Poor weather conditions can ruin all your fun while messing up your day totally. Weather can be highly unpredictable. In such a case, owning one of the best-selling weather stations will go a long way when it comes to dealing with the situation.
When you have access to a top weather station at your home, you can receive accurate weather forecasts. In addition to this, a reliable weather station can allow you to measure different weather parameters. Some of these include atmospheric pressure, rainfall, wind, temperature, and humidity. Looking ahead, plan your week and activities better with a weather station at your home.
Whether it’s a business conference or birthday party, a children’s day-out, or a family get-together, you can always rely on best-selling weather stations to allow you to make better decisions.
Why Look At Best-Selling Weather Stations
A lot of people rely on weather apps to report everyday weather conditions. In most cases, the results appear from stations that are miles away from your current location. As such, you can find major discrepancies in the weather reports when compared to the actual weather conditions in your area. This is when you should consider buying one of the best-selling weather stations. They allow you accurate and up-to-date weather information for any area.
The best-selling weather stations in 2021 can do what your mobile phones cannot. They will accurately let you know the weather condition in your home, business, school, or any other place, in real-time. Moreover, the advanced versions of weather stations in 2021 pair with the Internet to monitor weather conditions from any location.
What is a Weather Station?
A weather station uses sensors and other instruments for gathering relevant data with respect to atmospheric conditions in a particular area. Data collected by weather stations include precipitation amount, atmospheric pressure, humidity, wind speed, wind direction, and temperature.
There are some best-selling weather stations on the market capable of collecting data across meteorological quantities as well. This will depend on the number of sensors that are used in the device. A typical weather station is capable of measuring these common meteorological quantities: temperature, pressure, wind direction, relative humidity, wind speed, and rainfall.
Features Of Best-Selling Weather Stations
Are you planning to purchase a weather station for your home? It is important to choose one that is right for your weather conditions and needs.
To help you with this, read our expert tips and choose one of the best-selling weather stations.
Ease of Installation:
Most modern weather stations come with a comprehensive user manual. Please make sure you read this thoroughly before setting up and installing your new weather station. Also, we suggest you avoid those featuring a complex installation process. You won’t find any of those in our list of best-selling weather stations!
The most important aspect of installing your weather station is Siting. “Siting” is the process of choosing the location to place your weather station. It must be free from obstruction for accurate readings.
However, many of the best-selling weather stations also include the option of adding extra sensors. These will measure conditions such as soil moisture, air quality, lightning detectors, and even indoor conditions.
Decide which measurements will be important to you and ensure you have the option to add these extra sensors. Please note, some added sensors are not cheap but worth the investment for the bonus data.
You need your weather station to give highly accurate data. This is one of the most important features to look for in the device.
It is important to note that a higher price for the device does not imply that it is highly accurate. Our experts suggest looking carefully at the specifications of any best-selling weather stations. The accuracy of a good weather station should be within 5% of measurements gathered by the National Weather Service.
Ease of Data Connection:
A good weather station will easily connect to the Internet. This allows users to easily access data wherever they are – even if miles away from home. The best part of this is, you can share data with other weather enthusiasts or organizations.
Home weather stations are often exposed to extreme weather conditions. As such, it is important they be built with materials able to withstand harsh conditions. Some models of best-selling weather stations feature a hard case with some sensors nestled underneath. These may be better suited for extreme weather conditions as the body offers some protection to the sensitive components. Keep aesthetics out of the equation and opt for a well-built & durable unit. Not only will these last longer, but they will also require less maintenance or repairs.
Types of Weather Stations
When you are looking to buy a weather station, you quickly learn there is a myriad of options. Based on your budget and preference, you can choose from these common models.
Manual Weather Station: Featuring dials for reading inside & outside weather conditions like barometric pressure & temperature.
Digital weather stations: Stations featuring advanced functionalities like alarm systems, time display, icons for showing best outfits to wear for particular weather, and forecast displays.
The Best-Selling Weather Stations In 2021
A top weather station can be crucial when your lifestyle and choices depend on the climate or weather outside. If you are a farmer, live in a rural area or even a property owner in an area prone to storms. Owning one of these best-selling weather stations can give you advanced warnings of changing weather conditions at your home.
The latest version of Ambient Weather Osprey WS-2902C takes our overall best-selling weather stations. This unit offers the best value for money in comparison to other personal weather stations available in the market currently. Most weather enthusiasts and experts include this nifty model in any list of home weather stations.
Are you searching for an accurate, affordable, and durable weather station from a trustworthy brand? You can’t go wrong with this best-selling model from Ambient Weather.
Previous Versions Of Ambient Weather WS-2902C
Ambient Weather had upgraded its version of the WS-2902A to the WS-2902B model with the addition of extra sensor support. Now, the all-new WS-2902C 2021 version brings into effect a new, user-friendly layout. You will see this on the device’s display console. This helps in making highly important wind information more prominent.
Features Of The Ambient Weather WS-2902C
The next-gen WS-2902C version is capable of supporting a combination of around 8 WH31 thermo-hygrometer sensors. It also combines the features of the revolutionary WH31P probe thermometers. In fact, add PM2.5 air quality sensors to the unit – one for indoors and the other for outdoors to monitor dust and pollutants. Please note, this data does not automatically display on the console.
The console serves as a hub for connecting the sensors and displaying data. If you wish to include additional sensors and have the data directly on the console, you should look at the premium version – WS2000.
These best-selling weather stations are solar-powered and can be easily connected via Wi-Fi. They measure wind direction and speed, UV radiation, rainfall, barometric pressure, solar radiation, humidity, outdoor temperature, indoor temperature, wind chill, heat index, and dew point.
The wireless outdoor sensors will transmit updated data to the LCD color display console every 16 seconds. Ambient weather station WS-2902C has a wireless range of 330 feet.
One of the most striking features of a WS-2902C weather station is that it comes with built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. This allows a straightforward setup with the Ambient Weather Network and Weather Underground. With the help of these networks, users can remotely go through real-time as well as historical conditions on a computer, laptop, or smartphone.
This inspiring weather station by Ambient Weather is also capable of integrating with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. You can also connect any compatible device (like Google Home or Amazon Echo) for both indoor and outdoor weather conditions. Easily receive updates on the local weather or conditions inside your home. The device also offers access to IFTTT to control other smart devices with the help of automatic triggers.
WS-2902C by Ambient Weather truly is the overall best-selling weather station and is the ideal model for all-weather fanatics. It is your perfect choice when looking for reliable, accurate, and user-friendly weather stations without breaking the bank.
One of the leading options for home-based weather stations is the super-accurate Vantage Pro2 by Davis Instruments. This model delivers the assurance of withstanding all types of weather conditions without compromising any accuracy. It is available in both wireless and corded versions.
The Vantage Pro2 by Davis Instruments can measure all-important weather parameters such as wind velocity and direction, rainfall, temperature, humidity, and air pressure. In fact, it delivers additional measurements as well including solar radiation and UV index. A best-selling weather station, it is even capable of predicting the weather for up to 48 hours.
Who Will This Best-Selling Weather Station Suit?
Davis Instruments promotes the latest version of Vantage Pro2 as its advanced model in the range. The basic package offered ensures that even an amateur can easily use the model. Indeed, the Vantage Pro2 is known for its durability and customizable features which make it also attractive to professionals.
If you are a newbie or only interested in basic information about weather conditions, this package offers everything you need. Not only is it easy to install and use the array of sensors provided will have even the experts satisfied.
You can easily add extra sensors if you require additional weather readings. For instance, if you wish to measure soil moisture, simply order the attachment separately and set it up with the console.
What is Included in Vantage Pro2?
The Vantage Pro2 is available with a console featuring weather information in your sensor suite and home. Included in the basic suite of these best-selling weather stations, you can expect the following components:
Standard radiator shield
Wind direction and wind speed sensors
Barometric pressure sensor
The major selling point with Vantage Pro2 is the overall ruggedness of the device. The device can function properly in all types of climatic conditions from extreme cold to searing sun.
The sensors for wind speed and wind direction can be detached easily. This means that you can position them away from other sensors or instruments to reduce the chance of interference. Capable of measuring wind speeds up to 200 mph it is a useful instrument for those living in areas prone to storms.
In terms of temperature, the Vantage Pro2 can measure from -40 Degrees F to 150 Degrees F. At the same time, it can measure the relative humidity from 0-100%. The console can display both indoor as well as outdoor humidity and temperature conditions.
There is a real chance that solar radiation might lead to false readings in outdoor temperatures. Our suggested fix? Buy yourself the protective radiation shield. To further increase accuracy, you can also opt for a fan-aspirated shield.
For rainfall measurement, the collector will measure in increments of 0.01 inches.
Along with the included sensor array, you may also wish to order additional sensors as per your individual needs. These might include instruments for measuring parameters like leaf wetness, solar radiation, soil moisture, UV index, and more.
The console stores historical data, therefore, it is possible to observe trends and patterns of local weather. Easily transform this data into graphs for analyzing previous weather conditions.
The forecast feature is useful as it offers an overview of what you should expect for the next 48 hours. You can even schedule an alarm for certain weather conditions. For instance, you can schedule alarms for when winds reach a particular speed or humidity reaches a certain level.
Solar Panel Support
One of the most striking features of Vantage Pro2 by Davis Instruments is the presence of solar panels. These charge during the day and keep these best-selling weather stations transmitting data 24 hours a day. The unit also features a lithium-ion battery as a backup.
The readings of the unit are updated every 2.5 seconds and transmitted to the console. This ensures you will always have accurate information on the conditions outside at any given time.
When the console and the sensor suite are within 1000 feet of each other, the readings can also be transmitted wirelessly. From the console, you can upload the data to the computer system. Also, you can share it online as well.
You may consider buying the Davis Instruments 6510USB data logger and software for Windows. This links your Davis weather station directly to your PC. The package comes with the Data Logger, Windows software CD, and a cable. You can export data at different time intervals 5, 10, 30, 60, up to 120 minutes. Depending on the chosen storage interval, it is possible to store up to 6 months of data. It allows you to easily create reports from the uploaded data.
The AcuRite 01512 best-selling weather stations are highly professional in their features. They deliver accurate weather predictions with the help of its patented technology of self-calibration. The most attractive feature is a colored display console with multiple setting trends which make this weather station more functional and attractive.
The revolutionary 5-in-1 technology of these weather stations makes the entire unit easy to use and install. It is one of the most reliable and affordable models and the Acurite brand is very well known. Easily plan your day outdoors as an AcuRite 01512 delivers highly accurate weather forecasts as well.
Features Of These Best-Selling Weather Stations
The 01512 wireless weather station by AcuRite is available with a colored console along with the 5-in-1 sensor capability. Multiple elements of the sensor and the console make one of the most affordable and reliable models.
With respect to its sensor array, some features to note are:
The entire sensor unit is wireless. It delivers a maximum range of transmission of around 330 feet or around 100 feet with any obstruction.
There are 5 different sensors in the array of each unit. These include a thermometer, anemometer, hygrometer, rain gauge, and wind vane.
The unit is capable of measuring humidity levels, outdoor temperature, rainfall, wind speed, and wind direction.
Solar-powered aspirating fan for increased accuracy in temperature readings.
Data can be transmitted every 18-36 seconds.
A unique rain gauge features a self-emptying bucket.
For the console unit, some notable features are:
A full-color display that is brightly lit and easy to read. Easily change illumination with automatic brightness dimming to enable reading from any angle. Alternatively, it can be set up by the users manually. In the auto-dimming scenario, the display brightness will change depending on the time of day.
The AcuRite 01512 features revolutionary self-calibrating patented technology. This technology allows the unit to extract data from the outdoor sensors in your backyard. It then uses a unique algorithm to analyze the temperature and barometric changes and give a personal weather forecast for the next 12 hours.
Weather Ticker offers real-time data alerts and information. It features scrolling or flashing text on the digital display.
Display multiple weather variables including rainfall, temperature, humidity, wind direction, and wind speed at one time. You can also access other weather parameters including barometric pressure, dew point, wind chill, and heat index.
Temperature & humidity levels are updated every 36 seconds.
Date and time are displayed constantly for these best-selling weather stations.
Designed to stand on a table or surface, you can also mount the unit on the wall.
A signal indicator indicates the overall signal strength.
Ambient Weather is one of the best-known names in the home weather station industry for professionals and amateurs. The all-new Ambient Weather WS-2000 is a premium version of this manufacturer. It delivers optimum performance and makes most lists of best-selling weather stations.
Features Of The Ambient Weather WS-2000
The revolutionary weather station WS2000 by Ambient Weather is a perfect unit for any professional weather enthusiast. It is also ideal for those wanting both the indoor and outdoor conditions for any given area. If you live in an area with extreme weather conditions, this nifty device can integrate with smart home sensors. Have the heating or cooling systems turn on when the temperature hits a certain level to have your house ready for when you get home.
Designed for professionals or weather enthusiasts, it includes a dedicated weather U-bolt kit that can be mounted on any pole.
High-definition Display Tablet:
The TFT high-definition display tablet uses dynamic and bright colors that are easy on your eyes. A dark-colored background makes for easy reading either during the day or at night. Connect to the Internet and Wi-Fi directly from the console. It can support an additional 8 thermo-hygrometer sensors for extensive home monitoring. Shows wireless wind direction, rainfall, wind speed, outdoor temperature, humidity, indoor temperature, UV radiation, barometric pressure, and solar radiation.
Ambient Weather Network Connection:
Using the Ambient Weather WS-2000 best-selling weather stations, you are creating your personal weather server. Data is sent directly to AmbientWeather.net in real-time. This allows you access to local and remote weather station data from cloud hosting. You can also use the Ambient Weather website to track relevant weather data. Monitor up to date on a smartphone, tablet, or PC.
Ambient Weather Network features an easy-to-use and responsive design – both on the app and the web. The network is also capable of working effectively on Alexa and Google Assistant, along with other smart devices and programs. It uses wireless transmission of 915 MHz.
Osprey Sensors for Indoor & Outdoor Temperature:
The cutting-edge model of Ambient Weather WS-2000 can monitor both indoor as well as outdoor temperature and humidity. In fact, the unit features gauges and dials for measuring any parameters that you want. The sensor by Osprey includes:
The primary power source of the sensor is from sunlight charging the solar panels. There is also the presence of two lithium-ion AA batteries if a backup is required.
Setting up email & SMS alerts with an accurate timeline
Adding around 8 additional sensors
Available with an SD card for software updates and data storage
Davis Instruments is renowned for its top-quality instrumentation and best-selling weather stations. The all-new Vantage Vue 6250 model of weather station by Davis Instruments lives up to these expectations. A tidy sensor package is highly convenient and accommodates everything into a single package. This makes it easy to install and handle. However, it is the unit’s heavy build and durability that makes this ideal for farmers.
Within the box are all the essentials for setting up your own personal weather station for your home. You should not expect a tripod or a mounting stand in the box.
The basic parts that you will receive with the box include:
Integrated Sensor Suite
Mounting hardware – the mounting pole is sold separately
The integrated sensor suite features sensors for:
A backlit LCD console is easy to read and includes:
Weather forecast icons
Sunrise & sunset times
Weather trend graphs
What sets the Vantage Vue 6250 model apart from others is its durability and ease of use. From setting up the model to interacting with the console, this best-selling weather station is highly intuitive. Even if you are an absolute newbie to using a weather station will find this simple to set up and use.
Another outstanding feature is its wireless transmission range. This outstanding unit can transmit data up to 1000 ft or 300 meters – about 3x further than its competitors.
An integrated sensor suite serves as the foundation of the unit with all the sensors in a single package. It has been designed to withstand extreme weather conditions. In fact, the unit has been specifically designed for durability. Testing has shown it to survive cyclic corrosion tests meaning it will function even in extreme marine weather.
The anemometer will measure wind speeds ranging from 2 mph to 150 mph. Further, the thermometer will record temperatures between -40 Degrees F and 150 Degree F. An in-built rain gauge analyses rainfall in increments of 0.01 inches.
Another striking feature of this best-selling weather station by Davis Instruments is that it runs on solar power. As there is an abundance of data, readings are updated every 2.5 seconds, 10x faster than most of its competitors. The forecast function is quite accurate and it predicts the weather for the upcoming 48 hours.
The issue with most weather stations is that they all look just the same. However, the designer range of best-selling weather stations, Netatmo, offers a package with two sensor units that are truly unique. With such a sleek appearance of these gadgets, you will want to have them on display.
Record humidity, temperature, rainfall, and barometric pressure from outside the home. Additionally, find information on indoor noise levels, air quality, temperature, and humidity. It seamlessly integrates with either Android or iPhone to use data to control your home environment.
This weather station by Netatmo is designed for health-conscious households. You can easily measure air pollution indoors with an in-built CO2 sensor. An alarm can alert you to rising pollution or humidity levels and help make your home environment safer. Professional weather enthusiasts may want to look at earlier products for accuracy and overall weather data.
Features Included In These Best-Selling Weather Stations
This is the only model that does not come with a console. In fact, your data is transmitted to a tablet, computer, or phone by the sensors.
When the box arrives, you will find:
An indoor sensor
An outdoor sensor
Wall mounting for the outdoor sensor
USB power outlet
Two AAA batteries
The Netatmo weather station delivers multiple functions. The ultimate goal is to deliver information that is relevant for a healthy lifestyle in addition to offering unfiltered weather data.
Both the indoor and outdoor modules include thermometers. The outdoor temperature sensor is capable of measuring between -40 Degree F and 150 Degree F. You can also record indoor temperature between the range 32 Degree F and 112 Degree F. Relative humidity is also recorded from 0 – 100 percent.
