Check Sprinkler Timer After Power Outages

If your electricity went out in the recent Southern California Edison power outage, check your sprinkler timer today. If your timer doesn’t have a working backup battery, your programming may have been erased, which could cause you to use much more water than necessary.

Many timers without a backup battery will revert to a standard factory default setting — causing your sprinklers to operate for 10 minutes at each station every day until reprogrammed.

Look to see if the days and times on your timer are incorrect or flashing. If you are unsure about how to reprogram your timer, most user manuals can be found online or by contacting the manufacturer.

Change the timer’s backup battery every year to prepare for future power outages. Stay informed of planned and unplanned power outages in your area by visiting the SCE Outage Center.

Check your sprinkler timer’s watering schedule and compare it to IRWD’s suggested watering schedule. Start with the schedule below and increase the times only if your plants show signs of stress. If stress occurs in isolated areas, check your irrigation system for leaks or coverage gaps before increasing watering times.



Drought tolerant trees, shrubs and groundcover


4 days, 3 cycles of 3 minutes

2 days, 3 cycles of 4 minutes


4 days, 2 cycles of 3 minutes

2 days, 2 cycles of 4 minutes


3 days, 2 cycles of 3 minutes


2 days, 2 cycles of 3 minutes


Visit to view:

  • Spray head irrigation schedules for the full year, including percentage options
  • Drip irrigation schedules
  • Printable irrigation schedules in English and Spanish
  • More tips on how to save water outdoors (and save money while doing it)