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Spring Cleaning: Weather Station Maintenance

Man standing on ladder in front of his home
Posted in: Measuring Weather
By AcuRite Team
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Spring Cleaning: Weather Station Maintenance

This article was originally published in 2018. We updated it March of 2020 to include cleaning tips for new products.

I welcome the first day of spring with my spring cleaning tasks around the house, which includes my backyard weather station maintenance! Especially after winter storms with strong winds and heavy rainfall, I like to go take a peek at the status of my weather station. I check to see if the anemometer made it through the winter unharmed with no cracks and can spin freely, and I also make sure the rain bucket is clear of leaves, bugs and spiders, and even bird poo!

AcuRite 5-in-1 Weather Station mounted in a yard during rain

Rain Bucket

AcuRite rain gauge

Is your rain gauge reporting 0 inches of rain when it has been raining all day? If so, your rain gauge may be clogged! It is recommended to rinse it out a few times with warm, soapy water to remove all the gunk inside.

To eliminate any erroneous rainfall measurements to your My AcuRite dashboard, just simply remove the batteries from the weather station before cleaning out the system (or the rain gauge if you have the stand alone unit). Without the batteries, the unit will not transmit any data to the Access so erroneous rainfall data will not transfer to your My AcuRite dashboard or graphs.

Anemometer

Make sure your wind speed and direction measurements are accurate by ensuring your cup anemometer and wind vane are able to spin freely. Dirt or dust can get in and disrupt the bearings, and you can fix this by cleaning the sensor with warm water. Actually, ice can freeze the anemometer from spinning freely, so also make sure to check the station after winter storms!

If any parts are cracked or broken, or not spinning freely, you can order new wind cups or wind vane for your 5-in-1 directly from AcuRite for very reasonable prices! If there was major damage this winter, then you may want to order a new wind cup assembly or upgrade to the Pro version.

The anemometer on the Atlas requires different parts than the 5-in-1. Check all available Atlas replacement parts if any parts are broken, or if you just want to add a new feature like lightning sensor or wind extension!

Solar panel for AcuRite 5-in-1 Weather Station

Solar Panel

Your solar panels must be cleaned regularly to maintain highest functionality possible. When the photovoltaics are dirty or dusty, the station is not receiving maximum power available. Warm water and soap will do the trick. Also, for highest efficiency the solar panel should face due south in the northern hemisphere (north in the southern hemisphere).

Our Advice? Clean the entire unit, whether you have a 5-in-1 or an Atlas!


Simply clean off the entire unit using a rag and warm soapy water. This will clear bugs, spiders, and spider webs away from any inlet areas in the solar radiation shield for more realistic temperature and humidity measurements. It is recommended to clean your weather station at least twice a year, so you'll likely hear from me again in the fall reminding you to go clean your weather station!

With the additional sensors on the Atlas, you can start to track the longer days. Watch the light intensity and hours of daylight increase as we approach summer, and watch the UV Index so you can stay ahead of potential sunburns!

Atlas cutaway graphic

5-in-1 cutaway graphic

Bonus Tip! Optional Solar Radiation Shield

When outside temperature and humidity sensors are placed in direct sunlight, they perform best with a radiation shield. By shading the sensor from the sun, it reports more accurate temperature and humidity readings by measuring the free-flow of ambient air. The same goes for our lightning sensor, which also measures temperature and humidity. Inspect and clean the radiation shield regularly; it’s a great place for bugs, spiders, and cobwebs to hide. Or maybe it’s time for a new one! At such a low-cost, it’s easy to replace it every couple of years.

Solar radiation shield cutaway graphic

Good luck and happy spring!