Another important feature is the air quality sensor which measures air pollution by levels of carbon dioxide. The unit can measure 0 – 5000 ppm with an accuracy of 50ppm up to 1000ppm and 5% over 1000ppm. A color range based on the level of air pollution in the home is shown on your screen. Green implies low carbon dioxide levels and this increases from orange to red as pollution increases.
Indoor and outdoor sensors connect wirelessly to around 330 feet. Both the sensors make use of home Wi-Fi. Data is updated every 5 minutes.
Fully compatible with Alexa on Amazon Echo or Siri using Apple HomeKit. Not only can you access your data wirelessly wherever you are, but you can also use voice activation.
Understand weather trends with easy read graphs and review weather history. You can even preview a 7-day weather forecast.
Compact & easy to use
Compatibility with smart home devices
Wireless data sharing
Accurate indoor data for the health conscious
Additional indoor sensors available
Can add other sensors to outdoor model if required
This innovative weather station by Ambient Weather is what you can expect in the high-end range. The revolutionary WS5000 is a complete weather station in a box and is perfect for light industrial uses. There is no more cup or vane anemometer as they are replaced with high-end ultrasonic technology. With no moving parts, you receive faster transmission and more accurate wind direction and speed measurements.
Features Of The Best-Selling WS5000 Weather Stations
The TFT full-color LCD display console can be freestanding, or wall-mounted. When compared to the console included with the WS2000 range, it delivers a faster update time. The colorful LCD display features a dark or light background making it easy to read during the day or at night. In fact, this intuitive display automatically adjusts depending on the brightness of the room. You can connect additional displays for easier monitoring inside and outside.
Combine data with measured parameters for:
“Feels like” temperature – takes wind chill into account
10-minute wind speed and direction average
The ultrasonic sensor array includes an integrated hygrometer/thermometer, UV radiation and light sensor, barometric sensor, and separate rain gauge. Also included is an indoor thermometer/hygrometer. This array will transmit data every 4.9 seconds.
Additional sensors to purchase separately include:
Indoor air quality sensor of PM2.5
Soil moisture sensor
Outdoor air quality sensors of PM2.5
Waterproof temperature probe
The sensors of Ambient Weather WS5000 are more accurate in comparison to other Ambient Weather models. The presence of the ultrasonic anemometer is a classic addition delivering a highly precise method for measuring wind direction and wind speed. The anemometer has no moving parts that could wear out.
The rain gauge uses an extra-large funnel for improving accuracy. It is also available as a wireless unit that you can easily place close to the ground for optimal measurements and easy cleaning.
The Ambient Weather Network along with the app for viewing the data remotely has made it super simple to share the data using Weather Underground. Smart home connectivity is top-notch and delivers IFTT, Google Home, and Alexa compatibility.
Best sensor array for accuracy
All in one suite
Easy read LCD display console
Extra-large rain gauge
Smart home compatibility
Ease of installation
Lots of additional sensors available
Slightly complicated console set-up
May need to reset sensors to connect to console
Positioning Best-Selling Weather Stations
Proper placement of any weather station is a crucial factor if you want to ensure accurate readings from the sensors. Here are some basic points to consider during the installation of any weather station.
The humidity and temperature sensors of the weather station should be in partial shade or full shade if you have a station without radiation shielding. They need adequate ventilation and not be blocked from the wind. If mounting above grass or on a roof it is important they be at least 5 feet above either of these.
The rain gauge must be level and high enough to not receive any splashback from the ground. Moreover, it must be clear of all obstructions. Suggested distances are 5 feet horizontal clearance from any obstructions or if just within 5 feet, the obstruction should be less than 10 feet tall.
Wind direction and speed measurements are best calculated at a height of 33 feet (10 meters). Therefore, the sensors should be above all possible obstructions. We suggest mounting the anemometer on the roof is preferable. 7 feet above any obstructions will give you optimal results.
Best-selling weather stations reflect the advancing technology of these nifty devices. The latest versions of advanced home weather stations feature high-end specifications, expandability options, smart home features, and much more.
Predicting the weather in the comfort of your home has never been easier. Go for the model of our best-selling weather stations that supply the sensor array and convenience that will suit your expectations.
We recently published articles that compared different models of some of our best-selling weather station brands.
Buying a weather station is pretty much compulsory for people with a vested interest in the weather. Rather than rely on the National Weather Service to tell you when it is going to rain and how strong the wind will blow, it is better to get the information from your own backyard. This is because the nearest National Weather Service may be an hour away from your home and that distance will impact the accuracy of the information you get. What you get by having your own weather station is up to the minute data that is accurate and reflects the actual weather condition of your home.
When you are looking to buy a weather station, you will face many options that will leave you rather confused. Rather than succumb to that confusion and save yourself a heap of time we suggest carefully reading through this guide we have put together to help you in the process of buying a weather station. This post will be focused mainly on what you should look for when buying a weather station and we hope these factors help you make the right choice in your purchase.
What You Should Look for When Buying a Weather Station?
As we stated earlier, you have to know what you want in a weather station to make the right choice. Some of the factors are more important than others, but you should still look for one that will serve your purpose and give good value for money. So, without much ado, let’s go over what you should look for when buying a weather station.
Important Measurements When Buying A Weather Station
These factors should influence your choice as you don’t want to be buying a weather station of lesser capability than you need. In the same vein, you don’t need to spend money on capabilities that you will not use. This is taking into consideration that the higher the weather station’s capability, the more expensive it is.
Some features of high-capability weather stations include a thermometer, barometer, anemometer, humidity sensor, rain gauge, danger alert, UV sensor, air quality monitor, and so on.
Accuracy is an essential factor for any measuring instrument, and when buying a weather station this is no exception. There really is no use for a non-accurate weather station, right?
Before you buy one, check the accuracy and more importantly read the reviews to be sure it is true. The accuracy of a good station should not be more than 5% different from the measurements of the National Weather Service.
Therefore, buying a weather station with good accuracy will surely cost you more. However, at the end of the day, it is a feature that is worth the extra cash.
An important feature of any weather station is for it to be strong and able to withstand harsh conditions. So, a good weather station is one that can go through a strong storm and come out ok on the other side.
By looking for durability when buying weather station you will not have to worry about ongoing repairs and maintenance.
You won’t be able to gauge the true robustness of a station until it has been delivered and you have set it up. Our expert weather geeks suggest that a good place to start is to read reviews, just like this one!. Customers are usually more honest than the manufacturer, so you can be sure to trust the reliability of reviews.
The toughness and durability of weather stations is often reflected in the price however, this also reflects the capability.
Please note: we have tested some more budget units that are still quite strong and reliable!
Check The Operating Temperature When Buying A Weather Station
An important factor to consider for those who live in extreme weather conditions – either very cold or very hot. It is imperative to confirm the operating temperature range for both the display and the sensor array before buying a weather station.
The operating temperature for the liquid crystal display is usually room temperature. So, these types of displays do not like temperatures below zero degrees and may not work properly if exposed to these temperatures.
It is also important to check the temperature that the sensor unit typically withstands. Most weather stations’ sensor units can detect from -40 C up to 50 C. Moreover, this suits most peoples living climate.
Before you buy a weather station, make sure to check the sealing specifications. Water and other forms of moisture can damage the unit if it gets into the wrong places.
In addition, dust and insects can also have adverse effects on a weather station over time. So, be sure that your device is adequately sealed and maybe offer it some protection.
The position of the sensor array outside the machine makes them susceptible to adverse weather conditions. Therefore, try to ensure that all parts are put together correctly when you set up your weather station.
Ease Of Use
Buying a weather station will probably make you feel a bit like a meteorologist. However, don’t forget that you are not one (unless you are one then this doesn’t apply to you!)
As these devices can be quite complicated, our experts suggest to look at ease of use when buying a weather station. This includes from installation to how and where you can read the measurements.
Your brand new unit will be out all day in all types of weather. It is vital to get one that will last through severe storms and withstand intense sunshine. Avoid stations made with plastic materials and go for more durable materials such as metal.
Also, try to avoid models that have all the sensors in one piece. Any fault with one sensor will require you to change the whole device and not just replace the faulty one.
You shouldn’t have to change your weather station every time there is a new feature available. Instead, buy a mid-range station that can be expanded along the way as you require more capabilities.
This way, you can keep the main station while you upgrade the sensors as you need. Ask yourself, “what are the capabilities I need now and what are those I may need in the future?” The answer will help you make a better choice when buying your weather station.
Buying A Weather Station For A Smart Home
If you have a smart home, it might be advantageous to buy a weather station that has smart home support. Look for the specific product that will be compatible with your smart home set-up and make inquires to the manufacturers if needed.
In fact, some of the latest models have features that work with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri and IFTTT. If it is important to you to have this feature available then make sure the particular weather station is compatible with your smart home setup.
Are you super tech-savvy? Maybe you do not spend much time at home but would still like to know the weather conditions? If either of these is the case, you should look for a station with internet connectivity.
If you are ready to buy a weather station but do not know which one to get, here are some of the best weather stations you can choose from. These stations are the best in terms of conditions and have great reviews on Amazon and other platforms. For more information on them, you can click the links and read our in-depth review on them!
So, hopefully we have helped you gain some in-depth knowledge of what to look for when buying a weather station. Our experts have listed some of the best weather stations available in the market today. All you have to do now is to consider what you want in a weather station and choose the one best suited to your needs.
Do you want to teach your children about the weather? Here are some fun weather activities for children to try out.
The weather is a fascinating subject. Sunny one minute, pouring rain the next.
Once, on a bright sunny evening, we were playing out in the yard when it hailed suddenly. No sooner did we run back into the house, when it stopped and went back to being a sunny day. The hail might have stopped, but oh was there a downpour of questions! The children were very curious. They wanted to know the “what, why, and how’ of the incident. Seizing the moment, we decided to teach our children about the weather.
Here’s how we did it:
5 Weather Activities for Children
Every child has a unique learning style. While some learn by reading, others explore and learn through experimentation. With these simple weather activities for children, you can make the learning process fun and interesting for the kids.
Weather Books To Teach Children About The Weather
My first tool for educating kids is always a book. Maybe it’s the fun of looking through bright colorful pictures or having the story read out in funny voices, but books can always intrigue and activate a child’s imagination.
The best part- there are books for all ages. Start with a simple book or an engaging story about the weather and gradually progress. There are more challenging and informative weather books such as a National geographic book. Try this, if you want to read more weather books together with your kids.
Introduce children to the different symbols of weather. Once you’ve taught kids the different weather symbols, here are some activities that you can try out:
Watch your local weather forecast and ask them the meaning of the different symbols seen. See who guesses the most number of symbols.
Similarly, listen to a weather forecast. As the commentator is describing or forecasting the weather, have the children summarize it using weather symbols.
Find the weather forecast for the day by deciphering the weather symbol clue.
Weather Calendars or Journals
Bring out your child’s inner meteorologist, by teaching them to track the weather on a calendar. Each day your child can record if the day was sunny, cloudy, rainy, or snowing. At the end of the week, ask them to analyze their data and create a weekly weather report.
Older kids can track the weather hourly or within specific time blocks. This makes the activity more challenging for them. Ask them to record their observations, and compare them with your local weather forecast to check for accuracy.
For smaller children, consider making a weatherboard. This circular board can be divided into areas, with each area depicting different weather conditions. Decorate the area with pictures symbolic of it. For example, an umbrella or rain boots for rainy weather or a cap for sunny weather. Attach a movable arrow to the board. Every day your child can spin and point the arrow in the direction of the appropriate weather.
Weather Experiments To Teach Children About The Weather
A hands-on experiment is often the best way to teach children a thing or two about the weather. You could help your kids make their own tornadoes in a bottle, rain clouds, or clouds in a jar. Even making snow or your own static electricity lightning will help them understand how it all happens. As with all experiments, be sure to assist or supervise as necessary.
DIY Weather Tools Are Great Activities For Children
To encourage active learning about the weather, teach kids how to read and record the components that make up the weather. These include measuring temperature, checking the wind speed or direction, and even measuring rainfall.
This can be done by making your own weather tools. For example, teach kids to use a mercury thermometer carefully to record the external and internal temperature. Make your own wind vane, anemometer, and rainfall gauge, using simple crafts and recyclable materials found at home.
You can even set up a mini weather station in your backyard and help kids observe, record, and analyze the weather.
When teaching kids about the weather, remember to keep it simple, fun, and interactive, and that’s exactly what these weather activities do. They introduce new concepts, words and help to expand your child’s understanding of the weather using an active learning approach.
Remember that weather for kids should be fun and educational and that any activities you do should broaden children’s understanding of weather and climate and incorporate new weather words for children to learn.
If you are interested in weather updates & want to know how to measure wind speed then understanding anemometers is valuable. Wind speed determines how soon a storm will arrive and how it affects the creation of high and low-pressure areas. Measuring wind speed is an important factor when piloting a plane or conducting an outdoor athletic activity.
What Measures Wind Speed?
Wind speed is measured by using an instrument called the anemometer. The unit of anemometer is FPM or feet per minute.
An anemometer has has five basic types. These are, Mechanical Anemometer, Pressure Tube Anemometer, Thermal Anemometer, Sound Wave Anemometer and Doppler Laser Light Anemometer.
Each type has its own subcategories along with advantages and disadvantages. These characteristics make each type ideal for measuring wind speed in particular situations.
We have included photos of each type in case you’re wondering; “what does an anemometer look like?”
These anemometers are among the oldest and most popular, so how do they work? They operate by simply having the wind push on them and then measuring angles or rotations.
Mechanical Anemometers comes in three types.
Propeller / Vane Anemometers
The oldest form of what measures wind speed. These simple meters were invented by Italian architect Leon Battista Alberti in 1450. They use a plate mounted on a strip of springy metal which is faced into the wind. As wind speed increases, the plate is lifted and bent back. The change in angle of the hanging rod is measured and corresponds to wind velocity.
As you could imagine, this type of anemometer is not very accurate due to many factors. Think low wind speeds and deterioration of the plate and springs over time. A variation of this consists of attaching a ping pong ball to a string and determining wind velocity by the angle of the string as the wind pushes the ball.
The classic image of four cups rotating around a vertical pole was made possible by inventor Dr John Thomas Romney Robinson in 1845. Originally, the device would measure wind speed by counting the number of cup rotations over a time interval.
This technique was improved by the use of electronics for measuring purposes. Electrical components can either provide greater accuracy in counting rotations per time unit or act as a small generator that creates higher wattage as wind speed increases.
The use of a fan permits wind direction to be simultaneously determined with wind speed. The vane with the turbine has to be facing into the wind else the whole machine will rotate.
A handheld wind speed meter using a miniature fan has an advantage over its larger cousin. Since you’re the one doing the pointing, it will always be facing into even the lightest wind . Also, because it’s not permanently outdoors, a handheld wind speed meter isn’t threatened by winter icing.
Vane anemometers give users choices of units of measurement: m/s, ft/min, km/h, MPH and knots to accommodate different types of applications.
Another very old approach to measure wind speed is through the use of a pressure tube. First developed by James Lind in 1775, the basic idea is to start with a U-shaped tube and bend one end over to create a horizontal section. This piece will face into the wind. Liquid is placed into the tube and wind blowing into the horizontal portion will force the liquid up along the vertical section.
Modern versions have replaced the liquid with a flexible membrane. This moves in response to pressure differences, while a gauge translates this into wind speed. With no mechanical parts, this instrument for measuring wind speed can go for long periods without maintenance.
These thermal measuring devices are also known as hot wire anemometers. You start with the underlying principle that a flowing wind cools things off.
The device includes a thermostat that keeps a heated wire at a steady temperature. So, as the wind blows across the wire, it’s cooled and more electricity is used to bring it back up to its set temperature. The increased draw of electricity is what measures wind speed.
4. Sound Wave Anemometers
Types of sound wave anemometers to measure wind speed:
Acoustic Resonance Anemometers
Because sound needs gas molecules to travel through, their speed and direction can affect the speed of the sound waves. Ultrasonic anemometers use this phenomenon to calculate wind speed. They compare the travel time between a sound generator and a receiver to what it should be under no wind.
The big drawback here is that turbulence created by wind flowing around the instrument itself can distort the results. Rainfall can also play havoc with readings.
Acoustic Resonance Anemometers
While it also uses sound waves to measure wind speed, this instrument takes a different approach. It measures changes in the frequency of the waves as they collide with passing air molecules. Faster winds will cause the sound waves to compress into a higher frequency.
These anemometers are compact and very rugged however, they are not that accurate.
5. Doppler Laser Anemometers
This system relies on the same principals as an ultrasonic anemometer. The difference is that laser light is what measures wind speed.
The laser beam is split in two. One portion is used for reference while the other is aimed at the wind. If the air is rushing towards the measuring beam, the light waves reflecting off it are squeezed into a higher frequency. This is referred to blue shifting.
Laser light bouncing off air particles headed away from the detector undergo red shifting to a lower frequency. The receiving station compares this reflected light to the reference beam to calculate the speed of the moving air.
This instrument to measure wind speed is extremely accurate as well as very expensive. It also requires a lot of technical expertise to operate.
Many Choices To Measure Wind Speed
Clearly, there’s a lot of ways you can use to measure wind speed.
Keep in mind that some methods may not be very reliable. Others can be pretty costly and may involve unwieldy contraptions.
“What tool measures wind speed the best?” In our opinion, it comes down to cup anemometers for personal weather stations and handheld anemometers. These portable devices are accurate measures for wind speed anywhere you go. They are affordable, reliable and durable.
Q: What did the grape say when summer came to an end? A: He didn’t say anything. He just let out a little wine.
