Rain Sensor Rebate

If you have an automatic lawn irrigation system, Hastings Utilities encourages you to retrofit a rain sensor into the existing irrigation system. HU offers rebates to help offset your costs to install a sensor. A rain sensor can significantly reduce the amount of water used to irrigate your lawn since it prevents your sprinklers from operating when a quarter-inch or more rainfall occurs. New systems with a rain sensor installed are also eligible.

Download Rain Sensor Rebate Form

What is a rainfall sensor?

A rainfall sensor is a device that turns off an automatic lawn sprinkler system when it rains. It prevents needless watering since Mother Nature has already taken care of the task. The sensor can significantly reduce your usage of water and therefore help to lower your monthly water bill.

A rainfall sensor is an electric switch connected to the lawn sprinkler control panel or timer. The sensor is placed outdoors where it accumulates moisture from rainfall. A certain amount of rainfall (1/4" or less) disconnects the electric circuit that allows normal operation of the system. The system will then operate on the next scheduled cycle should other rainfall not occur.

Rainfall sensors are available for purchase at a variety of retail outlets or from lawn sprinkler installation companies. Rainfall sensors can be installed by do-it-yourselfers or by irrigation professionals. Installation charges may vary, depending on the age of the irrigation system.

Underground Sprinkler Rain Sensor Rebate Program

Qualified rain shut-off devices, also called rain sensors, can either be wired to or communicate wirelessly with a lawn irrigation system controller (see picture). Once a specified amount of rain has fallen (1/4" or less), the sensor prevents the system from operating until the next scheduled irrigation cycle. In water systems with similar programs, on average from 5-7.5% less water is used when rain sensors are employed.


• Participants must be retail water customers of Hastings Utilities.
• The participant's account must be current and non-delinquent.
• All rain sensor equipment must be installed in the Hastings Utilities water department service area.


• Limit of one rebate per household.
• Installation of qualifying device(s) must have taken place after August 1, 2008.
• Incomplete rebate applications and those lacking a copy of purchase receipts will be denied.
• Installations are subject to inspection by a representative of Hastings Utilities.
• Sensors must be set to not operate if 1/4" or more of precipitation occurs.

Rebate Amounts

For the first sensor installed (most residential systems will only need one) up to $75 is available as a rebate. If a customer self installs a qualifying device, the rebate amount will match the invoice amount for the actual rain sensor cost but will not exceed $75.

On some commercial, or larger residential systems, more than one sensor may be required. After the initial rebate amount ($75), for each additional device required a rebate amount of $35 will be made, up to a maximum of nine additional devices.

How to Apply for a Rebate

• Customer purchases and has installed a qualifying rain sensor device.
• Customer completes an application form for the rebate.
• Customer returns completed application form and a copy of a legible purchase receipt to Hastings Utilities. Purchase receipt must include the customer's full name and address, date of purchase, purchase price, equipment make and model numbers.
• HU staff receives, reviews and inspects the application and installation.
• Upon approval, rebate amount is sent directly to the customer that applies for the rebate.

Effective Lawn Watering Tips

Early morning is the best time to water a lawn. When watering is done early in the day, more of the moisture is absorbed into the lawn.

As the sun rises, so does the temperature. After 10 a.m. moisture is actually taken from a lawn through evaporation. Time and money can both be saved by watering as close to daybreak as possible.

Other Water Saving Measures

• Fix all leaks. Even a small leak or dripping faucet can waste a lot of water over the course of a day.
• When using a dishwasher or washing machine, do full loads only.
• Keep a container of cold water in the refrigerator. Running tap water until cold wastes water.
• Don't use the toilet as a wastebasket. Toilets manufactured before 1992 use an average of five to seven gallons each flush.
• Take shorter showers. Depending on water volume, showers use between five and ten gallons per minute.
• Use low-flow shower heads.
• Place a plastic bottle in your toilet tank. Placing several inches of sand in the bottle, fill the remainder with water. Seal the lid. Place the bottle away from any mechanisms so that the tank empties and fills properly. In an average home, the bottle will displace and save between five and ten gallons of water daily.