To ensure that your weather station keeps giving accurate readings, it is important to maintain them on a regular basis. This weather station maintenance will also improve the longevity of the system.
We have distilled the most important maintenance activities into a short list you can print out or save in your bookmarks.
Each instrument of the best weather station is covered here along with the requisite maintenance steps.
Consideration for Easy Cleaning and Maintenance of Weather Station
- If the location of your weather house is in a lot of trees and other natural obstacles, then a regular and thorough cleaning of sensors is a must to avoid leaf, seeds, pollen grains, and needle accumulation.
- If your weather station is in a desert like area or may be in a dusty place then the sensors and the rain gauges can get clogged due to a lot of dust particles. It can further affect the measurements and cause severe damage to the ball bearings of the instruments.
- If the weather station is placed in a heavy rainy area, cleanliness is typically not a problem but the unwanted accumulation of natural waste due to rain is.
- If the weather station is somewhere at a higher altitude amidst clouds there are chances that the solar panel might get drained soon, so having battery backup becomes necessary. Whereas in areas where the temperature dips to -40 Fahrenheit lithium batteries are essential and not alkaline as they are not capable of tolerating the weather.
- The sensors might get obstructed with birds, bird poop or bugs as well so protecting the sensors from these is also equally essential.
Things to Check Before cleaning and maintenance
Before we begin explaining the maintenance regime of every component of the weather station, let us first understand what are the things to be followed on a regular basis to maintain the weather station.
Check the Station
To ensure that all the sensors are performing rightly and are totally clear of debris to ensure smooth working of the station as expected.
- Check for corrosion in the motherboard using a flashlight in all the spaces of the capacitors and also the plugs mainly if the weather station is situated near an ocean.
- Using wipes of alcohol to rub and clear the solar panels of dust periodically.
- Inspection of mounting brackets, cables, posts, poles to ensure that they are stable.
- Protecting the weather station instruments and safeguarding from the pruning, harvesting or the spraying on the sensors and cables make the weather stations lean.
Check Your Siting
There are chances that spiders and rodents may build webs/nestd or insects might make their home in a weather station siting or on some support pole or radiation shield.
This might hamper the accuracy of the reading. It is important to cover the open holes of the weather station with duct tape. This will prevent entry and damage.
Always remember not to seal the temperature or humidity reader shield.
Many times if any instrument is not used they tend to stop working, thus recalibration of these systems are a must.
Each system should be run and validated periodically (monthly is best). Sensors, if not used, tend to go bad which then have to be replaced.
How to Clean and Maintain Various Sensors of Weather Stations
Based on the weather station and its complexity, maintenance steps vary. Below is an individual review of each system.
Temperature and Humidity Sensors
Using a soft bristle toothbrush or a soft cloth, you can dust the radiation shield.
Then check for the instructions on the manual to remove the shield to clear the debris or some stacks between the panels.
Soap water cleansing is the best way to keep them thoroughly clean. Before you reinstall the components ensure that the entire unit is completely dried.
Once it is reinstalled, again using a soft bristles brush clean all around the temperature and humidity sensor gently.
The wind sensors also called as the Anemometers are one of the prime instruments which need to be cleaned and inspected regularly with lubrication of bearings at least once a year.
To fetch the accurate readings the wind vane needs to be perfectly oriented towards the wind and frequent adjustment might be required.
During severe winters, you need to be careful with the ice deposition on the instrument and it needs to be carefully removed, as there are chances that in due course the sensor’s plastic can easily break off.
So it is best advised to let the ice melt naturally before cleaning the water and wiping it.
Generally this instrument does not require much maintenance unless it stops rotating or is causing any problem. Or else annual maintenance will suffice.
The wind direction is measured by the wind vanes and any obstruction will give inaccurate readings of the wind direction.
So ensuring that there are no obstructions on the wind vanes is important. Generally there are chances that the spiders might build webs or insects with their nests.
So in such situations, it is important to clean it regularly using a cloth and in case the blades seem to be very dirty then soap water cleaning will do the job.
After the cleaning is done, ensure that the blades are freely spinning and the orientation of the vane as well.
The rain gauge or the tipping buckets both perform the same job of orienting the collected rain water via a funnel into a measuring mechanism.
This process is such that there are chances of deposition of leaves, insects, sticks or any other natural debris as the mechanism is exposed to the outer environment always.
This would affect the measurement’s accuracy as the debris would obstruct the funnel inside the gauge. So removing the unwanted debris and material in the funnel needs to be performed regularly by opening the rain gauge and putting out the foreign objects.
If the rain gauge has a mechanism of self emptying the debris, then the exit path needs to be checked for obstacles.
The deposited dust on the rain gauge can be wiped with moist cloth and before reinstalling it again the gauge levels need to be checked.
The solar panels are the ones which should be maintained regularly to have a prolonged life of the backup batteries. Cleaning, dusting, debris removal and bird droppings must be done on a daily basis to ensure optimal charging.
The solar panels must be wiped with a damp cloth or an anti static to tune out the weather station.
Solar Radiation Sensor
Regular inspection of solar radiation sensors is a must to safeguard accurate solar readings.
So wiping the dust and debris of the lens or the covers of the radiation sensor must be done. In case of a bubble level, the sensor level must be checked on regular intervals.
Regular checks of the UV Sensor to obtain precise and consistent UV measurements is necessary.
The dust, dirt or the accumulated debris can be removed or wiped off using a soft cloth. The sensor level should be on check.
Leaf wetness sensors
To protect the cables of weather stations from pruning or sensors from the spraying or the harvesting activities, a plastic grid like thing is fixed 45 degrees from horizontal facing north.
To maintain the leaf wetness sensor, make sure you keep it away from dirt, and debris. Use a soft toothbrush with water or wet wipe to keep it clean.
One of the most important things to follow to maintain a weather station is to have a tab on the power sources.
As failing of the power supply would majorly interrupt the collection of data and cause a huge issue for the entire nation.
Cleanliness needs to be maintained at the power sources and regular check on the batteries need to be done for battery backed up weather stations.
The power source of the weather station through the batteries and thus is important to take care of the batteries in battery operated stations.
As per the user manual instruction the batteries need to be timely replaced and a low battery indicator would light up, which needs to be kept tab on.
Troubleshooting in times of unusual readings also needs to be done.
Few Tips for Cleaning and Maintaining Home Weather Station
- Re-calibration is the prime step to be followed if the station’s accuracy seems to be diminishing and the values can be again reconciled with the nearby weather station.
- Obstruction checks on a daily basis is a must on the mounted stations or any kind of vinity change.
- Once the cleaning is completed all the screws and attachments must be tightened to originality.
- Based on the self requirements and conditions, the sensors need to be maintained.
- Anti Static wipes, Silicone sprays and Alcohol are the best cleaning agents to maintain weather stations.
To maintain a weather station is a very simple and a straight process but is a very crucial and critical step.
Itmust be performed with utmost dedication to enjoy uninterrupted accurate readings and for the prolonged life of the instruments.