Sometimes, in the controversial world of adult beverages, the community of wine lovers is often associated with a good deal of snobbery. In a world where “luxury wines” can fetch $50-$100 a bottle and $200 bottles are not unheard of, some snobbery is to be expected, but it is also unfortunate. However, did you know that one factor that is not looked at is how weather affects wine lovers.
In the age of antiquity, wine was more associated with happiness than a snobbish fetish. Even today, you will be able to find some surprisingly good (even great) wines in the aisles of your local mega-mart which can be enjoyed responsibly without breaking the family budget. With weather patterns changing and many more vineyards around the world the ability to predict weather has become important for wine lovers the world over!
Fun The Old Fashioned Way
The dawn of civilization occurred when mankind moved from a wandering, hunter/gatherer existence and began settling in a fixed location to raise crops. These crops are generally associated with bread making and raising livestock. However, there is a growing belief in the anthropological community that the earliest villages were more likely to be the home of beer and winemakers than bakers.
Wine making is a natural process which will occur whenever fruit juice is kept under the right conditions. A yeast spore may land and create a colony which consumes the sugar in the juice.
The byproducts of this process (called fermentation) are carbon dioxide gas and alcohol.
The effects of alcohol appeared to be a sort of magic to ancient man. So, it is natural that he would be willing to give up the freedom of a nomad life to make more wine – and enjoy it’s effects!
Natures Weather Impacts Wine Lovers
Alcohol can also be produced by fermenting the sugars in cereal grains to make beer through a process called brewing. Brewing is a more technical process and, usually, has faster and more reliable results.
Both methods will result in a tasty beverage with intoxicating effects, but some people are beer people and others are wine people.
There is a story in the craft brewing community about a monastery in Belgium. The monks sent several bottles of their spring brew to the Holy See in Rome to find out if it would be alright for them to drink during Lent. The wine-drinking Romans opened a bottle and took a taste. They determined that the monks must be drinking the stuff as a form of penance, and gave their blessing.
Any fruit juice which is acidic, but not too acidic, can become wine. If it has the right balance of tannins and nutritive salts to support yeast growth, and enough sugar it will work. However, the perfect combination of all these seems to occur naturally in grape juice.
One of the first things that winemakers of antiquity did was select the varieties of grape which were the hardiest for their area. They also had to look for varieties that formed the most sugar during the growing season. This means that weather for wine lovers has always been a factor that has been monitored closely.
Growing conditions change from year to year, of course, depending upon the weather patterns occurring. In modern times, this has resulted in the what we call vintage years.
Although creating a fine wine is a time-consuming process, a certain vintage is not preferable just because it is old. In fact, if a certain year had an especially long and mild summer, these conditions allow the grapes to be even more sweet and healthy. Most times, this means that year’s vintage will be considered more valuable because the wine will have more body.
A concept almost as important than vintage to marketing wine is terroir. Each region of the world where grapes are grown is subject to greater or lesser differences in climate, soil, length of daylight, and farming practices.
Terroir is a French term which shares its root with territory or land. The elements of terroir combine to influence the taste of wines from different regions.
It is difficult to say whether the terroir of one region is, in fact, superior to that of another, but the farmers and winemakers from that region would like you to believe it is.
Weather For Wine Lovers Or Not…
Location, soil conditions, elevation and climate do not really change for an individual vineyard from year to year, but weather for wine lovers can vary a great deal.
Some who are new to the concept of terroir might be tempted to point out that climate and weather are basically the same things. However, climate is a description of the conditions a region expects over a long period of time, along with other factors. Weather is what is happening at any particular moment.
In other words, climate is what you expect and weather is what you get.
One of the best ways to appreciate the weather for wine lovers in a different region is to learn to understand the weather conditions where you live. The conditions you see outside your living room window will vary according to whether you live in the middle of the continent or near the shore of an ocean, whether you are in the middle of a broad plain or near a tall mountain range, or whether you are in the Northern States or closer to the Southern border. These are climatic considerations, of course, but they affect the weather in your region every day.
A personal weather station is a terrific way to begin understanding the weather in your area, and that will lead to a greater understanding of how weather works for wine lovers in the various wine regions of the world.
The fact that you and your neighbors experienced an early frost this year may not seem related to late season conditions in the Napa Valley. But, understanding your local weather for wine lovers is a key to appreciating the terroir of another area.
Observing how conditions change from day to day puts your finger on the pulse of Mother Nature. It is also a key to appreciating the mysterious way the natural world works. Best of all, these systems are easy to install and use, so you can begin learning almost immediately.
Not Sunny All the Time
Most wine regions are known for their long, mild, and sunny weather conditions. Indeed, one of the most interesting types of wine is the result of the growing season coming to a sudden close.
The German term is eiswein or ‘ice wine’. It is in the wine maker’s best interest to wait until the grapes have reached their peak maturity, when they are the sweetest before harvesting and pressing. Thus, they ensure the maximum sugar in the grapes. In some Northern regions, an early frost may set in before the grapes are harvested. So, rather than ruining the vintage, the freezing of the grapes concentrates the sugars, resulting in a sweet dessert wine.
The bottling of an eiswein is a rather special event as the vintner expects to bottle a normal vintage. If he plans for an eiswein harvest, he runs the risk of the grapes rotting on the vine. Eiswein may not be on the radar for traditional wine snobs, but it is a special enough treat to be aware of and just one of the ways that the weather rewards wine lovers.
I think it is fairly obvious from what you have read above that weather and wine lovers enjoy a special relationship.
Bad weather conditions can ruin a grape season. On the other hand, a good season can not only produce a bumper crop, special conditions can mean rare and vintage years. Weather for wine lovers is important as it allows wine enthusiasts to watch which growers are experiencing unusual weather patterns. This can mean some very special editions to enjoy!
There are many wines that sell for $50-$100 or even more per bottle. But, there are plenty of very good inexpensive wines available if you are willing to learn how to find them.
Many anthropologists believe that the dawn of agriculture was not so that early man could make bread. It occurred so that he could make beer and wine!
Wine is an agricultural product which is made by the natural process of fermenting fruit juices, usually grape.
Since it is an agricultural product, the weather from year to year has an important impact on the quality of the wine in the bottle.
Terroir is the concept that products grown in certain regions are unique due to differences in climate, soil conditions, elevation, latitude, and weather.
Understanding weather is important to understanding terroir because it has such a huge influence on wine.
Using a personal weather station at home will help you to understand weather in the great wine-growing regions.
Eiswein is a special product which can only be made in years when an early frost freezes the grapes and concentrates their sugars.
The thought of a yard full of bamboo can make some gardeners want to run for the hills as certain bamboo varieties can be invasive. They can end up taking over your yard and crowding out native plants.
However, that’s no reason to avoid bamboo planting. With the right knowledge, tools and experience, you too, can create a beautiful bamboo garden right in your own backyard!
We’ve put together a full guide to growing and maintaining your own bamboo backyard. And, for those of you with little time, we’ve condensed a quick guide at the start too!
Quick Guide To Create And Maintain Your Bamboo Backyard
Getting started with bamboo doesn’t need to be a huge task. If you’re new to the plant, here’s some quick facts you need to know!
Bamboo doesn’t come from the tree family, it’s actually a type of grass. There are nearly 500 different species of bamboo, split into two main types – running and clumping bamboo.
Running bamboo is likely to be the type you want for a backyard. It’s characterized by a long stem with a tidy amount of leaves at the top.
Clumping bamboo can become wild and uncontrolled very easily – looking more like a bush that the tall quaint plants we’re used too seeing!
You don’t need to be somewhere hot to grow bamboo. With species such as Yellow Grove and Panda, bamboo are not only able to survive, but can flourish below 0 degree Fahrenheit.
Bamboo (especially running bamboo) is super easy to maintain. By incorporating a good schedule of watering, fertilizing and thinning you can easily create a perfect bamboo backyard that your friends and neighbors will envy.
Top 3 Bamboo Backyard Products
Whether you’re just starting to plant, or you’ve got a full bamboo backyard to maintain, check out some of the top rated tools for keeping your bamboo in top condition!
Depending on your type of Bamboo, root spread can be both invasive and potentially dangerous. This 60mm DeepRoot will stop any roots spreading where you don’t want them, protecting your entire garden!
TaborTools offers a long range, high power lopper, perfect for keeping your bamboo perfectly thinned and trimmed! Don’t let overgrowth ruin your perfect garden.
If you want tall, healthy bamboo, try the Green Green fertilizer. Just a few drops will promote the growth of all flowers and plants and is perfect for bamboo varieties.
Our Detailed Guide To Creating And Maintaining A Bamboo Backyard
If you’ve mastered our quick guide and want some thorough knowledge of creating and maintaining amazing bamboo, jump into our detailed guide below!
Bamboo Backyard 101
Bamboo trees are actually not trees at all; bamboo is a type of grass. Native bamboo plants grow prolifically in South and Central America and Asia.
Hohwever, many people don’t realize that some species of bamboo are native to the U.S. Science Daily reports that the newest species of North American bamboo was discovered in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina in this century. This grass acts like a bamboo tree, dropping its leaves in the fall. Other bamboo species have their own unique characteristics.
Bamboo trees are actually not trees at all; bamboo is a type of grass.
The Spruce explains that one of the easiest ways to identify different types of bamboo is by its reproductive tendencies. Let’s take a look at the two main types: Clumping and Running.
Clumping bamboo is the less invasive version of the plant. In other words, this is the type of bamboo that politely stays where you plant it – it’s the bamboo you want!
Clumping bamboo is a slow spreader so it only requires little maintenance. Bamboo Garden says that the roots develop in a U-shape. Underground, the buds will turn upward, creating new shoots next to the existing ones.
They’ll only spread outward a few inches each year, but they’ll gain about 1 to 2 feet in height.
Running bamboo is the unrestrained party animal of the species. It won’t stay put! Running bamboo expands by sending out rhizomes. This horizontal root system allows the plant to spread quickly.
Running bamboo is considered to be incredibly invasive. You will want to avoid planting this type of bamboo, especially if you don’t want dirty looks from your neighbours.
Running bamboo grows 3 to 5 feet every year but, of course, with its invasive nature it can spread just as far, if not further, horizontally.
Can I Grow A Bamboo Backyard?
You don’t need to live in a tropical rainforest to grow and create a bamboo backyard. Mother Earth News says that most bamboo types grow well in the southern United States, along the Gulf Coast from Georgia to Texas and on the West Coast. However, many people grow the ornamental variety throughout the entire country.
What Type Of Bamboo Should You Buy?
The type of bamboo that you plant depends on, your climate, where you’ll be planting the bamboo and how you want it to look.
When you find a plant that you might want to grow in your garden, you can cross-reference it with one of these. The table lists the botanical names as well as the common names that you might see in a catalog.
According to Bamboo Inspiration, the hardiest varieties of clumping bamboo are Thamnocalamus and Fargesia, also known as Panda bamboo.
SF Gate says that the way to find the best type of bamboo for your region is to pinpoint the lowest winter temperature. Keep an eye on the temperature in your area with a weather station to acurately know the weather patterns in your area.
It can be a real bummer to see the bamboo that you planted in the summer die off because it couldn’t handle your cold winters. Use other weather gadgets to help you purchase the ideal plants for your environment. One instrument that you will need is a top Rain Gauge.
This tool allow you to measure the rainfall amounts and know how much water you are using for your bamboo backyard – here’s some of our favourites!
Yellow Groove bamboo – Can survive temperatures of -5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Panda bamboo – Can withstand temperatures as cold as -25 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bissetii Dwarf bamboo – Flourishes in zones that see winter temperatures of -10 degrees Fahrenheit.
Blue Fountain bamboo – Hardy to temperatures of -20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Chinese Timber Bamboo – This impressive bamboo grows to 35 to 70 feet and survives temperatures as low as -5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bamboo Plans for Warm Climates
Thamnocalamus tessellatus – Recommended for zones 7 through 9, high winds and sunny spots. Leaves show damage at temperatures below 12 degrees Fahrenheit. Grows to 12 to 15 feet.
Bambusa multiplex – Grows best in zones 8 through 11 and grows in semi-shade. Doesn’t thrive in temperatures below 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Grows to 14 to 16 feet.
Golden Goddess – Hardy in zones 8 through 10 and enjoys partial to full sun. Grows to 6 to 8 feet tall and canes are slender and graceful.
Black bamboo – Recommended from zones 7 through 10 and hardy to 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Grows to about 25 feet tall. Culms turn black within about three years.
Bamboo Gardening – Garden Design Ideas For Bamboo
Asian landscaping relies heavily on bamboo in the backyard for privacy and interest. Bamboo landscaping is convenient because you don’t need a lot of plants to fill an area. Fast-growing bamboo fills in the spaces of even large backyards within a few years. Therefore, it’s the perfect plant for people who love a beautiful garden but don’t want to do a lot of work.
Creating A Bamboo Sanctuary
What’s more luxurious than relaxing in a sanctuary surrounded by giant bamboo? Plant a grove, and then cut a path through the center to give yourself a refuge from the chaos of daily life. According to Bamboo Botanicals, Chinese Timber bamboo is ideal for creating a grove. Just make sure that you have a large enough property to support its spreading behavior.
Using Bamboo As A Hedge
You can make your yard stand out from your neighbors’ properties by using bamboo instead of traditional hedge plants. Bamboo hedges should have low leaves that branch out of the canes. Bambusa multiplex is also called Hedge bamboo for its ability to create a leafy border. Golden Goddess can also be pruned in a way to create your hedge shape.
Prune bamboo hedges once a year. Shape them every spring or summer, when the culms have reached full height. Once the plant has matured, cut new growth at ground level if you start to see that it’s thicker than the existing growth. This will help you maintain a shapely hedge. If you really want to play around with your garden, treat your bamboo like a topiary, snipping it into unique shapes.
The same type of bamboo that works well as a hedge can make beautiful bushes. In colder climates, bamboo bushes are grown as ornamental grass and cut down in the winter. Use a bamboo bush to anchor a garden or provide a backdrop for a koi pond.
Small Bamboo Plants
If you’re just stumbling into the world of bamboo growing, you might be more comfortable buying bamboo plants for indoor use. Dengarden explains that Dracena sanderiana, or Lucky bamboo, can even bring you good fortune. How’s that for getting started on the right foot with bamboo gardening? Although it’s not a true bamboo plant, it has the same exotic style. Lucky bamboo is easy to grow in potting soil or a vase of pebbles.
Other plants that look like bamboo can be grown in containers. The Bamboo Palm has stripes on the stems that look like bamboo nodes, according to BigPlants. Buying bamboo for containers is just like purchasing it for your garden. You’ll need to understand the amount of water and sunlight that will be available to choose the right type.
How tall can bamboo grow in a container? That also depends on the species. Bamboo Botanicals says that running bamboo shoots up more quickly. However, it will also get root-bound sooner than clumping bamboo that’s planted in a pot.
Creating A Bamboo Fence
A living fence can shield your property from prying eyes. Running bamboo creates a more traditional screen than clumping bamboo. However, if you don’t create an underground barrier to prevent this plant from spreading, you’ll probably need more than a bamboo fence to keep your neighbors from giving you the evil eye.
How To Plant Bamboo
You can purchase bare-root or container bamboo. Bare-root bamboo tends to be less expensive, according to HGTV, and you can order it online. It should be planted as soon as it arrives. Bare-root bamboo will come with a few stalks attached to a clump of roots.
Steps For Planting Bare-Root Bamboo:
Dig a hole big enough to accommodate the entire mass.
Loosen the soil at the base of the hole, and fill it with manure or compost.
Put the root ball in the hole, making sure that the soil marks on the bamboo stalks are at ground level.
Hold the bamboo upright as you gently work the loose soil into and around the roots.
Add loamy garden soil to the hole, layering it with water.
When the soil has reached ground level, pack it gently between the bamboo stalks. Firm it down, and water it again.
Planting Bamboo From Containers
Choose bamboo with large roots that are cramped in the container. SFGate says that these are the best bamboo plants if you want fast growth.
Dig a hole that will hold the root ball. Make sure that the top of the root ball will be level with the ground after planting.
Water the bamboo frequently. Check out the section on how to take care of bamboo for more information about watering.
Installing Barriers For Running Bamboo
If you’re wondering how to grow bamboo without letting it spread into your patio, pool or neighbor’s yard, you’ll need to know how to create a rhizome barrier. According to Landscape Advisor, you can use high-density polyethylene to prevent bamboo roots from running. Dig a trench that’s as deep as the barrier is wide. Allow the barrier to stick up a few inches above the surface of the soil. Check the ground periodically for wayward rhizomes, and pull them out or cut them back if you find them spreading.
How To Care For Bamboo Plants
Do you have a black thumb? Bamboo will make you look like a gardening expert. Bamboo plant care is relatively easy, and you reap great rewards from its impressive looks.
Caring for bamboo involves some intensive TLC when plants are new, but you can sit back and relax under their exotic canes as they mature. Water bamboo seedlings frequently after planting to support their rapid growth. You’ll need to water young bamboo plants three to four times a week in hot or windy weather and twice a week when it’s mild.
If your plant would fit in a 5-gallon pot, give it half a gallon of water each time you water it. Give a larger plant one gallon of water.
Bamboo shouldn’t sit in a boggy area. Overwatering and flooding can be just as dangerous to new plants as dehydrated soil.
To keep your bamboo looking attractive, fertilize it two or three times a year. Because bamboo is a grass, the best fertilizer for bamboo is high-nitrogen lawn food.
Bamboo Garden recommends applying bamboo food once in early spring and again in the summer.
