water.


Regular small amounts of water are needed for gardens in wet climates. Deep watering a few times a week is best for gardens in hot climates. 

Get a Reliable Water Timer and Save Water

It can be frustrating when you find out the irrigation system in your garden isn't working how you want. Wasting water is expensive and bad for the environment.


Read our other gardening articles for some great tips and tricks to creating the perfect garden for you. For reliable quality garden watering timers and irrigation systems check out our product range today.


Garden Watering Timer, Irrigation Timer, Hose Timer, Water Timers