One reason we moved at the end of last year from Wellington to our new house at the beach was the weather. We’d go home on Sunday from a glorious warm and sunny day, and on walking down the path into the gloom we’d feel the temperature drop, and finally step into a chilly house where we’d put the heat pump on to warm things up.
There were plenty of things contributing: the Wellington house was more than 50 years old, single glazed and with after-build insulation added to the roof and floor, but not the walls. The house was on the south side of a hill. The morning sun didn’t reach us till it had cleared eastern slopes a couple of hours after rising and set early behind western slopes.
Meanwhile the beach house is brand new, double glazed, insulated all over. The sun shines on the house from about 5 minutes after sunrise to maybe 10 or 15 minutes before sunset. We have a woodburner for when things cool down. The wood fire is so efficient and warm we often have to fling doors and windows open so we don’t boil.
While those things are specific to the houses, even the more general local weather is better at the beach.
As someone who loves gadgets I’d hankered for a weather station for a long time. I didn’t want to spend the $1600 or more for the Davis Vantage Pro and then in December last year I found what seemed to be perfect: an Oregon Scientific LW-301 weather station, for less than half the price. In brief, it was so far from perfect I returned it and got a refund. Here’s part of what I told the vendor:
Today, after another frustrating 30 minutes or so trying to get data via my iPhone while walking on the beach (and giving up) I’ve decided I’d like … a refund. I believe this product is not in fact fit for purpose because although the hardware works, the manufacturer’s service that’s required to access the data doesn’t work something like 90 to 95% of the time. Yesterday I contacted OS for support but have had no response.
…when eventually I got past the timeout message the data was empty anyway. This is utterly typical. Successfully seeing the data is rare.
This unit is just too disappointing and I’d like to return it and receive a refund.
I never did get a reply from the Oregon Scientific Helpdesk.
Then earlier this week Deb and I decided to buy a Netatmo Weather Station. Its sales page doesn’t make clear that it is a weather station and not just a CO2 monitor, but it handles all kinds of useful data.
[Kiwis: when I bought this PB Tech had the best price, and they delivered swiftly.]
I’ve had it a couple of days so far and have already ordered the wind gauge and downloaded a couple of free or low cost apps that put its readings in my Mac’s menu bar, on my iPhone and iPad, and on my Apple Watch. I’ve also installed a WordPress plugin that I’ve used to show a couple of readings on the Home Page of KnowIt (at the moment). I’ve been able to invite friends to see the readings too, via their own free accounts.
So far, I love this thing. It looks gorgeous. It was simple to set up. I can view readings on a web page or an iOS app. The service has responded instantly every time I’ve called for data. You can download data into a file. It has an open API so other services can hook in to it as well.
It gives charts, numbers and history. It has an indoor sound monitor (so I can see when I’m out if the dogs have been quiet or barking — I presume).
Thanks to the Netatmo forums I found a free app called Live Weather Station that puts the data on my Apple Watch.
There’s even a public map to see data from Netatmo weather stations all around the world.
It’s interesting to see how at this time of year (autumn) the outside temperature plummets once the sun goes down, yet inside the house there’s a very slow drop-off and things stay fairly warm. Yesterday, for example, the outdoor module read 19C when the sun set at about 5.45 pm, 15C at 6.45 and 10.4 at 8.45 pm. By 4.30 this morning it was 5.3C.
Meanwhile the indoor module showed 22.5C at 7.30 pm yesterday and a low of 16.3C at 4.30 am, with no heating on. Which all goes to show both how chilly it can get here overnight and how wonderfully effective good insulation and other heat preservation measures can be.
Now I just need to figure out where to attach the rain gauge to so it doesn’t blow away in one of the gales we routinely get in this part of the world. When the wind gauge arrives I’ll need to also install that. At the moment though we seem to be blessedly free of wind. The current lack of rain is a mixed blessing though, since our water supply comes from the roof.