Bamboo plant care involves thinning it out as needed. We’ve already discussed how to prune bamboo into hedges or topiaries. You can also thin out running and clumping types of bamboo plants to give them an airy appearance. All you have to do is cut down the stalks that are getting in the way of your perfect view.
Any dead, weak or unsightly culms should be cut at ground level. Thin your bamboo in the fall, when it’s not actively growing.
One of the best things about growing bamboo is that you can use mature canes for DIY projects around the home and garden. After removing older growth, use it to build a bamboo trellis, a fence or garden hoops. People with large bamboo groves cut giant bamboo into smaller pieces to use as borders, picture frames and building material. If nothing else, a bamboo backyard will help spark your creativity.
Using Garden Gadgets For Bamboo Gardening
Rain, sun and wind can affect your bamboo backyard, especially when it’s in the early stages. You don’t have to guess what the weather is going to do when you have data at your fingertips.
A weather station tells you the temperature, humidity, wind speed and rainfall, making it easy for you to decide whether it’s time to water or fertilize your plants.
Use a portable wind meter to determine if strong breezes necessitate more frequent watering and a simple rain gauge to determine the amount of rainfall.
Be wary of trying to grow bamboo from seeds as it’s really tough to do. Lewis Bamboo explains that nurseries may only see a few sprouts after planting thousands of seeds.
If you want a successful bamboo garden in your backyard, you must plan it out carefully. Once the plants are set, you won’t have to do much more than water them and enjoy the natural opulence that they bring to your yard.
Concrete is one of the most durable products that you can use around your house. However, this statement only remains valid IF you use it properly. Seeing wide or narrow concrete cracking can be troublesome, but you can avoid it by directly paying attention to minor details.
Concrete cracking happens mostly due to temperature change, uneven loads, thawing, or freezing. You might start to witness wide or narrow (hairline) cracks on concrete, commonly known as concrete cracking.
In this post, you will learn more details about what Concrete Cracking is, why it happens and what measures you need to take to prevent it. You will also find out a weather instrument that will help you with solving the problem.
Apart from the reasons mentioned above, concrete cracking might also happen because of:
Common types of concrete cracks
The most common type of concrete cracks are:
Concrete Cracks by Plastic Shrinkage
Settling Concrete Cracks
Concrete Cracks due to Load
Heavy Concrete Cracks
Expansion Concrete Cracks
Why does Concrete Cracking Take Place?
No matter if you see concrete cracks in floors, concrete cracks in the driveway, concrete cracks in walls, or concrete cracks in patio – you can control concrete cracking by paying attention to the below-mentioned reasons.
Reason #01: Water Excess in the Mix
Water can be the main force of shrinkage in concrete.
Concrete does not require much water to prepare its mix for installation. However, many times excess water added to the concrete results in the evaporation of mixing water during the drying phase.
Concrete can shrink up to ½ inch per 100 feet, which is why it is necessary to limit water in the concrete mix. The forces in the concrete mix are so strong that they leave cracks in it.
Try to avoid adding excess water in concrete to avoid cracks in it.
Reason #02: Rapid Concrete Drying
You might witness plastic shrinkage cracks if the concrete dries up very quickly. It is because the concrete is not able to gain enough tensile strength that leads to cracking. So, we can say that another reason for concrete cracks is its rapid drying. To further understand it, you must know that concrete dries out due to a reaction that takes place in it.
You need to add an adequate amount of water to concrete. The reaction that takes place transforms the concrete from liquid to solid-state.
Concrete drying can go on for days, but you need to make sure that you have added enough water in the concrete mixture to cure the slab. If the concrete dries out before time, you can witness concrete cracking.
Reason #03: Wrong Strength Concrete Poured In
Cracks on a concrete slab might also be due to pouring wrong concrete strength on the slab. If you are using a ready mix concrete, then you must confirm concrete strength from the supplier.
Concrete comes in various strengths, and you must know which strength you are pouring in. If you put in improper concrete strength, then the cracks are imminent.
Reason #04: Lack of Concrete Joints
One way to protect cracks in the concrete slabs is by placing the concrete joints in the slab. However, if there are not enough concrete joints, then concrete cracking occurs. It is placing concrete joints in the slab that protects concrete from random cracking; you should do this at predetermined locations.
Reason #05: Pouring Concrete on Frozen Ground
Never pour concrete on frozen ground!
There are many reasons for it. First of all, the frozen ground only settles upon thawing. Hence, the concrete cracks can occur. Also, when the ground is cold, the concrete might not set as rapidly as it does. The surface sets in, but the inside of the concrete may remain soft.
Methods to Prevent Concrete Cracking
If you are witnessing cracks in the concrete, do not worry – you can fix it.
The concrete cracks are unbearable, especially when they are ruining your house’s look. Concrete cracks in fountain, driveway, or anywhere else can catch anybody’s attention, so try to get rid of them as fast as you can.
There are many ways to prevent concrete cracking. We start by providing a solution to the reasons mentioned above. To summarize, the main reasons for concrete cracking are:
Water Excess in the Mix
Rapid Concrete Drying
Wrong Strength of Concrete Poured
Lack of Concrete Joints
Pouring Concrete on Frozen Ground
If you are facing concrete cracks, then try to mitigate the five issues listed above.
Method #01: Stop Pouring in Excess Water in the Concrete Mix
You must confirm from your contractor how much water he poured in the concrete mix. Make sure to hire a reliable contractor who knows these things very well.
Method #02: Concrete Curing
Curing is one of the methods to stop your concrete mix from rapid drying. This method helps in retaining the concrete’s moisture to let it have enough strength. It also helps in delaying shrinkage in the concrete. Here is how you can cure concrete in simple ways.
You can cure concrete with the help of mist, flooded, or ponded spray. These help with preventing mix water evaporation.
You can cover concrete with wet burlap, sand, canvas, or straw. Make sure the covering is damp at all times during curing.
You can also place plastic film seal or waterproof paper on hard concrete to help it resist cracking. Plastic films might cause discoloration, so place them wisely.
You can make a proper chemical application as soon as the concrete is done. Make sure to contact your flooring contractor before doing it as the process can affect the adherence effect of your flooring.
Method #03: Contact Your Supplier in regards to Concrete Strength
Contact local state concrete associations to get your hands on the first-hand knowledge about concrete strength. Once you have it, make sure to communicate it with your contractor. Hire a reliable contractor to avoid these issues.
Method #04: Place Enough Control Joints
Having enough control joints in concrete allows movements due to temperature changes inside the concrete. It would help if you decided where you place the control joints in the concrete. Note that concrete cracks might still take place, but these will be in straight lines rather than randomly.
The joints should be the same as the slab and should be about 2-3 times (in feet) of the concrete thickness in inches. Also, cut the joints as much as 25% of the slab depth. You can use grooving tools to cut joints in fresh concrete; whereas, a saw might be a better option to cut joints when the concrete is hard.
Method #05: Place Concrete on Compact Ground
Here comes another essential method to help you place the concrete slab without any cracks. One cannot wait for the hot weather to install the concrete, so what can we do? Soil thawing. No matter if you have to install concrete in cold weather, you can do so but with many precautions.
As beginners, many people don’t know that there is a base below slab that plays a critical role in installing the concrete. This base acts as a foundation and is called the ‘soil support system.’ When the soil is cold, the concrete takes more time to harden.
Pouring concrete on a cold soil looks time-saving, but it can cost you a lot of money and efforts in the future. It’s better to take necessary measures now, then taking them in the future. Here is how you can thaw the ground.
Hydronic Heaters: It uses a pump to run heating fluid through rubber tubes. The whole tube structure is laid out on the surface to be thawed. Although it is a good method, it does not give proper insulation against heat and takes much time to set up.
Heated Enclosures: A heated enclosure is built over the surface to be thawed. This method is used with other thawing methods. One downfall of this method is that it can start heating the surroundings as well instead of focus on the surface.
Drilling Holes: Many times, contractors dig in holes into the ground and fill it with hot water or steam. It takes a lot of effort and excess of water on the pour site, which can slow down the thawing process.
Fire: Propane torches or fire can be used on the pour site; however, it might not give enough heat to the thawing surface. Also, this method is not safe in winter.
Insulation: Placing an insulating blanket might also help thaw the ground through geothermal forces. This method is sufficiently efficient, but not be helpful in extreme weather conditions.
Heated Ground Thaw Blanket: Thawing ground through electrically powered heating is the best method. It gives proper insulation, provides sufficient heat to the ground, and is safe in cold weather.
Pro Tip: Even though the prevention mentioned above methods are effective, what if you wouldn’t have to do any of this work and still avoid concrete cracking? Well, it is possible – thanks to the Kestrel 5200 or Kestrel Concrete Pro Jobsite Weather Kit.
Kestrel 5200 is the best product for construction use. It helps in calculating the rate of evaporation through the built-in American Concrete Institute Evaporation Rate nomograph that measures the condition of the pout site. All you have to do is enter the temperature; then, the device displays all the necessary information required to install an adequate concrete mixture on the location.
You can easily prevent cracks from happening on the concrete slab. Apart from that, the device also measures:
Heat Stress Index, and much more.
So, besides an essential tool that helps you avoiding concrete cracks, you’ll also have a complete pocket weather station.
Having everything in your hands gives you the necessary measurements to prevent concrete cracks pretty quickly. The kit is lightweight and does not take much space. With the LiNK technology in the device, you can get all the readings on your mobile phone. You can also set up customizable alerts on your phone for any changes in the weather condition.
Instead of fixing the cracks, try preventing it with professional help.
How to Fix Concrete Cracks
Cracks can either be very big or narrow, so if you see any – do not worry; you can fix it!
A “caulk-style concrete repair compound can fix hairline cracks. Such as cracks in a concrete slab.” On the other hand, if there are large cracks in the wall, then you can stick to the “epoxy injection kit” to fix it.
How to Fix a Crack in Concrete Driveway
Follow these simple steps:
Hairline cracks in the concrete can be treated with a “caulk-style concrete repair compound.” These compounds are the best to use for narrow cracks as it is affordable and easy to use. You can buy them from any home improvement store.
Take a wire brush and clean out any debris in the loose concrete area.
Clean out any remaining dust particles in the crack through vacuum or sweep.
Fill the crack with epoxy concrete crack repair
Smooth out the surface through a putty knife and cure the surface for about 4-6 hours.
How to Repair Concrete Walls with Cracks
If you are witnessing wide cracks in the wall, then you can quickly fix them by following this simple technique.
The epoxy for repairing concrete cracks is the perfect solution for wide cracks. Buy 2-part epoxy that comes with a nozzle to fill the cracks.
Take a wire brush and clean all the debris from the area. Use a blow-dry to clean all the residual debris in and around the crack.
In the next step, attach the 10d nails in the crack within 12-inch distance.
Once the ports are attached, remove the nails from the crack. Do this before pouring epoxy in the crack.
Take the 2-part epoxy and spread it over the crack & injection ports’ bases.
Wait 6 hours. Fixing requires about 4-6 hours before filling the injection ports.
Use a saw to cut out the injection ports’ necks after 5 days. Patch the cuts after cutting the neck.
These are some of the most popular fixes that you can try with wide and narrow cracks. So, do not forget to use them if none of the prevention methods work for concrete cracks.
Repair Products for Concrete Cracking
Once you know how to fix the cracks, the next thing you should know about the products to fill the cracks. Here are the top 5 top filler for concrete cracks.
Are you looking for the best crack fillers? The epoxy adhesive is the best option for you. PC Concrete is a famous name in the industry, which is why you can trust this brand without any problem. Also, this crack filler works fine even with massive cracks. Don’t worry about the cracks opening up again or losing their durability.
Best to fill vertical cracks in the concrete
It has shown proven results on damp site
The best product for both indoor and outdoor cracks
The concrete crack repair takes about four hours to fix the cracks
Pros & Cons
The adhesive is the best moisture resistant
Natural expansion or contraction do not affect it
It is an expensive product
It takes much time to squeeze out the adhesive from the tube
This adhesive is the best for vertical application, so do not try it on horizontal cracks. Also, if the crack is in a fountain or any other wet area, then consider this adhesive to do the job correctly.
Another great product to hide cracks is the Rust-Oleum EpoxyShield Concrete Patch and Repair. It is one of the best products to get rid of ugly cracks on driveways, walls, or other places. This adhesive does not take much time to prepare. You can get rid of cracks pretty quickly with this instant solution.
Safe to use
Comes in 24oz container
Only takes 8 hours to cure
Also, repair cracks on masonry
Pros & Cons
No shrinkage upon weather changes
Leaves a glossy texture on the surface
Works best for indoors only
It is one of the best products to repair cracks, but keep in mind that it might not work with the cracks in the driveway, fountain, or other outdoor areas. Although it is not very expensive, you can use this product for all the cracks around your house.
There might be a lot of concrete crack fill options, but only a few are the best ones. If you want to repair concrete cracks without any hassle, then get the Sashco crack repair sealant today. This crack repair sealant helps in closing cracks and stopping them from absorbing the moisture.
Gives grayish concrete finish
Has watery texture
Made of acrylic latex
Can repair up to 3-inch-wide cracks
Pros & Cons
Easily blend with concrete
The flexible material and does not break off upon changing weather conditions
It is also suitable for indoor use
Ideal to be used in places with heavy vehicular traffic
Should not be applied during the wet season
Takes up to 3 days for curing and drying
Even though it is an expensive option and some might find it difficult to wait for 2 days for it to dry, but if you can compromise on these two flaws, then this is the best product that you can invest.
Are you looking for a crack filler for the hairline cracks? EZR Hairline Crack Sealer is at your service. Please do not underestimate the hairline cracks as it can go deep and absorb the moisture that can ultimately damage the surface of the concrete. If you see a hairline crack, then fill in concrete cracks with this crack sealer and get rid of them easily.
Can be used anywhere in the house
It consists of pinpoint top to fill cracks easily
It dries very quickly and is sun resistant
Pros & Cons
It is extremely thin and suitable for tiny cracks as well
Gives a clear finish
Can be used on asphalt, porcelain, and other surfaces as well
It is not highly durable
Customers complain about missing pinpoint top
This adhesive is the best for hairline cracks, but not more than that. If you see any wide cracks in your house, then this crack sealer might not be the best for you.
Concrete cracks are not the ideal situation, and nobody likes to see their floor, driveway, fountain, or walls opened up in an ugly way. However, if this ever happens, do not worry. There are many products along with methods and fixes that you can try to get rid of concrete cracks.
I hope this article helps you find a solution related to concrete cracks. Try the fixes mentioned above and enjoy crack free flooring for the rest of your life!
It is easy to understand why many people would list autumn weather as their favorite time of the year. Although by outward appearance, Nature seems to simply be preparing for the big sleep of winter, there is a lot going on during the autumn months.
In agricultural communities, autumn is the season of harvest.
The crops have been tended since planting in the spring, irrigated and cultivated through the long, hot summer, and it is finally time to enjoy the fruits of those long months of labor. Many of the great fall festivals, like Oktoberfest in its many forms and the American Traditional Thanksgiving Feast, are harvest celebrations.
On the sporting front, all those summer evenings spent cheering for your favorite baseball club eventually climax in the Fall Classic of the World Series, and Football stretches from the sweaty, dehydrating workouts of training camp in the late summer, through the autumn weekends, and will have its dramatic wrap-up during the first cold of the early winter. For outdoor sportsmen, the wildlife who gave birth has had all winter to grow healthy on the abundant plant growth through the summer months and is now at its fattest and healthiest stage of the year. Most deer species go into the rut during this time of year when the healthiest males are best equipped to pass their genes to the next generation. This time of year while the whole game animal population is at its peak of health when hunters go into the woods, hoping to harvest a freezer full of meat for the lean months ahead.
What Causes Fall?
Autumn is a time of transition between the warmth of summer and the cold of winter, which makes the concept of Indian Summer all the more precious. European immigrants named the phenomena for the North American Indians whose land they were settling, elsewhere it is known as “altweibersommer” (Old women’s summer), or “gypsy summer”. Although The Old Farmer’s Almanac has tried to tie Indian Summer to the calendar, saying “If All Saints’ (November 1) brings out winter, St. Martin’s (November 11) brings out Indian summer,” the condition is better described as a period of warm weather which occurs after the first hard frost of the season. While the killing frost signals the end of the gardening season, it also triggers a number of other seasonal biological changes.
The drop in daily average temperature we notice in the autumn is a result of shortening daylight hours. This occurs because the axes upon which the planet Earth spins is set at an angle relative to the path the planet travels around the Sun. At the Winter and Summer Solstice, the South pole (during the Northern winter) or the North Pole (during Northern Summer) is pointed directly at the Sun at a tilt of 23°. At the Spring and Autumnal Equinox, the tilt is perpendicular to the Sun.
The tilt away from the Sun as the Sun moves from Autumnal Equinox to the Winter Solstice is the reason for the shorter daylight hours and shorter days also mean that the Sun does not have as long to heat the Earth’s surface.
Many people say that the Equinox is the beginning of autumn, but when you begin to see the signs of fall will depend on upon conditions in your local region. The days actually begin getting shorter after the summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, and when you see the signs of autumn will depend upon how far North you are as well as your elevation above sea level.
Winter is Coming
One important phenomenon associated with the change in the color of fall foliage. Although many plants simply die with the coming of winter, deciduous trees have evolved a strategy dropping their leaves and going into a dormant state until spring. When the spring brings more sunlight and higher temperatures, new leaves filled with chlorophyll provide energy for the tree to flower, grow fruit and seeds, as well as woody growth as the tree increases in size. At the end of the growing season, rather than spend the energy to keep the leaves alive the tree simply lets them die and fall off, knowing that newer, stronger ones will grow in the spring.