March 16, 2020
Comments
Gary Oaks
April 13, 2018 at 3:14 PM
Now we just need spring to arrive
Ross
April 13, 2018 at 3:58 PM
Amen to that!!
Ross
April 13, 2018 at 4:02 PM
Question, with the spring cleaning is it suggested to open up the 5 in 1 and clean it out as well to make sure no bugs got inside?
Kari Strenfel
April 13, 2018 at 4:21 PM
Yes, that's a good point. If you feel comfortable opening up the unit from the bottom with a long screwdriver to reach those deep screws, then go ahead and open it up to clean out any bugs, leaves, etc. Just be sure to not adjust the rain calibration screws which are also on the bottom of the unit.
Gary Oaks
April 13, 2018 at 7:35 PM
Another thing to do when it is open is to add a couple of moth balls held in place with some duct tape to keep the spiders out. It does work!
Randy Walls
April 13, 2018 at 7:35 PM
I had really bad problems with spiders inside mine and did the moth ball trick which works for maybe a month. I came up with the bright idea to use a small piece of the dogs flee collar, walla at least a yrs protection+. I use a piece about 2-3" long. It doesn't have to be taped in or anything, it will stay in place.
Ross
April 13, 2018 at 10:08 PM
Thank you for the tip also!
Tom
April 13, 2018 at 5:03 PM
Thanks for the tips
Chris McIntosh
May 23, 2018 at 10:50 AM
Good tips and writeup!
Matthew Greydanus
September 1, 2018 at 3:07 PM
Had a few sprinkles the other day and wondered why the rain gauge didn't register anything. I opened up the unit and found two wasp nests inside with wasps! What a surprise.
Maarten
February 2, 2019 at 7:49 PM
Found a wasps nest too inside when checking the non-functioning rain gauge, not the only one it seems.
AcuRite Team
February 8, 2019 at 1:54 PM
You can avoid things like insect infestations by taping a moth ball to the inside of your outdoor device.
Andy
September 26, 2018 at 10:51 AM
I live in the northeast so I am concerned about freezing temps.Will the mechanics function properly after freezing?
Kari Strenfel
September 26, 2018 at 11:49 AM
Yep, the 5-in-1 weather station functions from -40 to 158 degrees Fahrenheit; -40 to 70 degrees Celsius. Specs are defined here: https://www.acurite.com/pro-5-in-1-weather-station-with-high-definition-display-and-my-acurite-remote-monitoring.html
Xrandog
June 16, 2019 at 1:35 PM
Rain gauge was not working. Changed the battery first....nope. Took it apart like directions said. Spider with web and eggs were keeping the float from moving. Cleaned it out, put it together, works!
AcuRite
June 17, 2019 at 3:39 PM
We are happy to hear that you were able to get your rain gauge working again!
Katie
June 24, 2019 at 6:04 PM
My anemometer doesn’t accurately record major wind gusts. I know we’ve had gusts up to 70mph but my record gust is 22. I’m going to try cleaning it out like suggested above. Any other ideas?
Jeff
June 24, 2019 at 6:04 PM
I'm a firm believer that of all the elements the 5 in 1 or Atlas measures, the wind speed and direction has to be the most challenging when comparing data with official NWS (such as the nearest airport). Wind speed readings from official NWS has their equipment in wide open spaces and usually at their standard 33ft elevation from ground level. If you have a 5 in 1 or Atlas in your backyard and live in a sub-division, you are likely to have obstructions such as trees, housing, etc. to block/reflect the wind causing wind speed to be lower and wind direction to be more variable than compared to the NWS.
AcuRite Team
June 26, 2019 at 10:29 AM
Make sure that your wind cups are spinning freely and that your sensor is in a location without any obstructions near by. Please reach out to our support team if you need further assistance.
Jon Martin
July 2, 2019 at 11:08 PM
Watched a bird land on the rain gauge funnel. Every time the windvane swung and hit him he would jump and re-land. Obviously used to it. Checked the rain funnel and results are in the picture. No wonder light rain would not register! Now trying to figure out a good way to block birds from landing on the funnel. sigh.
Mike B.
October 12, 2019 at 8:17 PM
Rain gauge was not working. Cleaned it of wasp best and spider webs, buckets work but still not registering any rain fall. What else can I do? Thanks in advance.
AcuRite Team
October 14, 2019 at 4:02 PM
