Personal weather stations have come a long way, and they are as important as ever. It looks like you’ve got yourself one. Now you’ll find that getting the right spot to mount the weather station is a hassle.
It takes a lot of experimentation to find the sweet spot, especially if you don’t have an open sky around you. But the good news is you’ve already done the hard part by getting a weather station.
If you don’t have the right weather station mounting ideas, you might as well be pouring your money down the drain. Getting the most accurate data is hard. So, if you want to help out by providing accurate data, it’s necessary to follow certain guidelines regarding equipment safety.
This article will be a complete guideline for mounting weather stations in your home. Read till the end if you’d like to get some fresh ideas to position your weather station.
Why Is Selecting the Right Place Important?
Choosing an appropriate spot for your weather station is vital if you’d like to get the result you’re paying for. Putting it in the wrong place will not only give you the wrong data but also makes it vulnerable to getting damaged.
For example, positioning the weather station under a tree will massively affect the accuracy of rainfall data. If you place it in an alley between two buildings, you’ll see that there’ll be a wind tunnel effect on the anemometer. The wind data will be full of errors.
The process of selecting the most suitable place for your weather station has a name. It’s called “Siting.” Siting is the most important factor to get right if you want to ensure accurate readings.
A wrong placement will only make the latest technologies in your weather station look bad.
Weather Station Mounting Solution
There aren’t a lot of suitable places around you, which is NOT a good thing, I guess? These are the places where weather stations have seemed to perform as expected.
1. Mount-It on the Roof
This is the most popular weather station mounting spot. It has all the right things for a weather station to work properly. Open sky and no overhead surrounding buildings make it an appropriate option in both rural and urban settings.
When you mount it on a roof, the anemometer automatically sits higher than any close by obstructions. That being said, you have to make sure you’re in one of the tallest buildings in your area. Mounting on a 5-storied roof with 10-storied buildings around you won’t have the same result.
When mounting on a roof, consider whether the roof is pitched or flat. Depending on the type, you’ll need to get a tripod or a side mount.
2. Mount-It on the Chimney
This is a spot most favored by folks living in the suburban area. A chimney is available to all households. It has all the right things to install your weather station.
Remember that mounting on chimneys means that you’ll be required to compromise on the height of the anemometer. But the height is in the accepted range.
3. Mount-It on Grass
If you have an open space near you, like a big yard or a park available to park, that is a good place you can choose. Use a tripod or mast to position your equipment. It is the best way to get accurate results, but sadly the opportunity doesn’t avail itself to most people.
You’re lucky if you have the option.
4. Mount-It on the Fence
There are still options when nothing is working out if you know how to utilize them. Fences make the perfect spots for installing your portable weather station if you think of it.
You need to make sure that it’s strong, durable, and stable. Shaky fences will not work as well as we need them to work.
Any of the side mounting kits will work. If you have a chimney side mount in hand, then that’ll work.
5. Mount-It on the Side of a Wall/Building
This might be the only option available to those living in urban areas. Don’t worry; a side-mounted weather station will give all the accurate data if you use the correct calibration.
Make sure to use a side-mounting kit with horizontal offset to fix the station in place.
6. Mount it on Vehicles
I think this is more appropriate for a personal weather station if you’re someone who always moves around. It’ll not only give you the open sky and space you need but also give you a chance to measure more data and compare between them.
What NOT to Do When Mounting Weather Stations
Properly mounting a weather station has to do more with maintaining a proper environment than finding the right place for it. Here are a few guidelines you can follow:
For Temperature Sensors
A common error when installing a station is not taking the temperature sensor’s sensitivity into account. So, make sure to follow the following rules,
- No direct sunlight on the temperature sensor
- Lots of ventilation scopes, and it needs to have unobstructed airflow
- If placed on a roof, it needs to be at least 5 feet above the roof surface
- When placing it on the ground/grass, it needs to be at least 5 feet above
- There can be no paved surfaces around the thermometer in a 50 feet radius
My suggestion would be to use a radiation shield. In this way, you can place the weather station under direct sunlight without affecting the reading. Make sure that the radiation shield has ventilation. It helps a lot in a hot and humid climate.
Cheap alternative for a radiation shield: Use a sheet of aluminum and place it 6 inches away from the thermometer. Make a few perforations on it to ensure ventilation.
For Humidity Sensor
Any bodies of water around the humidity sensor will mess with its humidity reading. Even plants affect humidity reading. So, make sure to place it 50 feet away from trees and bodies of water.
For Rain Collector
The rain collector needs to be in a place where it receives rainfall like it’s in the middle of nowhere. It means there can be no obstruction, natural or unnatural, for the rainfall in any direction. Large buildings will cause wrong readings.
So, here is a general rule:
- Place the rain collector 5 feet away from the nearest obstruction
- The above rule will only apply if the obstruction is 10 feet high or less
For Anemometer (Wind Speed Measurement)
The anemometer is more affected by obstruction than the rain collector. Even the slightest of obstructions means the wrong measurement. To get the perfect reading -
- The anemometer has to take the readings from at least 10-meter height from the ground. That is why a rooftop is an automatic choice. You can use a mast if it’s on the ground.
- Make sure the anemometer sits at the highest spot in its area.
- If there are obstructions near it, it needs to be at least 8-10 feet above them.
Check out the National Weather Service’s recommendations for personal weather stations for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does it matter what type of surface is underneath my weather station?
Yes, it is important to note the material the surface underneath was built with. It directly affects the temperature measured at your location. Even the paint color on the surface will affect the temperature reading.
Weather stations on black surfaces (e.g., asphalt or black shingles) will read warmer temperatures than those on lighter colored surfaces (e.g., gravel).
Place it at least 5 feet higher than the ground to minimize the effect.
Does my weather station have to be close to the receiver for data flow?
It is different for different weather stations. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines for the appropriate setup.
What can I use if I don’t have a flagpole to mount my weather station?
A tripod is your best bet if you don’t have an existing flagpole or mast. They are easy to mount. You can also use an arm mount. It’ll help you to utilize the sidewall of your building or the fence.
Why should I have a personal weather station?
A weather station might be overkill for scheduling the next outdoor party or a long drive. That being said, you get the most accurate and real-time weather data, which is not possible to get from anywhere else.
Additionally, it’s an excellent opportunity to help the government authorities accurately forecast the weather.
How much does a weather station cost?
Weather stations are quite affordable. A good weather station’s price can be from $100 to $150.
The weather station mounting ideas I mentioned are tested and tried by hundreds of passionate weather station owners. These are great little instruments, but their performance can be dwarfed if you don’t maintain the proper guidelines given by the authority and the manufacturers.
As you’ve read, placing them away from obstructions is the only way to get accurate results. It doesn’t matter where you place it as long as they have ventilation and proper distance from things that affect the weather measurement.