The spectacular yellow and orange hues we associate with autumn are actually present in the leaf all the time in the form of carotenoids. These compounds are masked by the chlorophyll. The deep green of the chlorophyll is used to convert water and carbon dioxide into the simple sugars which feed the tree. As daily temperatures drop, the veins in the leaf which carry water to the chlorophyll are blocked, and as the green fades, the carotenoids become visible. Other colors, such as reds and purples, occur as the sugar making process, which requires a great deal of phosphate, breaks down. As the phosphates break down, pigments called anthocyanins are formed. These are the same pigments which are present in cranberries, red apples, blueberries, cherries, strawberries, and plums.
One commonly accepted sign that autumn is coming to a close and that winter is about to arrive is the first heavy snowfall of the season. Like the other signs of autumn we have discussed, snowfall depends upon several factors, including how far north a certain location is, the altitude, and the weather patterns that particular year. Snow is made up of individual crystals of frozen water and most precipitation throughout the year begins as snowflakes.
When water vapor in the air rises through the atmosphere, the vapor and the air carrying it cool with the increase in altitude. When the temperature drops to the dew point, the moisture begins to condense on dust particles carried in the air.
As the air continues to rise and the temperature drops further, the super-cooled moisture clinging to the particle begins to crystallize. The crystalline structure of the snowflake means it will be relatively light for the space it occupies, but eventually, enough ice will form that the flake will begin to fall towards earth.
For most of the year, as the flakes fall they go through warmer air causing the ice crystals to melt. The melted-crystal will usually continue to fall as liquid rain, although during a thunderstorm it may be blown several times back to a higher altitude where it refreezes to form a hailstone. During the late autumn and winter months, the entire air column is often cold enough that the frozen water remains in crystalline form until it reaches the ground. Since the crystal is so light compared to a denser water drop, the flakes may be blown by the wind into drifts. The longer snow sits on the ground without melting, the denser it becomes as the crystal is crushed by its own weight and the weight of the snowflakes on top of it.
The presence of snow contributes to the coldness of the territory since the energy from the sun during the shorter daylight hours in late autumn weather is reflected away rather than being absorbed by the underlying ground.
Travel in the months between the heat of summer and the bitter cold of winter has its own cautions and considerations. Motorists especially need to keep in mind the shortening of daylight hours. Twilight comes earlier, and one of the effects of Indian Summer is an increased haziness due to high atmospheric pressures and the lack of wind. This can play havoc on a driver’s visibility.
As the days get shorter the ground absorbs less heat from the sun, and overnight temperatures can drop to the dew point earlier, and continue to fall until the frost point. Road surfaces which have not been cleaned may have a slight covering of oil and dirt, and combined with frosty conditions can make traction questionable in the early morning hours. Crossing mountain passes this time of year calls for extra caution and planning because of the danger of a sudden snowstorm.
For centuries of human existence, autumn has signaled the need to be prepared for the coming winter. Crops had to be harvested and stored, hunters needed to gather and process meat, and individual homesteads needed put in a supply of firewood to get through the winter. The same attitude should be part of an autumn traveler’s plans. During the hour before and after sunset, try to stay off the road when visibility is at its worst. Keep supplies in your vehicle in case you become stuck, in fact, carrying some extra snacks is a good idea for air travel as well because a late autumn blizzard at one hub can affect the entire system.
Everyone Talks About the Autumn Weather…
The dog days of summer inevitably give way to the darkness and cold of winter, just as winter fades into the glorious rebirth of spring. A terrific way to appreciate the progression of the seasons is to observe your local conditions using weather measuring instruments. Mounting a weather station sensor suite outside is a simple addition to your other autumn weather chores, and being able to track daily conditions as they change can be a lot of fun. As winter approaches and you are better used to watching conditions, you will be better able to predict weather changes which will affect your family and their safety. You can even make your station part of a personal weather station network which will help to predict storm patterns and tornado conditions.
A home weather station like the AcuRite 01024 Pro Weather Station system gives your family scientific grade instrumentation which can be connected to your PC and the Internet. The sensor suite is relatively simple to set up, and wireless connection to the base station means that it will be effortless to connect. The Oregon Scientific WMR200a is a more expensive yet a classic, versatile and expandable system which can grow with your interest in weather monitoring. The separate sensors mean more complexity in setup but allows for easier maintenance and more accuracy in readings.
Autumn means shorter days, cooling temperatures, harvest, hunting, and football.
The phenomenon of Indian Summer is a period of warm weather after the first killing frost of the year.
The seasonal temperature drop is due to the shorter days which are the result of the Northern Hemisphere being tilted away from the sun.
The spectacular display of fall foliage results from tree leaves ceasing the production of chlorophyll. The tree is preparing to enter a dormant state during the winter months, and will not need the energy provided by the leaves until spring.
Snowflakes form in clouds year-round, but during late autumn weather and winter, the air at ground level is cool enough for the flake to remain frozen until it hits the ground rather than melting to become a raindrop.
During the autumn weather months, travelers need to be prepared for shorter daylight hours, icy road conditions, and rapidly changing weather conditions.
Despite the cooling temperatures and less predictable conditions, it is easy to understand why autumn weather is the favorite part of the year for many people. Being able to monitor weather conditions using a home weather station can add to your safety and appreciation of nature throughout the year.
A summer camping trip is almost a rite of passage, but it is so much more than that. Camping is a great way for families of any size to reconnect. There will be plenty of space and things to do for everyone to enjoy the privacy and solitude they will need, but they will also be spending time together. The most important factors for a successful camping trip are location and, gear, weather for your summer camping, and attitude, and the most important ones are the two that no amount of money can change.
If you have the good fortune to camp in an area with little or no cellular WiFi coverage, the family will have turn to each other for entertainment, and will probably be delightfully surprised with how much they like one another.
Learning to appreciate nature is the usual selling point for a camping trip, but the real value of spending time away from home is learning to appreciate the comforts of home.
This doesn’t mean that you should be roughing it. That attitude is OK for military units on maneuvers or boy scouts seeking adventure, but it can sour the experience for some family members. Rather than roughing it, the family camping trip should be an exercise in smoothing it. No, you may never be able to completely recreate all of the comforts of home, but with a little creativity and surprisingly little money you can come close. Even if you don’t, everyone can have a lot of fun trying together.
Some fear that camping is out of reach for their family because it is such an expensive pastime, and it is certainly possible to invest a small fortune in your kit, not to mention traveling to your camping destination. However, just about every city-dweller in America lives within a couple hour’s drive of a National Forest or BLM land (where it is free to camp) or a scenic state park, and at the end of the day, the trees and the squirrels are not going to care if your gear is old, improvised, used, or just out of fashion.
Take the Weather with You
The most important factors for a successful camping trip are location and, gear, weather for your summer camping, and attitude, and the most important ones are the two that no amount of money can change. Attitude is arguably the most important ingredient, if you and your family are ready to have fun, then you will, but there are few things that can sour attitudes faster than rotten weather.
The weather campers or anyone else for that matter, is a combination of wind, temperature, and rain. A more scientifically accurate picture would be wind, temperature, and moisture because this considers humidity as well as precipitation. The thought that your precious camping time can be ruined because of rainy conditions is obvious, but the moisture in the air can make life even more miserable. Conditions which are too dry have a measurable effect on the safety as well as the comfort of the camping experience so it’s better to know the Weather for Your Summer Camping Trip.
There’s Something in the Air: Water!
Humidity is a measurement of how much moisture is in the air. We learned in elementary school science classes that water can exist in all three states of matter, as solid ice, liquid water, or as a gaseous vapor. If there is a possibility of temperatures being cold enough for ice to form, it is probably too cold for most of us to consider a camping trip; cold weather camping offers some unique rewards for more experienced campers, but warm weather makes a better impression on beginning outdoors people.
Liquid water will readily turn into vapor (evaporate) if the temperature and humidity are right, and when it does it causes a cooling effect. This is how the human body regulates internal temperature through perspiration; evaporating sweat carries away excess body temperature. In conditions of high relative humidity, which is to say that the air is holding as much moisture as it can, evaporation stops, and with it the cooling effect of perspiration. This can lead to a dangerous situation with the possibility of heat stroke during heavy physical activity. Nights in a tent can become insufferably long when you are unable to get to sleep because you are sweating all night so it’s better to know the Weather for Your Summer Camping Trip..
‘At Least It’s a Dry Heat…’
Folks living in the East find it hard to imagine suffering through the incredible desert heat of the American West, but the people who live their counter that it is a “dry heat”. This means that because the air is dry, the body’s cooling mechanism of evaporating perspiration works very efficiently. However, for campers, these low humidity levels bring a very real danger of forest fire.
Once you move inland of the coastal mountains, most of the American West is a desert or semi-desert region. This does not mean that there is no precipitation, in fact, many of the most popular areas for camping receive enough winter and springtime rains to allow terrific wildflower and plant growth. However, as the summer progresses, the rainfall ceases and the daytime temperatures rise, causing all of this plant life to die off and become tinder-dry.
All this dry plant matter will need is a spark to burst into a wildfire. Nature provides plenty of these sparks with the late summer thunderstorms that come every year, but the real danger is thought to come from careless campers and other humans using the forest.
The phenomena of thunderstorms are closely related to the concept of relative humidity.
The warmer air passing over the desert mountains can carry a good deal of moisture, but as that air increases in temperature, it rises in the atmosphere. Temperature drops as the air rises, soon reaching the “dew point”, the temperature where the water vapor begins to condense and form thunderclouds. The condensing moisture causes a drop in pressure, and more cool air begins to rush into the cloud. The air molecules rubbing against each other sets up a static electrical charge which can discharge as lightning.
Your Electronic Crystal Ball
A little bit of research before your adventure begins can save your camping experience from the worst of weather-related problems. If it is going to be hot and muggy in your region, select a campsite at a higher, cooler elevation. Most Forest Service Ranger Stations will display the wildfire danger for the local area, find out what it is and take appropriate precautions. Keep an eye on the weather forecasts for the area around your selected campsite, and keep in mind that it might be better to cancel the trip than for your family to be stuck for the weekend, trapped inside a confining tent.
The problem with most general forecasts is that they tend to cover a wide region and focus on where most of the affected people will be (the very people that you might be planning on going into the hills to get away from). Mountainous regions where we find the best camping tend to have many “micro-climates” where the actual weather has little to do with what is predicted in a regional forecast. Local data is what you need.
For decades, every Forest Service Ranger Station had a collection of weather measuring instruments and a Ranger was assigned to record the readings from the analog instruments and forward the data to headquarters so that the local wildfire danger could be determined. Today, we can get all of the same information and can Know the Weather for Your Summer Camping Trip from portable wind meters. The simplest of these weather measuring instruments, like the WeatherHawk WM-100 WindMate show little more than wind speed, direction, and temperature, which is very useful in making a weather prediction, but more sophisticated devices like the WeatherHawk WM-350 WindMate are also able to display relative humidity information which is used for fire danger calculation as well as heat-index and wind-chill data that relates to weather-related personal comfort, safety and for knowing the Weather for Your Summer Camping Trip.
It is natural when you get to the woods for everyone to want to go their separate directions. Of course, mothers who panic if they are not able to track their children’s cell phones may have a problem letting their youngsters out of their sight in the big, scary forest. In reality, there are far fewer dangers for them to run into outdoors away from the big city. Everyone’s fears can be further set aside by putting a set of family band radios to use, like the Motorola T460 or the Uniden GMR5099-2CKHS.
The Family Radio Service Bands have been in use since 1996, and they are very appropriate for families to keep in touch with each other since the UHF-FM bands they use are the same ones employed by household baby monitors! Many family band radios are set up as FRS/GMRS hybrids with 22 channels.
Operating on the General Mobile Radio Service Bands requires a license from the FCC, but the bands which are shared by the FMS/GMRS services are set at a low power on family band radios, so they can be used without a license.
Most family band radios will also feature weather bands which carry forecasts and alerts from the NOAA. This can be important because just about everything that you will want to do while you are camping is weather dependent. This is not to say that you cannot have fun when it is wet and miserable, some of the best camping memories come from the times that the family was stuck together, playing cards all weekend inside the tent. However, there is potential for a lot more fun if the weather is good, and with proper notification, you can “bug-out” before conditions turn from miserable too dangerous.
Bringing It All Together
Camping can be a fun and inexpensive adventure to bring families closer together.
‘Roughing It’ may not be a lot of fun for new campers when learning how to ‘Smooth It’ generally takes a little cooperation and creativity.
There are probably great places to camp closer than you think.
It is more important for camping gear to be useful than new or fashionable.
The most important ingredients for successful family camping trip are location, gear, attitude, and weather.
Camping in humid conditions can make it hard to sleep in a tent without proper ventilation, and high humidity can lead to heat stress.
Long periods of low humidity raise the danger of wildfire.
Full-featured portable wind meters are helpful for being aware of accurate weather conditions near your campsite.
Family Band Radios are useful for keeping everyone in touch when they are away from camp and usually, feature NOAA Severe Weather Alerts.
If you’re an experienced sailor, you’ll know that the weather is no joke. It’s something that you need to take seriously, and be equipped with the right tools to weather any storms (literally) that come your way.
Professional seafarers have depended on various types of weather-related technology for centuries, but they’ve perhaps only become more prominent in the recreational market in the past few decades. Modern electronics have made various weather instruments for smaller boats that are reliable and compact enough to be mounted on a sailboat or sailing yacht.
Sailboat Weather Stations
As we get into these product recommendations, I should start by saying that although I know a thing or two about weather stations, I am not an expert sailor by any means. So, these are solid, highly recommended portable products researched as best as possible, but do take a minute to do your own research & read reviews on Amazon too.
Real-Time Weather Conditions: Receive readings for indoor and outdoor temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, and rainfall totals
Illuminated LCD Display: Easy-to-read display with backlight and auto-dim feature that also shows the current time, making for a perfect weather clock combination for your kitchen, office, home, or weather center
Enhanced Wi-Fi Connectivity to Weather Underground: Easily connect to Weather Underground to share your weather data with more than 250,000 personal weather stations across the globe
The first step in avoiding the dangers of heavy weather is being aware of what is going on locally in the atmosphere. Accurate weather measuring instruments allows the skipper to track weather conditions and quantify when and how fast they change.
Many crafts will have both a wind vane to read wind direction and an anemometer for wind speed. & other metrics.
For an anemometer, this handheld wireless option from BTMETER is our top choice. It covers the basics very well at an affordable price. Wind speed can be measured in your choice of unit, including knots. Highly accurate, connects to your phone via bluetooth, and solid power-saving features.
As well as the basics, full-featured portable wind meters like this one can include important data to display wind chill, which is critical for avoiding hypothermia.
The simplest way to determine wind direction is to face directly into the wind until you feel the same amount of wind on both cheeks, then if you can, identify a landmark directly in front of you. Use your compass to determine the bearing of the landmark, or take a compass reading of the wind direction. Most portable wind meters will not have a wind vane, but some of the more sophisticated models will include an internal compass which can be used in a similar fashion to the “wind on both cheeks” method.
Accurate temperature readings may not seem critical to a recreational sailor. If it gets chilly, personal comfort dictates putting on a jacket or foul weather gear. In actual practice, with the fun of being on the water and the excitement of new sensations, some crew members may ignore the need for donning weather protective clothing until it is too late. Given the wet and windy conditions of sailing, hypothermia, an uncontrolled drop in body temperature is a constant danger.
A sudden drop in air temperature may precede a sudden change in atmospheric conditions, signalling a quickly developing storm.
Thermometers are generally small and rugged enough to be mounted in a small cockpit, but if the instrument is mounted improperly the readings could be false due to direct sun.
Full-featured portable wind meters like the WeatherHawk SM-19 or the WM-350 will include sensors and software to display wind chill data, which is critical for avoiding hypothermia.
The barometer is considered the single most valuable weather prediction instrument carried on board. Current barometric readings will provide a picture of what the atmosphere is doing, but the change and rate of change in pressure readings are even more informative.
A quickly falling barometer indicates an imminent storm. A bulkhead mounted mechanical aneroid barometer requires no power, although a salty marine environment may negatively affect the internal gear mechanism. Handheld barometers are often too fragile to be practical. An electronic barometer such as the one featured in a handheld weather station is again the most favorable solution for the small boat sailor. Portable wind meters such as WeatherHawk WM-350 and SM-28 include the option for barometric readings.
Load Up and Set Sail
Life On The Water
The basics of sailing, learning how to launch your boat, raise and lower the sails, and make it go where you want it to go can pretty much be learned over the space of a weekend, but you will spend the rest of your life perfecting those skills. There are sailing clubs just about everywhere you can find enough water to sail on, and most factory built boats will have a class organization where you will find plenty of friends willing to teach you the basics of sailing.
It always feels great to have the faster boat while it can be humbling to wring all the performance you can out of your boat and still come up short, but racing, no matter how informal, is a great way to boost your boat handling skills. It is important for the skipper to share those skills with his crew, as well. With the limited space aboard a trailer sailor, it is good if everyone can pull their weight, and it is great fun to watch your kids learning how to handle the boat. Many skippers will tell you that the proudest moment of their sailing career was the first time they sat back with a drink while their kids took the helm and navigated across the bay.
With modern weather services both broadcast and over the Internet, a trailer sailor can usually choose the best conditions to go sailing in. If the skipper knows that it is going to be a stormy day, better to leave the boat on the trailer and take in a ball game. Keep in mind that broadcast or Internet forecasts are going to cover a wide area, and what the small boat sailor needs to know is the conditions where his boat is sailing right now.
