The Weather Station

Home office; clear 33.6 F, 0639

Weather has always fascinated me, actually it is the gathering of weather data which is of most interest. Since I moved in here 16 years ago, I have wanted to put up a little weather station. This week, I finally did it.

Ambient Weather WS-2000 sensor cluster

It is an Ambient Weather WS-2000 purchased from Amazon. The roof-top installation is not the best place for it. There is no place on my property to get a good wind measurement because the trees are very tall. I would have to build a 100 foot tower. The black asphalt shingles will affect the temperature measurements as well. However, I placed it on the western edge of the front porch and the prevailing wind direction is from the west. Thus, I would expect that under most circumstances, the temperature will be accurate, particularly in the winter, which is my primary concern.

The old farmer up the road has a great way to predict the weather based on the wind direction;

  • wind from the north is cold
  • wind from the south is warm
  • wind from the east is wet
  • wind from the west is dry
  • wind from the northeast is cold and wet
  • wind from the southeast is warm and wet
  • wind from the southwest is warm and dry
  • wind from the northwest will be cold and dry

I am primarily interested in the Heating Degree Days (HDD). I want a firm calculation on energy used per HDD so I can set a bench mark to improve upon.

When we first moved in, we used about 1200 kWh of electricity per month. This house has the standard compliment of electrical appliances; stove, refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher, washing machine, dryer, dehumidifier for the basement, electric water heater (back up for solar), 1 HP well pump and two 12,000 BTU window air conditioners.

Heating is with a baseboard hot water system. The oil fired boiler’s manufactured date is 1997. The efficiency is 84%. There are three heating zones with programmable thermostats. When we first moved in, we burned about 900 gallons of heating oil per season.

The electrical dropped dramatically after installing solar systems. The solar hot water system reduced the electric bill by 1/3 and that system has paid for itself many times over. The photovoltaic system further reduced that bill by another 2/3. Last year we used an average of 190 kWh per month, which is an 84% reduction. Both solar systems have paid for themselves and I would rate them a good long term investment. Payback on the solar hot water was about 3.5 years and the photovoltaic took about 9.5 years. I expect both systems to be usable for another 10 years.

Last heating season, we burned 400 gallons of heating oil for the season. That is a 66% reduction from when we first owned the house. I want to make more improvements including such things as installing a new boiler or a radiant floor heating system.

The weather station data can be viewed here: Catskill House Weather.