You may need to perform a hard reset with the display unit in order to get the rainfall feature to function again. Please follow the steps carefully as the order is crucial to the success of the reset. You would want to ensure the following first: 1. Verify that the A-B-C switch in the battery compartments of both the display and sensor are set to the same letter. You may choose A, B or C; but both units must match to sync up. 2. Relocate the display unit and/or the 5-in-1 sensor. Under optimal conditions, the units can be located up to 330 ft (100 m) of each other. 3. Units should be placed at least 3 feet (.9 m) away from electronics that may interfere with wireless communication (such as TVs, microwaves, computers, etc). 4. Use standard alkaline batteries. We do not recommend using heavy-duty, lithium, high energy, or rechargeable batteries. Hard Reset: 1. Bring both the sensor and display units together and power down by removing all batteries from each and/or removing the power cord. 2. Change the A-B-C switch on both units to a new, matching channel. 3. Reinstall the batteries in the outdoor sensor. 4. Reinstall batteries and/or power cord into the display unit. 5. Let the units sit within a couple of feet of each other for approximately 5 minutes or until you see a solid sensor signal. If this does not correct the issue, please reach out to our support team via live chat or email request.
Colin B
March 13, 2020 at 2:37 AM
We live in the southern hemisphere. Therefore the solar panels have to face north. As a result, the wind directions are incorrect. Is there any way to change the settings.
AcuRite Team
March 13, 2020 at 9:12 AM
Absolutely! Depending on the model of sensor that you have, there are procedures for reversing the wind vane so that it will read direction correctly in the Southern Hemisphere. If you have a 5-in-1 sensor: 1. Pull off the wind vane, located on the bottom of the sensor. This will require some force to "pop" it off. 2. Observe the hole in the wind vane (where it attaches to the metal shaft on the 5-in-1 sensor) and notice that it is not a perfectly round hole. Mark the location of the flat spot on the hole in the wind vane. 3. Drill out, or otherwise round out the flat spot in the hole so that it becomes a perfectly round hole in the wind vane. DO NOT enlarge the hole, simply round it out. 4. Line up the hole of the wind vane with the metal shaft on the 5-in-1 sensor, but use your marking on the flat spot (from step 2) to line up the wind vane facing the OPPOSITE way from how it was originally designed. Press the wind vane firmly and carefully on the metal shaft of the 5-in-1 sensor. The 5-in-1 sensor is now ready for use in the Southern Hemisphere. If you have the Atlas sensor: 1. In the battery compartment of the outdoor device, locate and press the calibration button. The red LED starts flashing rapidly. 2. Point the wind vane to north. You may need a compass to find the proper north orientation. 3. While holding the vane facing north, press the calibration button in the battery compartment again. The LED will stop flashing rapidly. Wind direction information will now use the new orientation. If you have further questions, please reach out to our support team via live chat or email request on the AcuRite Support website.
Jay Schmidt
March 23, 2020 at 8:27 PM
I read where it is recommended to also spray the weather station with a spray on wax to protect the plastic. Do you still recommend this?
AcuRite Team
March 24, 2020 at 8:31 AM
Yes, we do recommend using car wax or cooking spray on the exterior of the outdoor sensor, however, its purpose is to help snow to slip off and prevent it from building up on the sensor. This won't necessarily protect the sensor, in fact, it may even discolor it slightly.
Craig
April 18, 2020 at 10:57 AM
What lubricant do you recommend for the wind guage?
AcuRite Team
April 20, 2020 at 10:47 AM
To lubricate the anemometer, we recommend using WD-40, graphite powder, or a similar product.
Prashanth Randadath
June 19, 2020 at 10:01 AM
Hi, looks nice. How can grab a home weather station in India. Do you ship it to india? or do you have local distributors here? thank you
AcuRite Team
June 22, 2020 at 6:02 PM
We are only able to ship within the US and Canada at this time. You may be able to purchase our products from one of our authorized retailers in your area! Here is a list of our retailers: https://www.acurite.com/retailers
Frank
August 25, 2020 at 2:53 PM
I have wasps inside the unit that are preventing rainfall measurements. Can I spray wasp killer up underneath to kill wasps before cleaning it out? or will this damage sensors?
AcuRite Team
August 26, 2020 at 10:08 AM
When using insect spray in the sensor you will need to make sure that you do not spray any of the electronic components. If you are able, we recommend opening the sensor before spraying so that you can see these components and avoid damaging them.