A larger craft will have plenty of room full function weather instrumentation, but a trailer sailor usually will not have the dashboard space for all the weather gizmos that a skipper desires. While there is no replacement for the Mk1Mod0 Human Eyeball, there are a number of portable electronic devices which can fill the void.
Introducing the Trailer Sailor
There is a saying in the boating world that the fun of boat ownership is inversely proportional to the size of the vessel. In other words, people who own small or very small boats tend to enjoy them a lot more than owners of big boats. A sailboat which is small enough to live on a trailer in your driveway represents an exceptional value.
The advantages of a small boat are almost too many to number. Maintaining a large boat is a lot of work. A small boat still needs maintenance, of course, but since it is a lot smaller, the work can be done in an hour or two instead of being a day-long or multi-day project. A big boat needs to be kept in the water, but a small boat skipper is likely to use his boat more often because it is so much simpler (and cheaper) for him to get it out on the water.
If a small sailboat does have an engine, it will be a very small and simple one which sips fuel. A larger yacht is often totally dependent upon firing up the “stinkpot” to get in and out of the harbor, not to mention relying on it to get home on schedule. It is easier to learn to operate a small boat than a large one (however, almost everything that you will learn on a small craft will be directly transferable to a larger vessel if you do decide to move up).
The most obvious advantage to a larger boat over a tiny one is safety and crew comfort, but even this can be an illusion. Nautical literature is filled with tales of very small vessels surviving very large storms (including hurricanes) if the crew is able to simply button down and ride it out. It is rarely comfortable to ride out a storm in a small craft, but your boat will be a lot tougher than you suspect.
There are a few basic conditions that every skipper will need to keep track of. These will include wind speed and direction, air temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure. These conditions are recorded and reported by commercial and government agencies around the world, so a means of receiving these reports can be helpful to supplement local observation.
Limitations of Trailer Sailors?
Some people refuse to consider a small boat because they are afraid it will be of limited use. Remember, the smaller the boat, the more fun it is to own! Some very tiny boats, including many which fit our definition of trailer sailors, have made incredible voyages, including several circumnavigations and exploring everywhere from the fjords of Greenland to the bays of Antarctica and everywhere in between.
A mooring kept yacht would seem to have a greater range, but in fact, the bigger boat is more or less trapped in a single body of water. Trailer sailors have the option of going “55 mph to windward” any time they want to on their trailer.
Even if your home waters are an inland reservoir, with a little planning and a well-timed vacation, your family could be cruising the Gulf Coast, the many islands of Puget Sound, the rocky headlands of New England, the sunny shores of the Sea of Cortez, the Great Lakes, or the Florida Keys.
As long as the water is deep enough for your keel and there is a road leading to it, you can sail your trailer sailor there!
The Life You Save May Be Your Own…
Although it is fun to dream and great to know that your boat would be up to an epic adventure, most of our trailer sailor adventures will be more limited in scope. Whether you are braving “the Roaring Forties” around Cape Horn or spending a lazy afternoon tacking back and forth across your local reservoir, things going wrong can be just as deadly for you and your crew. Small craft safety comes down to the same three elements:
Maintaining your vessel and its equipment.
Knowing how to operate it in a prudent manner.
Being aware of the conditions you are sailing in by having instruments for small boats on board.
As we mentioned earlier, taking care of a trailer sailor is a much simpler proposition than living with a larger yacht. Since the boat lives in your driveway, you are able to take care of things yourself and at your own pace. Even if you are not very mechanically inclined there are plenty of tutorials and forums on the Internet where you can learn everything you need to know about taking care of your boat.
The trailer sailor is small enough that learning its systems is very simple. In fact, building a small sailboat yourself is not that hard. It is a time-consuming project, and over the span of the project, most builders find that they haven’t really saved any money over buying a factory-built boat.
However, by spending a few hours a week on the project, spaced over several months, the amateur builder finds that he has a better built and more beautiful craft (since he is working for himself, the amateur builder usually does not take shortcuts and can afford to use the best materials). If something goes wrong during the life of the boat, the builder knows that he will be able to fix it because he built it!
Probably the greatest small boat sailors of all time were the ancient Polynesians. Although their craft was not really what we would think of as trailer sailors, the boats did live on the beach when they were not being sailed.
These same boats (which were among the fastest non-engine powered watercraft of all time) were constructed by hand from all natural materials with no written plans, fibreglass, epoxy, or metal fittings. The navigators who sailed them had not weather instrumentation other than their own eyes and knowledge passed down from father to son for generations. Using this stone-age technology, they became the dominant culture over nearly a fifth of the Earth’s surface.
We may never become as intimate with the sea and the weather as the ancient Polynesians, but we face the same dangers and experience the same joys every time we go to sea in our small boats. It is an attainable adventure which is within reach of almost everyone, and one which can be shared and enjoyed by the entire family. Keep the following principles in mind:
Smaller vessels are incredibly capable, versatile, and much cheaper to own and operate than large yachts. The smaller the boat, the more fun it is to own!
Although a trailer sailor may not have enough space to carry a suite of full-function weather instruments, the skipper can use handheld electronic devices to keep track of the weather and communicate with other vessels.
There are several types of radio sets and receivers which can monitor NOAA Weather alerts and can be set up with an alarm for emergency conditions.
Tracking wind conditions is vital for sailing vessels for both the safety and performance of the craft. A simple portable wind meter gives the skipper up-to-the-moment readouts of wind speed and changing conditions.
Hypothermia can be deadly on the water. Keep track of air temperature and wind-chill conditions.
Use a barometer to track and predict changes in local weather conditions.
If you’re anything like other homeowners across the nation, you dream of reducing your monthly energy bills by going green. The first step to reaching this goal is to have an energy audit done on your home. While you can guess that you’re losing climate-controlled air through your drafty windows and doors, a professional energy audit will let you know for sure about the areas in your home that need help. After you make sure that your property is adequately insulated, then it’s time for you to consider installing a wind-electric system that can cleanly and inexpensively produce power for your home. This handy guide covers the main things that you need to know about wind electricity for residential use and installing a home wind turbine.
Harnessing the wind as an energy source is nothing new — ancient mariners across the globe relied on the wind to push their sailboats. The first recorded use of a small wind turbine cropped up as early as 200 B.C. in China, where windmills pumped water into fields.
Small-scale farmers continued to utilize windmills into the Current Era, refining the technology in order to speed up and simplify food production. The windmill turbine generator traveled from the Middle East to the Netherlands and beyond, and were used to grind corn, wheat, and other grains, as well as pump water.
The windmill generator was brought to the New World sometime in the late 1800s, and American farmers harnessed the ancient methods perfected across the Atlantic. The 20th century, and the electricity revolution fueled by forward-thinking visionaries including Edison and Tesla, would bring new, exciting possibilities for the wind power generator.
The so-called “Energy Crisis” of 1979 jump-started the modern alternative energy revolution, but the world’s first megawatt wind generator was erected and tied to the grid in Castleton, Vermont, in 1941. The 1,250 kilowatt Smith-Putnam Wind Turbine stood at a height of 120 feet, only a few meters taller than today’s recommended home wind turbine apex.
Wind Power for Homes
Most people think of installing solar panels when they consider getting an alternative energy system. They often forget about wind power for homes. Wind is a natural resource that you can’t see, but it’s effective for power generation. While renewable power use is a popular trend today, powering devices with the help of wind is not a new concept.
The ancient Egyptians reportedly used wind-based power to propel their sailboats on the Nile as early as 5,000 B.C., and Central Asians captured wind to power water pumps and grain mills in 200 B.C. These early windmills paved the way formodern wind turbines that are used to generate electricity for commercial and residential use.
There are two main ways that you can get wind-generated electricity for your home. You can buy wind-based electricity from an eco-friendly power company. These companies usually invest in wind farms and sell the energy that they produce to household consumers and commercial customers. This method of getting wind-based electricity for your home will not save you significant amounts of money on your monthly utility bills. Eco-friendly power companies must pay for the extensive infrastructure that is associated with owning wind farms. In most cases, purchasing electricity from one of these companies lowers your use of fossil fuel pollutants.
The most common way to get wind-generated power for your home is to install a residential wind turbine on your property. By placing a home wind electric system on your property, you’ll get the monthly savings on your energy bills and the easy conscience of a good environmental steward. Wind-derived power generation isn’t for everyone, though.
You’re a good candidate for a home wind electric system if you have these five things: A property that experiences high amounts of wind
✔️ A large lot of at least one acre
✔️ Flexible building codes that allow wind turbines
✔️ A way to connect your system to the power grid
✔️ A desire to live completely off the grid
The Department of Energy has wind resource maps that can help you find out if your property has enough wind to make an investment in a turbine feasible. You can also get informational resources about area wind speeds from your local airport.
To determine if a new wind system is right for you, you’ll have to conduct a cost-benefit analysis that is based on these four criteria:
Your power needs
Cost of your new wind electric system
Expected energy production from your wind electric system
Projected savings amount from using the system
The Lowdown on Wind Power for Homes
There are numerous reasons to utilize the wind as a means of producing energy. In the past few decades, wind power has risen from obscurity to become a global phenomenon, lighting up homes and businesses throughout the world, from the vast fields of China to the New Belgium Brewing facility in Fort Collins, Colorado.
If you’re considering wind energy at your residence, you likely have many questions. For instance, how much does a windmill cost? Where can I find a wind turbine for sale? Just how much power does a wind turbine produce? Do I need to buy a wind turbine kit? How big is a wind turbine for home use?
This guide is designed for those new to wind power technology as well as those curious about adapting a lifestyle that doesn’t rely on the power grid. Wind turbine cost and site considerations are just part of the journey towards clean energy. The following home wind turbine information primarily focuses on grid-tied wind power systems, rather than those off the grid.
Site Considerations for Home Wind Turbine Kits
There are many factors to consider in regards to residential wind turbine placement, and your home’s geographic location is just the beginning.
The cost of wind energy is not as prohibitive as you might expect. In order for a wind turbine to be both efficient and economically feasible over the long term, it should be installed where the annual average wind speed is over 5 meters/second. Your windmill electric generator will achieve optimal power production when installed above turbulent air, where airflow is smooth and laminar: That is, the wind consistently flows in the same direction.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make during the installation of your residential wind turbine is placing it on a rooftop. Airflow surrounding buildings is often turbulent, resulting in insufficient power production. A rooftop wind generator tends to vibrate slightly during operation, which can damage your structure over time.
Although it may sound counter-intuitive, the presence of consistent, strong winds in a particular location doesn’t necessarily indicate that the site is ideal for wind power collection. Keep in mind that quality is vastly more important than quality where energy production is concerned, and just say no to a rooftop wind turbine.
Your local landscape is of prime importance when you’re considering the installation of a small wind turbine for home. In the U.S., optimal wind power production conditions are found across the Great Plains, with Texas topping the list of wind-producing states, by a wide margin. The Lone Star State, in fact, out-produces all three of the country’s subsequent wind power producers — Kansas, Montana, and Nebraska — combined.
But it was a small town in Missouri that made history as the nation’s first city to be powered completely by wind energy. Rock Port, with a population of just over 1,200, accomplished the feat in June 2011. As of 2017, four more American cities joined Rock Port in the wind power revolution:
Kodiak Island, Alaska
Each of these groundbreaking cities meets the minimum requirements for efficient wind generation, boasting prime annual wind speeds and low air turbulence numbers.
How Does a Wind Turbine Generate Electricity?
Today’s wind power generator strongly resembles its wooden ancestors, typically constructed with a few simple components. Grid-tied residential wind turbine kits contain a tower and three rotor blades, and other components may be included.
Your new wind turbine for home generates power almost effortlessly — primarily utilizing spinning rotor blades that power an alternator, which diverts power to a tough magnet. A grid tie controller is included in nearly every wind turbine kit on the market. The device ensures that your home stays connected even if your home wind generator isn’t drawing power.
To calculate the estimated annual wind production at your residence, you’ll need to determine the rotor diameter of your micro wind turbine. Then, use the following equation:
Energy [kWh] = 2.09 X Diameter2 [m] X Wind3 [m/s]
A typical single-family home uses about 8,000 kWh of energy per year. To achieve that level of wind power production in an average wind speed of 11 mph, a 6 kWh turbine should be sufficient. Calculate your household’s typical energy needs using information from past power bills in order to determine the output you’ll need from a wind turbine.
The unfortunate truth is that many locations are not ideal for the production of wind power. To determine if wind generation is a viable option for your home, you’ll need to put in the research. Gather annual wind speed statistics from your local airport, along with meteorological data.
Even if the wind conditions in your area meet the minimum recommended requirements, there’s still your property to consider in regards to wind turbine cost. Trees, houses, and outbuildings all impede airflow, and even a small wind turbine should be installed at least 500 feet from the nearest structure.
As for wind turbine height, bigger is typically better. Experts recommend a minimum turbine tower height of 60 feet, plus rotor blade length, a grand total of about 100 feet from the ground.
How Much Energy Does a Wind Turbine Produce?
Wind turbines are rated by their maximum capacity to produce electricity from captured wind. Electricity production for large wind turbines, which are used in commercial applications, is measured in megawatts. One megawatt is equal to one million watts of power. Small wind turbines are designed for use on residential properties and have electricity production ratings in kilowatts. Popular small wind electric systems are rated at 10 kW. If these systems work at maximum capacity daily, they can produce 87,600 kW of electricity in a year, which is more than enough electricity to power the average American household.
When determining whether one of these systems will meet your family’s electrical needs, you’ll have to look further than the manufacturer’s maximum capacity rating, however. How much energy does a wind turbine produce? You can best answer this question by factoring in your area’s variations in air speeds in addition to your system’s size and type. Wind is highly variable. Your area can experience high speeds for one week, but winds can taper off the next week. Industry experts suggest that a small wind electric system is only feasible if your area experiences an average wind speed of 10 mph or greater.
Look at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory wind maps for your area as a guide. When it comes to capturing the greatest amount of wind power, the configuration of your small wind electric system matters. A typical small wind electric system consists of these six main elements: – Turbine frame – Rotor – Wind power generator or DC motor – Tail – Tower – Balance-of-system components The typical system has a horizontal-axis turbine that contains three rotors. The rotors capture wind and turn a shaft that supplies the system’s home wind generator or DC motor with power.
A large rotor diameter captures more wind and generates more power than a smaller version. The windmill generator capacity for your turbine is determined by the size of your system’s rotors. The tail guides the direction of the turbine and keeps it facing the wind properly. The turbine is affixed on a tower for optimal wind capture. These towers can be stand-alone or guyed. Guyed towers, which are held in place by guy wires, are the most common types of towers for small wind electric systems.
The height of these towers usually range from 20 feet to 60 feet. Your small wind electric system will capture more wind and have greater levels of power production if it’s positioned on a tall tower that soars above obstacles that could block wind flow. The balance-of-system components include items such as storage batteries, wiring to connect your system to the grid, a controller, and an inverter.
While you can’t predict wind speeds with precision, your small wind electric system mitigates the risk of lower speeds by storing excess energy in its batteries. If you’re located in a wind-rich area, a small wind electric system can produce the bulk of your household’s power. These systems are suitable for single-family, suburban homes, houses that are settled on small farms, and structures that need power for water pumps.
Types of Residential Wind Turbine Systems on the Market
You can get small wind turbines in a variety of configurations. The most common small wind turbine is the horizontal axis version that contain two or three blades. These systems need high-speed winds to rotate, so it’s necessary to place them on tall towers. Full-size horizontal axis turbine systems require heavy gearboxes, generators, and blades that rely on controls to move them in the direction of the wind.
Smaller versions of horizontal axis wind turbines exist to provide power in smaller spaces. A typical micro wind turbine comes with 52-inch diameter blades that can capture wind at speeds as low as 2.5 mph.
Micro wind systems come with batteries to store electricity and a charge controller to optimize power output. You can use a micro wind turbine for off-the-grid power production at a cabin or as back-up power for your primary residence. You can get a micro wind system that includes a 600w or 400w wind turbine. A 400w wind turbine can also be used to power devices on boats and to recharge batteries.
A mini wind turbine system is another option for energy consumers who have space constraints. This wind-powered turbine produces 25 watts of power in 22 mph winds. The mini wind turbine often weighs less than 10 pounds and can be installed as a rooftop wind turbine. You can position this wind electric turbine on your apartment balcony.
While the main components of full-size, horizontal wind generator systems are located at the top of tall towers, a vertical axis wind turbine houses its main parts at the base of the structure. This turbine type sits vertical to the ground and perpendicular to wind streams. Vertical axis wind turbines are often considered to be more efficient and cost effective than horizontal wind generator systems.
A vertical wind turbine has no blades that must be positioned into oncoming winds, and it needs no special wind speed and direction sensors. The components of a vertical wind turbine are always facing winds, and they have greater surface areas for wind capture than the propeller blades of horizontal systems. They can be installed as a rooftop wind turbine or be placed in a more inconspicuous area on your property. Innovations in vertical axis turbines take the form of micro systems such as the ones produced by Vortex Bladeless.
Horizontal Versus Vertical Wind Turbine
Both the traditional windmill generator used in early American food production and the massive metal behemoths that dot the foothills of Altamont Pass in Central California, an expansive array of nearly 5,000 turbines spanning 50,000 acres, are examples of Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines (HAWTs).
Horizontal turbines are outfitted with rotors that resemble a propeller, rotating on an axis that’s parallel to the ground. In today’s alternative energy market, nearly every wind power generator designed for on-grid connection rotate on a horizontal axis.
The general consensus within the world of wind power is that HAWTs are vastly superior to turbines that rotate vertically. The shape of a Vertical Wind Turbine resembles that of a wire whisk. Two blades rotate around a stationary vertical shaft, perpendicular to air flow.
