What To Look For in a Home Weather Station
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What To Look For in a Home Weather Station
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
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
- 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)
- Thirdly, your temperature sensor is shielded so
your readings are not affected by direct heat from
- 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
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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Last update 05/24/2011