How To Get An Accurate Reading And Forecast From Your Home Indoor Weather Station
For many of us used to working with personal weather stations, it's remarkable how accurate and advanced today's indoor weather stations have become. Most of them come standard with features that were only available on high-end and professional weather systems two decades ago.
Even some of those without an outdoor sensor unit, are still able to make surprisingly accurate weather predictions from measurements taken indoors.
That does not mean care should be taken when it comes to choosing the best location in your home to place your personal weather station. Choosing the worst location in your home can throw off even the best of indoor weather stations, while choosing the best possible location will improve and maximize the measuring and forecasting capabilities of a quality station.
The best place to put a weather station is be determined to a large extent by the space in your home, as well as some very important factors we will be addressing in the next section.
Factors To Take Into Consideration
When it comes to choosing the best indoor location for personal weather station placement, a few very important factors should be taken into consideration.
Most home weather stations (and many professional weather systems) rely on a variety, but specifically three weather variables to determine current and forecast future weather conditions. They are temperature, humidity and air pressure.
Advanced weather stations with an array of outdoor sensors make use of additional measurements. (Wind direction, wind speed and rainfall.)
Since we are focusing on indoor weather stations however, these three weather variable will play the biggest part in taking accurate readings and better weather forecasts.
The best way to understand each one's importance is to take a closer look at how each one influence weather conditions:
Temperature is probably the most familiar weather element all of us can associate with. We all know the feeling of being hot or cold, and that temperature are mostly responsible for it.
But temperature does a lot more than just determining how we feel. Changes in temperature can also be an indication of a change in weather conditions.
In many instances, a relatively fast and persistent drop in air temperature may be an indication of a cold front approaching, which is normally associated with moisture filled clouds which will result in cold and rainy weather.
This not always the case though. Sometimes, depending on where you live, a persistent rise in temperature may also point to extreme weather conditions on the way.
This is one of the reasons it is so important to never use temperature on its own to try and predict future weather conditions, but always use it in conjunction with humidity and air (barometric) pressure readings.
The big takeaway here is that fairly rapid and persistent changes in temperature help to indicate changes in weather. That is why it so vital to place your weather station where it is mostly affected by natural changes in temperature, and not by artificial elements like heaters, air conditions, stoves etc.
Changes in humidity (or lack of it) is also a key indicator of changes in weather conditions. It also amplifies the effect of temperature we are experiencing.
In a dessert, a high temperature may be quite tolerable. Experience the same temperature at the tropics and the coast where the humidity is much higher, and suddenly it becomes uncomfortably hot and draining.
The same applies to cold weather. A relatively cold temperature may also be bearable in a dry location. The same temperature experienced at the Scottish Coast under misty condition are experienced as much colder with a lot more "bite" than its cousin over dry land.
Back to its forecasting ability. A sustained increase in humidity more often than not points to rainy weather conditions approaching. (The rain-carrying air and clouds contain a high volumes of moisture, which can normally be detected by increased humidity readings form your weather station, as the rainy weather conditions are preceded by increasingly humid air ahead of it.)
Similar to temperature, it is vital that you place your indoor weather station in a neutral location unaffected by artificial sources of humidity. Bathrooms or laundry rooms for example, generate their own sources of humidity which can result in false readings and inaccurate forecasts by weather stations.
To learn more about humidity and the effect on its surroundings, you can find it in this article.
3) Air (barometric) Pressure
The last important variable I want to touch on is air (barometric) pressure. Normally a drop in air pressure is an indication of rain and stormy weather on the way. A rise in air pressure on the other hand, is an indication of approaching pleasant and sunny conditions.
Barometric pressure are very closely tied to temperature and the two often often go hand-in-hand. (You can learn more about how high and low-pressures systems are formed and the weather that is formed as a result in this article.)
Needless to say, a location in your house that have an unnatural/artificial effect on the temperature, will impact air pressure as well.
As a result, the same advice given for accurate temperature readings, apply to air pressure readings as well. This means, for an accurate barometric pressure reading, place your weather station in a location where the temperature is as stable as possible, and unaffected by artificial heating and cooling.