Manufacturers of VAWTs tout the superior power production capability of vertical rotation, even in turbulent conditions, and claim that vertical turbines are much less noisy than their horizontal counterparts. Real-world data, however, indicates otherwise; even the best home wind turbine is going to generate noise.
Further, vertical blade rotation causes excess wind resistance, negatively impacting the turbine’s performance and reliability. In your search for the optimal residential wind turbine for sale, don’t be fooled by false promises regarding the capability of vertical-axis turbines.
How Much Does a Wind Turbine Cost?
Powering your home with wind is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint along with your energy bill. But most wind turbines carry a hefty price tag: The equipment itself will set you back about $5,000 per kilowatt, meaning that you can expect to shell out about $40,000 for an 8 kWh system . You also need to factor in the cost of installation.
Self-installation of your wind turbine will likely save you money, but it’s not a good idea for most homeowners. Even if you’re a dedicated do-it-yourself person, you don’t want to risk constructing the turbine incorrectly. The turbine will also have to be tied to the local power grid, a job that’s best left to the professionals.
Expect an installation cost ranging between about $8,000 to $25,000, depending on the size of your property and the turbine itself, as well as the distance from the turbine to the power grid.
Finding the Right Wind Turbine for Sale
Once you’ve determined that your residence is an ideal candidate for wind turbine installation, it’s time to weigh your options. And since home wind turbine kits are a major investment, you should avoid making a hasty decision.
Read customer reviews, compare prices and specs between each wind generator kit, and don’t hesitate to contact wind turbine distributors directly with any questions about system performance, size, or estimated output. Questions to ask include, “how much energy does a wind turbine produce?”
In addition, check for certification: All wind turbines sold in the U.S. must be approved by the Small Wind Certification Council.
Wind turbine kits for home use range in capacity, size, price, and included extras. Minimalist home wind turbine kits, ideal for smaller homes, often contain only a basic turbine and grid tie controller. Other home turbine kits are packed with accessories and amenities, boasting speeds of up to 125 mph, a lifetime guarantee, and/or the superior power of a permanent magnet rotor alternator.
No matter the reason you’ve made the switch to wind energy to power your home, you have myriad options at your fingertips. To ensure optimal wind turbine efficiency and a quick return of your investment, familiarize yourself with the perks as well as the limitations of this energy-saving technology. Welcome to the clean energy revolution!
How to Build a Wind Turbine
You may decide to take matters into your own hands when you consider the question, “how much does a wind turbine cost?” A DIY wind turbine will cost you much less than a wind turbine for sale at your local retailer. Learning how to make a wind turbine is relatively simple with the amount of tutorial content that’s available on the web. Without the pressure of justifying a windmill power system that costs tens of thousands of dollars, you’re free to capture the wind’s power in a manner that meets your household’s needs best. When considering DIY wind electric systems, you can get as sophisticated or as simple as you like. Consider this video tutorial of how to build a wind electric turbine that contains three blades.
The DIY wind turbine that is featured in the “how to make a wind turbine” video that is linked above has an estimated cost of $30 and takes about six hours of labor. Other homemade wind electric systems cost more if you want an upgraded home wind generator, a new deep-cycle battery, and the wiring to connect your homemade wind turbine to the power grid.
A DIY wind electric system has obvious advantages over many ready-made versions if you’re handy or if you know someone who is electromechanically gifted. There are some drawbacks to installing a homemade wind turbine and its associated windmill generator, blades, and tower. To get energy-related tax credits in some states, your small wind turbine must be installed by a certified professional.
How Wind Turbine Systems Survive Natural Disasters
You may think that hurricanes and typhoons are ideal conditions for wind energy systems. High-speed winds create windmill power that can either be used immediately or stored for later use. These natural disasters can cause harm to wind turbine generator rotors if wind speeds are too high, however. Commercial manufacturers know how to build a wind turbine that stands up to storms. These factory-made wind turbine generator systems use built-in safety mechanisms that shut off when conditions become too harsh.
Wind turbines are equipped with sensors that measure wind speed. These wind electric systems start generating electricity at a certain wind speed. It operates steadily until air speeds exceed the system’s maximum capacity rating. If your wind turbine’s capacity rating is 55 mph, then it will likely shut off automatically to protect its rotors during a hurricane. Category five hurricanes produce sustained winds of 157 mph. A wind turbine produces electricity and is sturdy enough to survive a powerful storm system if it has been properly installed.
A home wind turbine continues to be a viable option for certain residences. New developments in wind technologies promise turbines that not only survive storms but thrive on them. Challenergy, which is an alternative energy start-up in Japan, has designed a wind electric system that captures high-speed winds from typhoons. Typhoons in Japan are common, and they typically produce winds of 100 mph or greater. The company’s new turbine design features cylinders rather than the propeller-like blades of a traditional horizontal axis wind turbine.
The Japanese company hopes to produce this safer, cleaner form of energy to offset the loss of energy production that was caused by the 2011 Fukushima accident. Prototypes of the design indicate that the Challenergy wind electric systems will be stronger than traditional systems, and they will produce greater amounts of energy during strong storms.
Other Types of Renewable Energy
Renewable energy is defined as an energy source that quickly and naturally replenishes itself. In addition to wind, other sources of renewable power include water, solar, geothermal, biomass, and biofuels.
Hydroelectric power is made when the motion of running water is turned into electricity, and it’s one of the oldest forms of renewable power on earth. Ancient farmers used water power to turn wheels to operate grain mills. Today, water currents in American rivers, streams, and water falls are harnessed to power homes and businesses in every state. Dams are often used to control the amount of flowing water for hydroelectric plants. Some famous dams that are used to produce hydroelectric power are the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington, the Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant in New York, and the Hoover Dam in Arizona. If your state uses hydroelectric power plants to supply most of its energy needs, your utility bills are likely to be lower than homeowners who live in other states.
Solar energy is one of the most popular sources of renewable power for homeowners who want to lower their utility bills. Sunshine is abundant in many American cities, and it’s produced daily for free. Homeowners capture the sun’s energy with solar panel systems that are usually attached to their roofs. These panels are a part of a system that supplies electricity to the home through a connection to the utility company’s power grid or as a stand-alone unit. A solar power deep cycle batteries store excess energy for later use.
Have you ever marveled at the geysers and hot springs at Yellowstone National Park? These natural wonders are examples of geothermal energy at work. The earth produces heat deep within its crust that can be captured for heating and cooling buildings. Geothermal energy production sites are usually found in regions that are prone to volcanic activity.
One of the most exciting forms of renewable power is one that recycles waste products into usable power. Biomass energy is the conversion of animal and plant waste products into methane gas or ethanol for power. If society continues to produce waste from food processing, farm animals, and even human sewage, biomass energy will remain a renewable source of power. Many coal plants are converting some of their buildings into biomass processing areas to meet regulatory requirements for cleaner energy production. Local governments also support the use of landfill waste for biomass energy production.
Biofuel energy is a controversial form of renewable power that can be derived from animal or plant matter. Companies use sugarcane and corn to produce bioethanol for power. Critics of this form of biofuel argue that these plants are food crops that should be used to feed hungry people rather than powering commercial buildings, homes, and large trucks.
Pros and Cons of Wind Energy
Wind is free
Wind is clean, renewable power
New wind technologies being developed
Equipment is relatively simple to operate
Wind quantity and speeds vary
Large land lots needed for system setup
Operating a wind power system is noisy
Equipment is unsightly
Some equipment is made using petroleum products
Kills bats and birds
The options are growing for those who are interested in reducing their contribution to toxic fossil fuel emissions, and wind-based power has taken center stage as a viable source of clean energy for home and commercial use. A close examination of the advantages and disadvantages of wind-based power shows how it stacks up to other forms of renewable power sources such as solar.
#1 Wind is free.
Wind is created when the sun heats the earth’s surface unequally. Air streams that touch hot surfaces rise, and air that hits a cooler surface descends. These conditions create low and high atmospheric pressure. When these air masses interact, wind is formed. One of the key benefits of wind is that it’s free.
#2 Wind is clean, renewable power.
Wind turbines produce electricity that is cleaner to develop and to use than electricity that is produced from coal and oil. Wind-derived electricity is also considered to be renewable since it can be produced in a relatively short amount of time.
#3 New wind technologies being developed.
Public and private organizations promise to continue developing wind technologies that will make wind-based power more cost effective in residential and commercial markets. New turbine designs and improved battery storage are projected for the future.
#4 Equipment is relatively simple to operate.
The design of today’s small wind turbines is patterned after windmills that have been used for millennia to power equipment. The main components of these small wind electric systems are limited in scope and easy to operate and maintain.
#1 Wind quantity and speeds vary.
Many areas of the United States don’t get enough high-speed winds to make installing windmills for electricity worthwhile. A coastal American city such as Norfolk may only get high winds during a hurricane, but Chicago has an average wind speed of 10.3 mph throughout the year.
#2 Large land lots needed for system setup.
A wind turbine that has a large rotor diameter for its turbine blades requires a spacious lot that is flat and unobstructed by forests or buildings. These wind electric systems usually perch atop tall towers to maximize their wind collecting capabilities.
#3 Operating a wind power system is noisy.
A report from General Electric lets you know about the sound pressure level at which a typical home wind turbine operates. The turbine is usually positioned about 985 feet away from a home, and it produces 43 decibels of noise at that distance. The noise that is produced by a wind power generator is a disadvantage if you have close neighbors.
#4 Equipment is unsightly.
Whether you opt for a vertical axis wind turbine or one of the horizontal varieties, you still must be prepared for a reduction in curb appeal when you install a small wind electric system.
#5 Some equipment is made using petroleum products.
Critics of wind as a renewable power source note that wind turbines have moving parts that must be lubricated with petroleum-based products. Some turbine blades are also manufactured with petroleum-based resins.
#6 Kills bats and birds.
Bats and birds are important members of the ecosystem. Birds help to pollinate crops, and bats reduce mosquito populations. The link between horizontal axis wind turbines and wildlife mortality is significant.
This article discusses why any shooter should consider long-range marksmanship and rifle training. It also explores how to affordably practice the discipline using equipment you already own.
However, the experience can be enhanced with some low-cost accessories and weather instruments – such as portable wind meters.
Reading Time: 15 min
“One Shot, One Kill”
This somewhat bloodthirsty epithet has become the ultimate expression of the rifleman’s art. The expression is most closely associated with the battlefield sniper and long-range marksmanship. However, it is not hard to appreciate that this mentality can, and should, apply throughout all shooting sports.
Every time you pull the trigger, a ballistic event is initiated which can be predicted, described and measured. Ultimately, the most important measurement is “did the round hit the target and were the results what the shooter intended?”
Ballistics is the science which measures and observes the factors that influence that result. The cold science of ballistics does not care if the weapon is a high-tech sniper rifle, which costs as much as your car, or the deer rifle in your closet. For that matter, ballistics apply to many things. Think shotguns, rifles and handguns, but also slingshots, compound and traditional bows, medieval trebuchets, catapults, even baseball pitchers and football quarterbacks.
Do you need to have an intimate knowledge of ballistics to become a good long-range shooter? No, you do not. All that is really required to consistently hit your target is a firm grounding in basic long range marksmanship. This emphasizes safety, sight picture, shooter’s position and trigger control.
By learning and consistently practicing these elements, you and your rifle (or pistol, shotgun, bow, slingshot or trebuchet) should be able to hit the target almost every time. Understanding the science of ballistics will make that practice more meaningful and profitable.
Focus on safety, sight picture, shooting stance and trigger control.
There is no replacement for practice. The “professional shooter”, whether military, law enforcement, a hunting guide or a competitive target shooter, will get plenty of practice during training. Even if they are never called upon to fire their weapon in an actual tactical situation they spend hours at the practice range.
This guide is written for the “non-professional shooter”. Someone who keeps their rifle in the closet most of the year and only takes it out to fire a few sight-in rounds every fall.
It will also apply to a homeowner who keeps an assault rifle for home defense or the armed citizen who carries a handgun for personal security. It may even be relevant to the family wanting to introduce their kids to firearms.
Studying ballistics will make you a better overall shooter. Experts agree that there is no better way to study ballistics than by practicing long range shooting. While “realistic” practice of the shots you may take in real life are important, long range precision shooting enforces the basics of marksmanship. This is because every tiny, seemingly insignificant mistake is magnified by extreme range.
How to Get Into Long Range Marksmanship
A sniper, with his ability to engage and eliminate targets from a half mile away and further, has been called the “King of the Battlefield”. Military leaders once considered snipers undesirable and even dishonorable, the modern-day sniper is often the best of the best. Before being selected for sniper training, a soldier is required to demonstrate superior discipline, leadership and superb long range marksmanship.
A military or police sniper will have access to the most advanced tools and technologies. Technology alone, however, will not make a shooter into Carlos Hathcock. A state of the art sniper rifle can cost thousands of dollars, and the rifle itself will not make you a better shooter.
An accurate shot of a quarter-mile is well within the capability of most off-the-shelf bolt action hunting rifles with little or no modification. Of course, building a dedicated long-range rifle can be a lot of fun, and much less expensive than a full-on, customized tactical sniper rifle.
As a beginner, you won’t be a better shooter only by owning a state-of-the-art rifle.
Long range rifle accuracy is more dependent on understanding the local conditions, than the rifle used to take the shot. How these conditions affect the shot will be covered in greater detail as we discuss external ballistics. For now, simply recognize that wind and the atmosphere will have a huge impact on how the projectile flies toward a target.
The basic equipment to get started practicing long-range marksmanship are as follows:
Rifle For Long Range Marksmanship
Obviously, a precision shot will require a precision rifle. However, as mentioned previously, most rifles on the market (or in your closet) are more precise than the shooter who uses them. Theoretically, a customized sniper rifle will shoot more accurately than the 30.06 passed down from your granddad. But, unless you are already a superior marksman, there is little to be gained by spending the extra money.
A good long range rifle requires a precision sighting system. It is theoretically possible to hit distant targets with iron sights, but, long range marksmanship will be better served using a telescopic sight. This will simply make a distant target visible to the shooter.
The scope for long distance marksmanship is usually more powerful than a hunter’s scope. This is because the shot will be taken from a resting position.
One of the distinguishing characteristics of a sniper rifle is the installed bipod. While the bipod makes a readily available rest in a tactical situation, it will add weight and complication to the rifle. Cross-sticks, a shooter’s staff or even sandbags make very stable and effective rests, and since they are not attached to the rifle, the piece can still be carried for hunting.
“Hand-loaded” and “match-grade” are ammunition terms which are thrown about in the long range shooting community. All they really mean is ammo which will perform consistently from round to round to ensure consistent results. Usually, a hand load “recipe” will be developed to get optimal results from each rifle/ammunition combination.
Again, the beginner will be faced with a question of how good is good enough? A hunting rifle with factory ammo should be able to print a group on less than half an inch at 100 yards. The custom rifle/match ammo combo may have a theoretical performance of a quarter inch at the same range. If the shooter himself is only able to shoot a three-inch group on his best day, how much potential is wasted?
A Place To Practice Long Range Marksmanship
A quick search of the Internet can put you in touch with long-range precision shooters in your area to help you find a place to shoot. They are probably more than willing to provide coaching and instruction to help you get started in this fascinating pastime. However, shooting with a club or organization often means adopting the style of shooting they are interested in.
The minimum requirements for a place to practice long range marksmanship are:
A place where it is legal to operate a firearm
A safe area behind the target for bullet impact
A clear range between the shooter and the target
Naturally, these places will rarely be found in suburban or even rural areas, but they can usually be accessed without the need for extended wilderness travel.
When a shooter takes a long-range shot, the more information he has, the more likely he is to actually hit the target. Many of these aids will be part of the tactical rifle system, but a casual or competitive shooter may be better served with dedicated instruments.
This is an advantage of learning from a more experienced shooter or club, as they will already have the equipment. However, the novice is more likely to absorb their preferences rather than make his own decisions about which purchase best meets his needs.
Spotting scope and spotter. Using the sighting scope for spotting is generally an unsafe practice. The spotting scope will be more powerful and tripod mounted, allowing the spotter to call the shot and suggest corrections.
Rangefinder. These may not be completely necessary if you are shooting on a formal, marked range. Range finder technology is becoming cheaper and more accessible as hunters discover its value. A range finder is indispensable if you are practicing on an informal or non-regulated range.
Wind/Weather Gauge. The air that a bullet flies through has an incredible influence on its performance. Most of this will be covered in the external ballistics discussion. For now, keep in mind that weather gauges are another example of getting what you pay for. However, what is best for one shooter is not always what is best for another. The shooting community has embraced Kestrel handheld wind gauges which feature preloaded ballistics software. Many shooters prefer a simpler but just as informative interface such as found on the WeatherHawk line of handheld wind gauges. The most common parameters you need to measure using your Wind/Weather Gauge are temperature, wind speed & direction, humidity and altitude.
One interesting habit of long-range precision riflemen is their use D.O.P.E., “Data on Previous Engagements”. In its simplest form, doping entails
1) “calling” the shot, or predicting where on the target a practice or sighting round will impact,
2) evaluating where the sighting round actually hits, and
3) applying corrections to the rifle sighting system before firing for effect.
This will work on the range, but in the field or a tactical situation, the shooter will not have an opportunity to safely take a practice shot for doping. That trophy bull standing on the ridgeline is not going to let you take a shot in his direction, wait for you to adjust your sights, then let you take another shot! In the real world, the first shot is likely the only shot.
D.O.P.E. = Data on Previous Engagements.
