- Have you ever started a conversation with a comment about the weather?
- Has the unexpected weather change caused serious damage to your garden, pond or birdhouse or even your home?
- Have you noticed that the weather you experience during the day is different from the weather reported by the nearest official weather station?
- Have you ever left the house wearing clothes that are too warm or too cold for the weather?
- Or do you just want to know more about the local weather than via TV or the internet?
- If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, it indicates that you could benefit from having your own home weather station.
- Now is a good time to build your own weather station. Thanks to recent improvements, they’ve never been so powerful, so easy to use and install, or so reasonably priced.
I believe you want to know more, so here are some answers to the seven most frequently asked questions about home weather stations:
1. What is a home weather station?
A modern home weather station consists of one or more sensors that can collect data from your home such as temperature, humidity, pressure, rainfall, wind direction and speed. This information is sent to the receiver/display console in your home and is updated regularly. Cost and usability increase as the number of sensors used increases.
2. A friend has a weather station with cables everywhere. Why would I do that?
no problem. Older home weather stations transmit data over thin cables, but you can effortlessly find the right device to use radio to transmit weather information within an effective range of 100 meters or more. There are no wires, no holes in the roof or walls.
3. How hard is it to set up?
With a little advance planning, you can easily start and operate a home weather station. Once you’ve selected the location of the sensor and receiver and verified that they are touching, all you need is a basic skill of using a drill and screwdriver.
4. How reliable is the home weather station? How much are they?
Home weather stations range from simple temperature recorders to multi-sensor arrays. The cost of the simplest single-sensor model starts at less than $30, and the cost of a high-quality home weather center can go up to about $5-600. More professional units are designed for more commercial and agricultural purposes, up to a maximum of US$3,000. As with most things, you get what you pay for, and you can expect the $500 model to be more powerful and reliable than the lower end of the price range.
Nevertheless, with some preparation and maintenance, you can expect the cheaper models to offer a good consistent service.
5. Will I only see the raw weather data or can I expect more?
You can expect more. Most weather stations offer a range of calculation functions, such as relative humidity, dew point, heat index and wind chill, depending on the sensor used. Many people have basic predictive skills and are about three quarters correct. Many include alarm functions that can be preset for critical high or low temperatures, high wind speeds, etc. Nearly all display the time, and many simpler alarms can double as an alarm clock – imagine that when you wake up in the morning, the console displays both the time and the outside temperature.
6. Can I connect my weather station to my computer?
In most cases yes. Much better weather stations even include software that allows easy connection. A wide range of commercial weather software is compatible with most weather station models.
Furthermore, you can even connect a weather station to an automatic heating and watering system (and so on). Just imagine how much water you would save if your irrigation system were controlled by something smarter than a timer.
7. What other uses are there for home weather stations?
I mentioned many uses in the above answer, but a home weather station can help where wind, rainfall or temperature data is useful. Most locations can handle multiple temperature sensors – you can monitor the soil temperature to help guide your spring or fall planting, the pool temperature, and even the temperature of the nursery in your home.
Or you can use a very simple system to monitor the temperature in an outdoor birdhouse or greenhouse.
Several tracks allow you to upload your data to a web page – many people do – or contribute to the overall U.S. weather picture by submitting your information to the CWOP (Citizen Weather Observer Program).
There are many ways to take advantage of a home weather station. But I think I saved the best for the end.
By observing the weather around your home, you open up a wider area – enjoying the natural world.
As you see the development of patterns of collected information, you will appreciate weather maps, weather alerts, satellite imagery, radars and forecasts more. You’ll find yourself observing the clouds and how they change with changes in air pressure or wind direction, and you can even improve the official forecast.
In general, you will find yourself paying more attention to the outside world – not just the sky, wind and clouds, but all other aspects of the natural world.
Therefore, if you find yourself needing a weather station for your home, continue to choose the weather station that’s right for you – you’ll find a link to a helpful website at the end of this article. However, don’t be surprised if your view extends far beyond your own backyard.