Seven Common Questions About Home Weather Stations (And Their Answers)
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Seven Common Questions About Home Weather Stations
(And Their Answers)
Have you ever started a conversation with a comment about
Has an unexpected weather change created havoc in your
garden, pond or aviary, or even damaged your home?
Have you ever noticed that the weather you experienced
during your day was different to that reported by your
nearest official weather station?
Have you ever left home wearing clothing that was too warm or
cool for the day's weather?
Or would you just like to know a little more about your
local weather than you can find out from TV or the internet?
A "yes" answer to any of those questions suggests that you
could benefit from owning your own home weather station.
Now is a great time to get weather station of your own.
Recent improvements mean they have never before been so
powerful, so easy to use and install, or so well priced.
I'm sure you'd like to know more, so here are some answers to
the seven most commonly asked questions about home weather
1. What is a Home Weather Station?
A modern home weather station consists of one or more sensors
which collect data on temperature, humidity, air pressure,
rainfall, and wind direction and speed from around your home.
This information is transferred to a receiver/display console
located in the comfort of your home, and updated frequently.
The cost and usefulness rises with the number of sensors
2. A friend had a weather station and there were cables
everywhere. Why would I want that?
No problems there. Older home weather stations sent
data along thin cables, but you will have no difficulty in
finding suitable units which use radio to transmit the
weather information, over effective ranges of 330 feet or
more. No wires, no holes in the roof or wall.
3. How difficult are they to set up?
With a little preplanning, it takes little time or effort
to get a home weather station up and running. Once you have
chosen the positions for the sensors and receiver, and checked
that they are in contact with each other, all you need is
some very basic ability with a drill and screwdriver.
4. How reliable are home weather stations, and what do they
Home weather stations vary from a simple temperature recorder
to multi sensor arrays. Costs start from less than US$30 for
the simplest models with a single sensor, up to around
$5-600 for a quality home weather center. More specialized
units, designed more for commercial and agricultural uses,
run up to $3,000. As in most things, you get what you pay for,
and you can expect a $500 model to be stronger and more reliable
than something from the lower end of the price range.
Nevertheless, with a little bit of preparation and maintenance,
you can expect the cheaper models to give good consistent
Much more information can be found at
5. Will I just see raw weather data, or can I expect more?
You can expect a lot more. Most weather stations offer a range
of calculated functions such as relative humidity, dewpoint,
heat index and wind chill factor, depending on which sensors
are used. Many have a basic forecasting ability, correct about
three times out of four. Many include alarm functions which
can be preset at critical high or low temperatures, high wind
speeds etc. Almost all show the time, and many of the simpler
ones can double as an alarm clock - imagine being woken in the
morning with the console showing both the time and the outside
6. Can I connect my weather station to my computer?
In most cases, yes. In fact many of the better weather stations
include software allowing easy connection. A wide range of
commercial weather software is compatible with most weather
Take it a step further and you can even link your weather station
with automatic heating and watering systems (and much more).
Imagine the savings in water use if your irrigation system
was controlled by something a little smarter than a timer.
7. What other uses could a home weather station have?
I've mentioned a number of uses in the answers above, but a home
weather station can help out anywhere that wind, rainfall or
temperature data is useful. Most stations will handle several
temperature sensors - you could check soil temperature to
help guide you with spring or fall plantings, pool temperatures,
or even temperatures in a baby's nursery inside your home.
Or you could run a very simple system monitoring temperatures
in an outdoor aviary or greenhouse.
On a different track, you can upload your data to a web page -
many people do - or contribute to the overall USA weather
picture by sending your information to CWOP (Citizen Weather
There are so many ways to benefit from a home weather station.
But to my mind, I've left the best to last.
By observing the weather around your home, you are opening up
a much wider field - the enjoyment of the natural world.
As you see patterns develop in the information you have
collected, you'll start to appreciate the weather maps, weather
warnings, satellite images, radar and forecasts more. You'll
find yourself watching the clouds, and how they change with
variations in air pressure or wind direction, and you may even
improve on the official forecasts.
And overall you'll find yourself paying more attention to the
world outside - not just the sky, wind and clouds but all other
aspects of the natural world.
So if you can see a need for a home weather station, go ahead
and get one that suits you - you'll find a link to a helpful
website just below the end of this article. But don't be surprised
if your horizons expand well beyond your own backyard.
================================================================©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