Dr. Penny Pincher founded the popular personal finance blog Penny Pincher Journal in 2013 and has published two books about saving money.
Simple Home Weather Station
Build Your Own Home Weather Station
There are many high quality products available that allow you to create your own home weather station. It is useful to have quick access to the current temperature to decide what to wear in the morning. If you have a garden or landscaping, it is useful to track rainfall in your yard so you can determine when and how much to water your plants. With some home weather monitoring products, you can obtain a personal weather forecast based on barometric pressure readings at your location. Emergency weather radio products provide warnings for hazardous weather.
Depending on your budget, you can buy several inexpensive pieces and build up your weather monitoring capability or buy a more sophisticated integrated home weather system. For under $15, you can get basic components such as a wireless thermometer and gauge. Some home weather stations cost hundreds of dollars and include a base station that displays weather data from multiple wireless sensors such as temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, wind speed, rainfall, and UV level. Some weather stations also receive weather forecast data from a wireless internet connection.
Wireless Thermometer Base Station
Temperature Monitoring Products for Home Weather Station
Simple indoor/outdoor thermometers are available starting under $1. Some have suction cups and mount on an outside window facing in for easy viewing. Larger outdoor thermometers can be mounted further away from your house and can be viewed from inside or outside. These larger thermometers start at $5. Some simple thermometers also include a humidity gauge.
Wireless thermometers have an outdoor sensor that sends temperature data to an indoor display using a wireless connection. Some models also have a temperature display on the outdoor unit. The indoor display can be located in a convenient location so you can easily check the outdoor temperature. Most displays also show indoor temperature. You can use the remote sensor to monitor the temperature in a cold frame when starting plants or in your basement or garage. Wireless thermometers start at about $15.
Wireless Rain Gauge
Rainfall Monitoring Products for Home Weather Station
Simple Rain Gauge
A simple rain gauge is a cylinder with markings to indicate the amount of water collected in the tube. Simple rain gauges start at under $5.
Wireless Rain Gauge
Wireless rain gauges have a remote sensor that collects water and transmits the rainfall amount using a wireless connection to an indoor display. Many automatically empty their collection container.
Weather Forecast Station
Weather Forecast Station Products
Weather stations use barometric pressure measurements to provide continuous weather forecasts. These stations may incorporate other sensors such as outdoor temperature, rainfall, wind speed, and UV level.
Some weather forecast stations use a wireless internet connection to get weather forecast information using your wireless router. Weather forecast stations may also have a radio link to receive atomic time and display sunrise/sunset times and moon phase information. Weather forecast stations start at about $50 and may cost much more depending on the quality of the sensors. Basic weather stations with a wind speed sensor start at about $70.
The pictured alarm clock with barometric pressure sensor, indoor temperature, atomic clock, and simple weather forecast display cost about $20.
Emergency Weather Radio
Emergency Weather Radio Products
Use an emergency weather radio to monitor weather during severe weather to know when to take shelter and when it is safe to come out.
NOAA Emergency Weather Radio Options:
- Power: Some models use A/C power but also run on battery or with crank generator during power outages.
- Radio features: Weather radios receive weather warnings from the weather service and some receive standard AM/FM radio stations and over the air TV broadcast audio as well.
- Weather warnings: You can program a weather radio to provide relevant alerts based on your location. The alert can be an alarm sound that can get your attention in case of weather emergency.
- Portability: Some models are handheld portable models, others are countertop models.
- Emergency features: LED Flashlight, Siren
Locate a weather radio in your main living space to provide warnings to take shelter- this is especially useful to provide severe weather warnings when you are asleep. Locate a weather radio in your shelter area in your house for access during severe weather so you know when it is safe to emerge from shelter. If you have a portable or handheld model, you can easily move your weather radio from your living space to your shelter location during weather emergencies.
What Do You Want From Your Home Weather Station?
There are several ways to use a home weather station. The type of equipment you need to set up your weather station depends on what capability you want. Here are some typical uses:
Suction Cup Thermometer
Daily Weather Check During Morning Routine
It is convenient to have your own weather station to check current weather and short-term forecast to select clothing to wear and make plans for the day. No more waiting for the forecast to come up on the TV morning news or messing around with your smart phone to get the forecast.
- Standard outdoor thermometer- mount thermometer outside a window for easy viewing from inside.
- Wireless outdoor thermometer- mount the sensor outside and place the indoor display in a convenient location
Weather Forecast Options
- Indoor weather station/alarm clock. Indoor temperature, barometric pressure, weather forecast and atomic clock
- Weather station system with forecast display
Track Rainfall for Gardening and Landscaping
Keep track of rainfall so you know when and how much to water your plants, garden, and grass.
Rain Gauge Options:
- Simple Rain Gauge: Tube style rain gauge with reference marks. Locate the rain collection tube where you can see it easily from a window and access it easily to empty it.
- Wireless Rain Gauge: Rain gauge sensor with wireless transmitter and indoor display. Some models automatically empty water from the collection chamber. You can locate the sensor in your garden or other area where you want to monitor rainfall and locate the display in a convenient location in your house.
Home Weather Station as a Hobby
Monitoring weather can be a fun hobby. It's interesting to know how cold it got on a really cold night, or how hot it got on a really hot day. Weather is a natural topic of conversation. With a home weather station, you'll be able to report how much rain you got at your house, or the maximum wind speed during a storm. With your own weather sensors, you can get more detailed local weather information than the local TV weather report provides and you can get it at any time you wish. A home weather station can also provide an Interesting science experience for kids.
Home Weather Stations
Oregon Scientific Weather Forecast Alarm Clock
Tips for Setting up your Home Weather Station
- Consider how you'll use your home weather station before buying- a simple wireless thermometer may be all you really need to get started
- Weather monitoring is an inexpensive hobby that can provide entertainment year round
© 2013 Dr Penny Pincher
Dr Penny Pincher (author) from Iowa, USA on April 19, 2013:
Thanks kidscrafts and stephanieb27! My emergency weather radio has a built-in LED light and also gets radio and TV, so it is handy for camping and any time power is out. My wireless thermometer is my favorite weather instrument- I am in the habit of checking it several times a day.
stephanieb27 from United States on April 19, 2013:
I agree with kidscrafts! I definitely should get an emergency radio. At least where I live, this is the time of year to get a lot of use from those weather instruments! :)
kidscrafts from Ottawa, Canada on April 19, 2013:
Great suggestions! I am often thinking to buy an emergency radio not just for the weather but for any emergency. I should write that on my shopping list because it so convenient in case of emergency or loss of electricity!