What To Look For in a Home Weather Station

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Have you ever considered buying your own home weather station?

Whenever something interesting, dangerous or even disastrous happens with the weather, many people think about buying something to give them a little more information about what's happening outside.

Maybe something to give them direct information about the approach of a hurricane or a potentially destructive storm. Or maybe something as simple as being warned about frosts which could damage the garden or freeze the pipes.

Or perhaps you would just like to know more about the weather around you and the climate of your area. After all, weather is often interesting, its, a great conversation starter, and you con't have to travel thousands of miles and stay in expensive hotels just to experience some.

In the old days, observing and recording your local weather wasn't easy or particularly accurate. I remember my father had a barometer inside (which he was always tapping), a wet and dry bulb thermometer on the verandah, and a rain gauge on the fence. That was fine, except that equipment doesn't record anything but the most basic information, and with the exception of a minimum/maximum thermometer, only tells you what is happening now.

A wind vane was another useful tool, but recording wind speed required very expensive equipment.

But not long ago things began to change, and it was possible to bring continuous weather information inside by collecting the data from outside sensors and transferring it to the display unit by cable.

This was a tremendous improvement on scattered traditional instruments, but setting up the cables and running them through a wall or window was often fiddly, and getting consistent and reliable results often took quite a lot of experimentation and trial and error.

Then a few years ago wireless weather stations were developed. Radio signals were sent from the outside recorders, using battery or solar power, to an inside receiver and display console. No more unsightly and sometimes unreliable cables running across the yard and around the walls.

And now there are a large number of wireless home weather stations available which will bring all the weather information you need from the outside to the inside with very little set up time and no tangles.

And guess what. The level of competition amongst manufacturers resulted in some very dramatic and welcome price decreases, so there has never been a better time to buy your own fully functional, easy to set up home weather station.

Now there could be any number of reasons why you first considered a weather station as a possible addition to your home, including just a general interest in weather.

So let's think about what the ideal home weather station might be.

  • Firstly, it should be a wireless weather station - no worries about where the cables go. And it certainly will be able to record temperature, humidity, wind strength and direction, and rainfall.

  • Next, the radio's range must be great enough so that you have no problems with installing the sensors in the best place to obtain realistic weather data for your location - no problems with sheltering trees because your best position was out of radio range. No problem about the room the receiver goes in because the ideal transmitter can handle a wall or two. And it should be able to operate free of any governmental restrictions on radio frequency, allowing fast and reliable data updates. Most of the likely problems are overcome with a radio range of 300 feet (91m) or more

  • Thirdly, your temperature sensor is shielded so your readings are not affected by direct heat from the sun.

  • Fourthly it should be easy to install. A purpose built stand would be nice.

    So far so good. You'd be up and running in no time at all, and you'd be able to place the receiver in a location that suits you rather than the radio link.

  • Now you have a couple of concerns about temperature and wind strength, as it affects your garden. A few programmable warnings would be nice.

  • And so would a charting facility so you could review changing patterns over the last few hours, or days, or months, for almost any variable.

  • In fact, you can see a few good reasons for linking your weather station to your computer, where some well designed software allows you to follow up a whole range of thoughts and trends.

  • You've noticed that there are a number of private weather stations on the net, reporting online data just like you are getting from your set up. But there's a gap in information in your area, and you feel like you'd like to join the network - maybe even become a volunteer weather station in your area. And after a little bit of research, you find that it's no problem at all.

    Even better, you've just found a network of people with similar interests to yourself, scattered over the country, even the world.

All of these features can be found in quite a number of home weather stations, ranging in price from less than $150.00, if you are prepared to look around. However, like most things in life, you tend to get what you pay for, and the better models start around the $450.00 mark.

This doesn't mean that the lower priced home weather stations should be disregarded, particularly if your budget is tight. It just means that your weather station will work better and last longer if you take some care in setting it up and maintaining it, including early preventative maintenance.

To find out more about the better weather stations, where to find the best prices, and how to set them up to give long and trouble free service, make sure you visit Home Weather Stations Guide. You'll find a link in the box just below.

=================================================================©2005, Graham McClung. A retired geologist, Graham McClung has had a lifelong interest in the outdoors. And where there's outdoors there's weather. He is the editor of http://www.home-weather-stations-guide.com where you can find reviews and advice to help you choose and use your own home weather station.==================================================================

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But just before you move on...

You may be interested to know that you can find out more about weather and home weather stations by receiving our newsletter ,"Watching Weather". It's published more or less weekly, and apart from tips on how to use your weather station and understand what it's telling you about the weather around you, it also covers many other weather related topics.

If this sounds interesting, just add your name and email address to the form below. When you join, you'll also receive, totally free, a 20 page guide to setting up and trouble shooting problems in home weather stations.

And I promise that you won't get spammed, and that your sign up details will remain totally confidential.

Sign up now and receive your first issue almost immediately.


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Last update 05/24/2011