Buying a personal weather station can be a good investment. But, sometimes “easy to install” may not be so easy. And, despite a manufacturer’s best efforts, some people need some extra help.
Visual learners can watch videos online or users can read the manual. However, for anyone seeking tips in one place this the place to find them. This article seeks to demystify weather station setup and installation. Check out these basic tips to install most weather stations and optimize the weather station owner experience.
Installing The Weather Station
There are a variety of reasons to purchase a home weather station. But, the results are always the same: accurate and informative weather information. However, to obtain that accurate data, the weather sensor needs to be set up a certain way.
Many times, when users report inaccurate temperature readings, it’s due to setting up the thermometer sensor wrong. Follow these tips to ensure accurate temperature readings:
Set The Thermometer Sensor In A Shaded Area
Truly accurate temperature readings are from a shaded area with a lot of ventilation. So, when setting up the sensor, make sure it is in a place that does not get direct sunlight. It also needs to be in an area that is accessible to the wind.
Setup On The roof
If the thermometer is going on the roof, don’t put it directly on the surface. Instead, suspend or mount the thermometer at least 5 feet above the surface of the rooftop.
Setup In The Grass
Additionally, if the thermometer is going in a grassy area, don’t put it in the ground in the grass. Instead, mount it above the grass surface. The distance needs to be at least 5 feet above the grassy surface.
Setup Near Paved Surfaces
What if the entire area is paved? The temperature won’t be accurate near it. Move the thermometer at least 50 feet away from the pavement.
If that is not possible, mount it on a fence or pole. The mounted position still needs shade and good ventilation.
Using A Radiation Shield
If finding a good, shaded area is not an option, use a radiation shield. The thermometer is placed behind the shield to protect it from extreme temperatures, even in direct sunlight.
Also, some shields have ventilation aspirators fans for the thermometer. This also helps on days that are hot and still.
Lastly, use an aluminum sheet instead of a radiation shield for an economical DIY solution. Simply mount the shield approximately 6 inches away from the thermometer.
One of the main things to remember about humidity is that it reflects the humidity of the area. Therefore, the sensor should be a minimum 50 feet away from the nearest body of water or tree since both water and plants may affect humidity measurements in the area.
The best place to put the rain collector, also called a rain gauge, is in an open area. It shouldn’t be impeded in any direction. Place a minimum 5 feet clear from the nearest obstruction
Rain blockage can cause inaccurate results. So, place the gauge with the minimum horizontal clearance from the nearest building or wall. The nearest obstruction needs to be under 10 feet tall, especially if it’s only a little over 5 feet away.
Wind Speed And Direction
The sensor for wind, or anemometer, also needs to be in an area unobstructed by tall walls or buildings. Just like the rain sensor. Imagine putting it in a large empty field. That is how much leeway the sensor needs.
Wind Sensor Needs High Placement
If possible, place the wind sensor on the rooftop but if it cannot go on the roof, place it at least 33 feet above the ground. The sensor should be the highest object in the area and any other obstructions should be less than 7 feet below the sensor.
Sometimes the unit manual doesn’t cover everything. In that case, here are the answers to some other frequently asked questions regarding weather station set up.
What To Do If There Is No Post To Mount Weather Station?
There are brand-name tripods and arm mounts that may be purchased separately. The arm mount attaches to an exterior wall or fence and allows for easy installation at a height. However, for ground and rooftop placement options, use a tripod.
In addition, a trip to the hardware store may also yield materials to DIY a mount or tripod but because this requires some construction or assembly experience, it may not be a popular option. However, it may be cheaper than buying a pre-made one.
Does The Ground Underneath The Station Matter?
Surface type may affect the temperatures that the station measures so for optimal readings, the station should go over low shrubs or short grass. And, it should be at least 5 feet above these surfaces.
How Close Does The Station Need To Be To The Receiver?
This depends solely on the brand and model of the weather station. Check out the guidelines for the weather station before purchasing to plan accordingly.
How To Maintain The Weather Station
Regular maintenance can ensure the weather data is always accurate. For temperature and humidity sensors, remove the accumulated debris and dirt. And, remember to remove any ice and snow that may accumulate in the winter.
Next, check the wind sensor at least once a year. And, if it’s required, also lubricate and clean the bearings. Visual checks throughout the year to make sure the anemometer rotates freely is also a good idea.
Lastly, check out the collector and bucket for dirt, debris, and insects. Clean them out gently as needed.
Owning and monitoring a personal weather station can be a rewarding experience. The weather reports received from a home station are relevant to the user and it may make planning daily activities easier to do.
However, setting up the sensors outside may be daunting, especially if the backyard is not optimized for the weather sensors. But, with a little bit of work it is possible to install the station sensors correctly and yield accurate results the entire household can benefit from.
Lastly, the tips in this article are meant to be a general overview of all weather stations. But, stations may vary by manufacturer so it’s always best to consult with the enclosed weather station manual when in doubt.