How to Set Up a Personal Weather Station

Where to put your home weather station, and how they work

What to Know

  • Assemble weather station: You may need to attach instruments, install a battery, and pair it with the base station.
  • Weather station should be far away from buildings, trees, and other obstructions as possible, and at least five feet off the ground.
  • Locate a position for the console or base station inside your home closest to the weather station.

This article will explain how to set up a personal weather stations.

How Do I Set Up a Personal Weather Station?

Personal weather stations are made up of a number of scientific instruments, but you don’t have to be a meteorologist to set one up. They’re designed to be user friendly, so the setup process for a typical home weather station is fairly straightforward.

Some weather stations require some light assembly, but a lot of them are ready to use right out of the box. After that, it’s just a matter of finding a good location to place the weather station, and then mounting it on a post or pole. Some home weather stations also have to be paired or connected to the indoor base station. You may need to install an app on your phone.

Here’s how to set up a personal weather station:

  1. Assemble your sensor assembly or individual sensors if necessary.

    Assembling and turning on a personal weather station.

    Follow the instructions included with your weather station. You may need to attach sensors, insert a battery, turn the sensors on, or pair the sensors to a base station.

  2. Locate a site for your weather station.

    Locating an open space for a personal weather station.
  3. Install your weather station at the chosen site.

    A personal weather station installed on a post.
  4. Plug in and power on your console, base station, or sync module.

    A personal weather station base station connected to a modem.
  5. Verify the base station and the sensor assembly or individual sensors are close enough to communicate by checking the weather station's display console or connected app.

    Information from a personal weather station displayed on a phone app.

    If your weather station sends data to the internet, the base station will also need to be close enough to your router to connect via ethernet or Wi-Fi.

Where Do You Place a Home Weather Station?

The most important part of setting up a personal weather station is choosing where to install it. This process is known as siting, because you’re selecting a site where you will install the weather station.

If your weather station has several individual sensors, then you can choose ideal installation sites for each sensor. If your weather station has a single assembly which includes all of the sensors, then you will need to select a site which will allow for the most accurate readings from all of the sensors.

Here are the most common weather station sensors with siting advice for each:

  • Temperature: This sensor should never be placed in direct sunlight without a radiation shield. It should be at least fifty feet from the nearest paved surface and five feet above the ground, or five feet above your roof if your weather station is roof-mounted.
  • Humidity: Place humidity sensors at least 50 feet away from trees and bodies of water to avoid erroneously high readings.
  • Rain: Avoid placing in the rain shadow of fences, buildings, trees, and other obstructions. Place your sensor more than five feet away from obstructions taller than 10 feet.
  • Wind: The ideal position for an anemometer is about 30 feet above the ground, or at least seven feet above any nearby obstructions like trees and buildings. If that isn’t possible, place it as far away from obstructions as possible.

What’s the Best Location For a Home Weather Station?

The ideal site for a home weather station is in the middle of a large field, with no nearby obstructions, and mounted on a pole at least seven feet tall. For most people, that isn’t an option.

Here are some decent locations for a home weather station:

  • Mounted on a flagpole.
  • Mounted on a free-standing post or pole as far away from nearby obstructions as possible at least five feet off the ground.
  • Mounted on a roof at least five to seven feet above the roof.
  • Mounted on an exterior wall of a house or other building, using a mount arm which places the sensor unit above the roof line.
  • Mounted on a fence.

How Much Does It Cost to Set Up a Weather Station?

The two major costs involved in setting up a weather station are the weather station and the mounting hardware. If you opt to mount your weather station on a fence or flagpole that you already have, the only cost is the weather station. You may need to purchase some mounting hardware, or the weather station may come with all of the necessary mounting hardware.

Home weather stations are typically priced between about $50 and $500. Complete weather stations, which will include all of the common sensors, start around $100. Mounting hardware costs vary from from a few dollars if you only need to buy simple items like lag bolts and clamps, to several hundred dollars if you need to buy and install a pole. Mounting arms that allow you to install a weather station on a fence or the side of your house are available for about $20 to over $200.

How Do Personal Weather Stations Work?

Personal weather stations are made up of a number of scientific instruments. Each instrument measures some aspect of the weather like the temperature, wind speed and direction, and precipitation. That information is all transmitted wirelessly to a console, base station, or sync module inside your house. In most cases, the console or base station includes a display you can look at to see the current weather conditions.

Some weather stations also send data to the internet, which allows you to view the readings from each instrument in an app on your phone or on a website. Some of these internet-connected weather stations can also contribute data to crowdsourced platforms like Weather Underground to improve forecasts for everyone.

In addition to providing information on the current weather conditions, some personal weather stations also predict the weather for your specific location. Some basic weather stations will indicate if the weather is expected to remain the same or change based on current and historic conditions, and others will indicate basic conditions, like if it’s expected to be sunny, cloudy, or rainy within the next 24 hours.

Some more advanced personal weather stations use your local data, along with data from the National Weather Service and proprietary algorithms, to provide a complete weather forecast. In some cases, these custom forecasts can even be more accurate than weather apps which aren't typically tailored to your exact location.

FAQ
  • How do I set up a personal weather staton for Rachio?

    First, install your weather station and register with the PWSWeather network. From the Rachio app, select More Controller Settings > Weather Intelligence > Weather Data Source > toggle on Use Personal Weather Station (PWS) > and choose your weather station from the list. If your weather station doesn't appear, wait a few days for the station to be verified; Rachio reports that this process can take up to 16 days.

  • How do I set up a personal weather station on Weather Underground?

    After installing your weather station, log in or create an account with Weather Underground if you aren't a member. Go to Sensor Network > Connect a Weather Station > Personal Weather Station to add your address and weather station details. Once you complete registration, Weather Underground will assign a Station ID; add this ID to your particular weather station's app to allow data sharing.

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