With this in mind, precision riflemen usually carry a D.O.P.E. This shot data book is used to record as many environmental, equipment and physical factors of each shot (or “engagement”) as possible. By studying the collected data, they will eventually be able to apply proper dope for each shot without the need for a practice or sighting round.
Being able to put that first round on target entails the ability to observe those factors and understand the ballistic variables which affect the shot.
Before Moving On To Expert Long Range Markmanship
At this point in our discussion, the weekend rifleman should have a good idea whether or not the discipline of precision long-range marksmanship is worth exploring. If it is, they will also know what they need to begin their “study”.
Briefly, these will include:
A reasonably accurate rifle. Although a purpose-built long-range rifle is nice, almost any modern bolt-action rifle can be pressed into service as a precision firearm.
Ammunition. The advantage here goes to the experienced hand loader with the time and resources to find which works best in an individual rifle. Note here that branded factory ammunition will work for most shooters. Save the expense of “match-grade” ammo for actual match shooting.
A Place to Shoot. A formal rifle range may have some helpful coaching available. But, if a “place in the woods” is more convenient and is a safe place to shoot, you are likely to get in more practice.
Shooting Aids. These are in addition to a bench or pad for prone shooting, and a steady rest for the rifle. They include instruments needed to evaluate the shot and the environmental conditions.
Spotting Scope. To allow the target to be accurately observed from the firing line and evaluate shot placement and conditions
Spotter. Hopefully someone who is experienced with precision shooting to help establish DOPE for each shot
Range Finder. Determines precisely how far the bullet must travel between the shooter and the target
Wind Gauge/Weather Meter. To evaluate the wind conditions at the firing line. As we will discuss in an upcoming section, wind and air resistance have the greatest influence on whether the shot hits the point of aim after basic marksmanship principles.
With these basics in hand, you are ready to begin practicing long-range marksmanship. As long as you have the proper tools, an understanding of the science behind them is not strictly necessary. However, if you do take the time to learn and understand the science, you will better understandof the tools and be able to use them more efficiently.
The Hard Science of Ballistics
Great shooters understand that long-range precision marksmanship is a combination of art and science. Up to this point, we have mostly been discussing the artistic part of the shot. Every great artist begins by understanding his tools and how to use them.
These tools include the rifle, the ammunition, a place to shoot, and shooting aids including environmental sensors like wind and weather gauges. Like any other artist, the long-range rifleman needs to practice to become proficient with his tools. A chef needs to sharpen his knives and cook, a musician needs to tune his instrument and play, the rifleman needs to get on the range and use his equipment to put rounds on target.
Taking some time to understand the ballistics basics will definitely improve your shooting skills.
Science is observing and understanding the factors which contribute or detract from success. The chef learns that the best ingredients are spoiled if the pan is too hot or too cold. The musician knows how to strum the strings of his instrument, but if his fingering is not correct the notes may be sour. A shooter needs to understand the science of what happens between the time he pulls the trigger and the round impacts the target. The science of shooting is called ballistics.
Ballistics is a science of mechanics which deals with the launching, flight, behavior and effects of projectiles through space. These mechanics are based on measurable and predictable Newtonian physics. They will apply whether the projectile is a bullet, a bomb dropped from an aircraft, a stone launched by a kid’s slingshot, an intercontinental ballistic missile or a baseball thrown by a major league pitcher. The mechanics and the physical laws are the same for all of them.
Scientists further break ballistics into three or four distinct categories.
Internal ballistics deal with everything to do with launching the projectile. Another definition is everything that happens inside the gun itself.
Transitional and external ballistics are often discussed together and include everything which occurs from the time the projectile leaves the gun until it impacts the target.
Terminal ballistics study what happens at the end of the bullet’s flight and how the projectile’s energy is transferred to the target. It may seem somewhat academic to the target shooter on the range whose goal is to simply hit the target precisely. However, it is of terrific importance to the tactical shooter or hunter as what the bullet does to what it hits is the whole reason for the shot.
Some observers consider internal ballistics as everything that happens from the time the trigger is pulled until the bullet leaves the muzzle. Actually, it begins with the primary design of the firearm.
Every firearm which uses cartridge ammunition goes through an eight-step cycle of operation. They are:
1) Feeding – stripping a round from a magazine or manually placing it before the breech or bolt face,
2) Chambering – pushing the round into the firing chamber,
3) Locking – the firing chamber is locked closed and the mechanism of the firearm is aligned to fire the round,
4) Firing – the trigger is pulled and the firing pin impacts the primer, causing the propellant (gunpowder) to ignite, the expanding gasses of the burning propellant push the bullet through the bore where it engages the rifling, imparting spin to the projectile,
5) Unlocking – occurs with the backward motion of the bolt or slide in an automatic or semi-auto weapon, manually in a bolt, pump or lever action,
6) Extraction – the spent cartridge is pulled from the firing chamber,
7) Ejection – the spent cartridge is thrown out of the firearm, and
8) Cocking – the firing mechanism is readied to fire the next round.
These eight steps are most readily observed in the cycling of automatic and semi-auto firearms. They can be applied to muzzle loaders as well as launching arrows from a bow, perhaps even a pitcher throwing a baseball. The steps are most simple and controllable in bolt action rifles, and why they are the preferred tool for long-range marksmanship.
Although there are differences between rifle models, the basic steps can be seen in the video below of a bolt action mechanism. They do not apply to the discussion of precision rifle shooting, observing the cycles of a Glock pistol, a Colt 1911 pistol and the M16 semi-automatic rifle can aid in understanding internal ballistics.
The cycle of firing a rifle is only the beginning of internal ballistics influence on accurately placing the round on target. Construction of the piece will govern how precisely it shoots.
A mass produced surplus infantry weapon or sporting gun is generally thought to be less precise than a tightly fitted custom made firearm. This is due to the slacker tolerances necessary for mass production versus the tighter control of one-off construction.
Modern manufacturing techniques allow tightened production tolerances, and why modern hunting rifles make acceptable tools for precision shooting and long-range marksmanship.
Barrel length is another important internal ballistics factor. A longer barrel is thought to be inherently more precise and accurate than a shorter barrel. As the bullet travels down a long barrel, the expanding gases of the propellant have more time to build pressure and transfer more energy and velocity to the projectile.
Understand Precision vs. AccuracyFor Long Range Marksmanship
Ammunition selection is considered as part of internal ballistics. The powder charge must be sufficient to propel the projectile to its target. However, an excessive charge can damage the firearm and even injure the shooter.
Every rifle, even those from the same production run, will have an optimum combination of powder charge and projectile. This gives it the greatest accuracy and is an advantage of hand loading over factory ammunition. However, higher grade factory ammo may be even more precise than hand loads and this consistency can have a greater effect on overall accuracy.
This is a good place to discuss the difference between precision and accuracy. The long-range marksman needs both, of course. Precision is related to how small a group you can shoot with your rifle and ammo. Generally, precision is thought to be the mechanical qualities of the rifle and ammunition combo.
A precise rifle will place the shots in a tight grouping every time. Accuracy is a function of the shooter himself, and depends on his ability to achieve a proper sight picture, maintain breath control while pressing the trigger, and understanding and compensating for the influences of external ballistics as the projectile flies toward the target.
Most people assume that when a rifle is fired, the bullet travels in a straight line to the target. In fact, due to the effects of gravity, the projectile needs to follow an arced path toward its target, flying slightly upwards first until gravity forces it to begin falling towards the earth, impacting the target on its downward path.
An advanced shooter, especially when engaged in long range manksmanship, realizes that there are many other factors which affect external ballistics. These include: air resistance, humidity, wind speed, even the rotation of the earth (the coriolis effect). Since a bullet flying 300 yards or further spends more time in flight than a pistol round at a range of 15 feet or so, external ballistics are of great importance to the long range shooter.
External Ballistics Begins in Transition
The physics of every shot fired is essentially the same, no matter the weapon or the range. One thing not very obvious to the shooter is that the spinning projectile which we expect to fly true all the way to the target actually wobbles a great deal during the first part of the ballistic arc.
We can see the same effect in slow motion replays of a long distance football pass. The quarterback’s fingers impart spin to the ball, just like the rifling in the barrel, but the ball will wobble in flight. What is important is that the further the ball flies, the steadier it becomes.
This wobbling is less noticeable in pistol rounds, since the projectiles are usually shorter in comparison to their length. This means they stabilize much faster. A rifle bullet may fly as far as 50 feet before it stabilizes on its axis of rotation.
Wobbling can be minimized by matching the load to the rifle, but never completely eliminated. This is why increasing the powder charge to a round may increase its velocity but can destroy its accuracy.
If you’re only interested in knowledge regarding the specific subject of Long Range Shooting, then you can check the “Long Range Shooting Handbook” by Ryan M. Cleckner. This #1 Best Seller on Amazon will guide you through all aspects of long range shooting; from calibrating your rifle to using your wind speed instruments and calculators.
Flies Through The Air with the Greatest of Ease
We can use the quote “What Goes Up Must Come Down” and claim to understand bullet trajectory. But, we know there is a lot more going on that influences a projectile’s flight than gravity.
Granted, gravity is a pretty big deal any time a shot is fired. The moment the projectile leaves the muzzle, gravity begins pulling it toward the center of the earth. Most shooters understand that the bore of the rifle is aligned so that the bullet will fly slightly above the line of sight. In this way, the bullet will arc back down to impact at the point of aim. What is harder to see is that the downhill side of the arc is slightly steeper than its climb.
Not only is gravity pulling the bullet down, air resistance is slowing it down so that it has time to fall further. This means that the high point of the bullet’s arc is not at the midpoint of its flight, but closer to the target. It seems like a small point, but it is one that is magnified over distance and important to long range marksmanship.
When we begin considering how air resistance affects a shot, we also see the influence of weather. Air resistance is greater when the shot is fired at a lower altitude. Barometric pressure, or the amount of air that is stacked on top of you, is greater at sea-level than it is in the mountains.
Air resistance will decrease as the temperature rises, as humidity rises, or as the barometer falls. These conditions combine to generate a figure called “density altitude”. An illustration of density altitude is the fact that a shooter on a sunny 90 degree day in Dallas will face about the same air resistance as a shooter in Denver on a cool 20 degree day.
As stated by NOAA, density altitude is “the pressure altitude adjusted for non-standard temperature.” Simply put, increasing temperature at a given atmospheric pressure will cause the air density at that pressure to appear as though it resides at a higher physical altitude.
Density altitude increases as barometric pressure decreases which reduces air resistance. Indeed, a falling barometer may also indicate approaching storms meaning increased wind, which will have its own effect on long range marksmanship. It is commonly understood that a five mile per hour cross wind (blowing directly perpendicular to the shot) can deflect the path of a .308 round as much as 3 inches over 300 yards. In fact, wind is probably the most common excuse for missed long range shots.
Judging the effects of wind for a long range shot is fraught with variables. The first is determining just how much wind there is.
An old standard of wind speed is the Beaufort Scale. It provides a series of observations (how much leaves move, whether the sea is calm or rippled) to help estimate wind speed. This can be notoriously inaccurate unless the shooter has a good deal of practice with the observations and an accurate scale to go by.
The simplest, most accurate scale would be the anemometer of a weather station, but few firing ranges have one installed. A handheld wind gauge is an important piece of a long range shooter’s kit. It may not be available to use in a tactical or hunting situation, but on the practice range it will contribute to eventual success in the field.
A common complaint about hand held wind gauges is that they will only give you wind data at the firing line, and not at the target or in the space between. This is true and there is no way to accurately judge the wind velocity at the target. However, if you have accurate data at the firing line, you will be better able to make an estimation of wind velocity down-range.
Some ranges have flags to indicate wind speed and direction between the shooter and the target. At other times the shooter will simply have to base his estimate on how the vegetation is reacting to the wind at the target. Indeed, in both cases accurate data at the firing line is the best data to have.
Check these quick tips to approximate the wind speed at the point of target:
Use a portable anemometer to measure the crosswind speed while you analyze your target. Now you have the wind speed at your current standing position.
With your high magnification rifle scope analyze the heat waves or “mirage” caused by the atmospheric distortions. With a crosswind wind speed of zero the “mirage” is perpendicular to the ground. If the mirage waves tip at 45 degrees from left to right this indicates a wind direction from left to right at approximately 5mph. Horizontal waves indicate wind speed is at least 10mph. Be aware that higher wind speeds will still indicate a horizontal “mirage”.
Keep in mind your wind meter value and the “mirage” patterns while analyzing the environment such as grass, leaves, tree sways, floating seeds or even spider webs.
This method combined with the right ammo choice should help you in approximating the wind speed and direction.
Improving Long Range Marksmanship Using Portable Wind Meters
Another reason for the importance of accurate data at the firing line is the wind will have its greatest influence on the flight of the projectile early in its flight. Remember our discussion of transitional ballistics? During the phase immediately after the bullet leaves the muzzle it is still wobbling in flight. It is at its most vulnerable to be blown off course. Then, gyroscopic stability sets in to help the bullet fly true.
What are the characteristics to look for in a shooter’s portable wind meter? The most obvious attribute is accuracy and consistency. As with everything in long-range precision shooting and marksmanship, small inaccuracies add up. Ensure that your data is correct before you begin to make corrections.
What do you need to read with your handheld wind meter before pulling the trigger? Crosswind, Wind Speed & Direction, Air Pressure, Density Altitude, Temperature and Relative Humidity.
The next thing to consider is ease of use and ruggedness. You need to be able to gather the data easily so as not to have to waste concentration on things that have nothing to do with making the shot. This is where ruggedness comes in. Ideally the portable wind meter can be turned on, provide the data needed, and then set aside with no further thought. A unit that can be closed to protect its impeller and then simply placed on the shooting bench or even the ground will be more useful than one which is so fragile that it needs to be carefully placed in its case after every reading.
While it is true that you get what you pay for, long range shooting is an expensive pastime if you are not being paid to do it. A top of the line portable wind meter may be a worthwhile investment for a tactical operator where lives are on the line. The extra expense is questionable if the purpose of the shot is simply to put holes in a paper target.
One of the reasons the price of the wind meter goes up is its list of features. The casual shooter probably only needs a simple gauge which will show little more than wind velocity.
As the portable anemometers move up in sophistication, they will add extra features. A compass, temperature and humidity gauges, used for wind-chill and heat-index readings and a barometer for weather prediction. However, as we discussed above, temperature, humidity and barometric pressure can be combined to calculate density altitude. Some of the latest wind meters are provided with special software for ballistics. Check our latest review for the best shooting wind meters.
There are portable wind meters which are designed specifically for shooters such as the Kestrel Elite with applied Ballistics. Often, these units will carry ballistics software that will calculate the dope the shooter needs to apply for a particular shot. Again, these are features which may have value when lives are on the line, but there comes a point when extra features interfere with simply reading and applying the data and taking the shot.
Admittedly, by itself ballistics is pretty dry science. For the average person, the only thing that makes ballistics exciting is actually pulling the trigger and seeing the mechanics of it in action. Then the dry science becomes very exciting!
The “spray and pray” type of shooting we see from Hollywood can be a lot of fun, but is expensive and not at all productive. Instead of burning your way through several boxes of expensive ammo, you may only shoot a few rounds during a precision shooting session. However, every one of those shots will teach you something and is vital for long range marksmanship.
Put your kit together and get on the range this weekend.
Getting behind the rifle, calculating conditions, applying the D.O.P.E. and finally taking the shot is a rather long process. It may be one that you may not have the luxury of in a “real world” shot. However, there will be a surprising number of crossovers between a precision shot and one in the field or during a tactical engagement.
The Rest. Precision long range marksmanship will require a shot from a rock-solid prone position, or occasionally from a solid bench, the rifle supported at its fore end by a bipod or sandbags. This factor alone accounts for an increase in accuracy in comparison to a weekend shooter firing from a standing, off-hand position. After you get used to firing from a rest and/or a prone position, you are more likely to take the time to find one in a hunting situation.
The D.O.P.E. A precision shooter usually zeroes his sights to conform to the D.O.P.E. he observes before the shot. A sportsman may “get away” with using the 100 yard “zero” he found while doing his preseason sight-in. This is because with most modern hunting rigs, whether the range is 20 yards, 50, or 150, the actual point of impact will be within a couple inches of the 100 yard zero. Acceptable accuracy at hunting ranges when the vital organ target area (“kill zone”) of a big game animal is around 10 inches. However, just like precision shooting, ‘little things’ which can spoil the shot add up. The discipline of long range marksmanship should carry over to keep the sportsman from taking an unethical shot as well as increasing the ethical range of a shot.
The Conditions. A long range marksman develops an intimate sense of range and environmental conditions, as well as an awareness of how these conditions will affect his shot. Although they verify them with instruments, range finder and wind gauge, using the instruments teaches them to make these observations and corrections in manually. They will not only have a feel for how to compensate for a gusting 7 knot crosswind, but also develop an awareness of the wind to the point that they make the corrections instinctively. A wind gauge may not be important in the field, but using it on the range will make your “real life” shots more accurate.
The Shot. A “spray and pray” shooter in a tactical situation or the once a year hunter with “buck fever” will waste ammunition and ultimately put lives in danger. Sometimes even those he is trying to protect. In the rush to get a round (or several rounds) down range, accuracy suffers to the point where actually hitting and killing the target is more luck than skill. Even when the situation does not allow for all the time normally taken for a shot, they will still be methodical enough to be accurate. One shot, delivered accurately on target, is infinitely more effective than two, three or even a dozen shots that miss.
“One Shot, One Kill.” It is a high standard to strive for, but with dedicated, discipline, and best of all fun practice, it is a very attainable standard.