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Weather Station Maintenance Tips
Like most equipment, a home weather station requires regular maintenance to ensure accuracy is preserved. In addition, keeping the weather instruments and other sensors properly maintained will extend their life. Siting the weather station in a location that is free from obstructions and other debris will help keep maintenance requirements to a minimum. Common sense also goes a long way in keeping your weather station in good shape.
Disclaimer: Some weather station sensors and components are delicate pieces of technology. The utmost care should be taken when handling and cleaning them. Excess liquids or spraying wiping them could be damaging. In addition, all weather stations are different and this is a general guide not specific to your particular weather station model. Please take care and always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines in their weather station manual.
Solar-Powered Weather Stations
For weather stations with solar power, check the solar panels regularly to ensure they are clean. For best results, the panels should be facing south (in the Northern Hemisphere) for optimal sun exposure at set at a 30 degree angle. It should go without saying, but you’ll need to make sure the solar panel is not shaded by anything nearby.
Weather Stations with a Radiation Shield
Debris inside the radiation shield can cause inaccurate measurements of temperature and humidity. The shield should be inspected and cleaned annually. These can typically be wiped with a damp cloth to remove any debris.
Weather Sensor Maintenance
As you might suspect, weather sensor maintenance is key to accuracy. Here’s what should be inspected on each instrument if applicable.
Often, this sensor is housed inside of a radiation shield so there is little to no regular maintenance required. However, it is good practice to ensure that it’s clear of debris if you have the radiation shield removed. It should also be checked if you start to see faulty temperature or humidity readings suddenly.
Debris can affect the rotation of the wind vane and cups. On occasion, insects might also find their way into this area, causing a rotational issue. If this is the case, you can typically remove the cups to clean the area with a damp cloth or cotton swab. When replacing, make sure the cups spin freely.
For best accuracy, the rain collector should be cleaned regularly, or as often as needed, which is usually several times per year. Leaves, insects, and other debris can find its way to blocking the collector or clogging the debris screen. Depending on the model, you can clean the debris screen, cup, and spoons with a soft, damp cloth, making sure not to scratch the spoons.
Accuracy of instrument readings should be good for several years, however if things seem to be off, you may need to re-calibrate them. Every five years is a good rule of thumb, but check with the manufacturer for their guidance. Similarly, please confirm with the manufacturer on the process of re-calibration. All models may have their own calibration methods. Their instructions should be followed to ensure the best results.
Any weather station that has batteries should have them checked and replaced regularly. Most manufacturers will have a scheduled interval for replacement. If not, we recommend replacing them every year. Obviously, if they’re not lasting a full year, you should change them more often. There are many factors that can affect battery life in home weather station, including excessive heat/cold temperatures. To that note, name brand alkaline batteries should be used for best performance, unless temperatures drop below -4 degrees Fahrenheit, in which case, name brand lithium batteries should be used.
Most home weather stations are very robust and will last for many years. This is especially true if you can keep them clean and maintained. Always reference the manufacturer’s service manual for guidance. With some regular TLC, you can enjoy you weather station’s top accuracy and extend its life.