You can learn more about air (barometric) pressure in this article.
Choose Your Room Carefully
Deciding on which room to place your weather station in, will play a big part in determining how accurate your weather station's readings will be.
As you probably would have guessed, based on the factors mentioned in the previous section, there are certain rooms that are completely off-limits when to comes to indoor weather station placements. Time to expose the biggest culprits:
The Bathroom: Something you will find in every bathroom, is a shower or bath (or both). Even taking a lukewarm shower will cause a dramatic increase in humidity and temperature. Even using the washing basin or flushing the toilet has a bigger effect on humidity than you think. So you can imagine the dramatic effect it will have on a weather station's readings. This room is a very big no-no.
The Kitchen: Similar to the bathroom, the kitchen is also a source of artificial influences on the air, especially the temperature. The stove, microwave and even the back of your fridge generate a significant amount of heat. Heated food from the stove and microwave can also generate enough steam to cause significant changes in humidity. These factors make the kitchen just as unsuitable as the bathroom for weather station placement.
Rooms Receiving Direct Sunlight: Many houses are built in such a way to make the most use of sunlight. (In the Northern Hemisphere, you will find many rooms facing south to receive more sunlight, and in the Southern Hemisphere many rooms are facing north for the same reason). Although this helps to keep these specific rooms warm during winter times, it creates a much higher temperature than that of the outside air or the rest of the house. Preferably, these rooms should be avoided. At the very least, place the weather station as far away from the window as possible and out of direct sunlight.
So which room is the best suited to place your weather station then?
Obviously you know by know which specific rooms to avoid. Having said that, you know your house best. So you will know which room in it closely reflects that of the weather conditions outside.
To put it more precisely, choose the room that reacts in the closest possible way to the way the outside weather reacts and change. This will be the best possible location for your indoor weather station.
I am not oblivious of the fact that many weather enthusiasts do not have a house or big apartment with various rooms to choose from to place your weather station in.
Don't let this put you off. There is always something you can do to make your indoor measurements as accurate as possible, no matter how small your home environment. Even in a bachelor flat...
Needless to say, if your apartment is big enough to house a separate bathroom and kitchen, please avoid them for the reasons already mentioned earlier in this section (with humidity and temperature being the biggest culprits). The same applies to any location in the apartment close to a window that receives direct sunlight for much of the day.
Like the owner of a house, you know your apartment best, so you will know which spot in it closely reflects that of the weather conditions outside. And like the most suited room in a house, this spot in your apartment will be the best location for your weather station.
A final note needs to be made on height. (This applies to both house and apartment owners.) The height of your weather station is as important as the location of your house/apartment you choose to place it in.
Air in your home reacts very much in the same way as air outside in the earth's atmosphere. This means the colder (and heavier) air is located closest to the floor, while the warmest (and lightest) air is located at the ceiling or the highest point in the room.
(This is why your attic is always the hottest location in your house and the cellar the coldest.)
As you probably already guessed, the best possible height to place your weather station is about halfway between the floor and ceiling. Luckily and conveniently, this is normally more or less at eye level when seated, which makes it a very practical location.
A Word On Outdoor Sensors
As we are focussing on indoor weather stations in this article, there is no need to go into any detail about outdoor sensor placement. If you need to get more information on optimal outdoor sensor placement though, I dedicated a whole article on the subject. You can read the full article here.
In summary, keeping the sensors as far away as possible from nearby objects that may interfere with accurate measurements is always the best practice to follow. (The article mentioned in the previous paragraph are packed with all the information you need to make informed decisions about outdoor sensor placement.)
By now, you should have a pretty good idea and overview of what location will be best to place your indoor weather station in. I made it pretty clear which variables have the biggest influence on their sensor readings, as well as which rooms to avoid.
Not only has the specific type of rooms to be avoided been highlighted, but the the point has also been made that you will be able to find a suitable spot to place your weather station, no matter how small or limited your living space.
I hope this will help you get the most out of your humble indoor weather station.
Feel free to leave me any comments, questions or suggestions, and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
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Until next time, keep your eye on the weather!