My new toy

– Posted in: Weather, Wishlist
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For my birthday, my oldest son Teman got me a wireless min-max thermometer, but we discovered that it didn’t go down lower than 32°F unless you used the probe, which, of course, isn’t wireless. I remembered the one I had admired (at our car mechanic’s office) had the Weather Channel logo on it, so I went to the Weather Channel website, and, sure enough, they have a store. A little search revealed a min-max thermometer pretty similar to our mechanic’s, but a little more searching revealed this.

Not only does it record the minimum and maximum indoor and outdoor temps, as well as the current temps, it also shows the indoor humidity, the general barometric pressure trend, and an atomic clock and calendar. (What do I mean by an atomic clock? Check here.) And best of all, it appeared to be on a real good sale. When I went to LaCrosse Technology, the same model (WS7014U) cost $69.95, and Weather Channel was selling it for $35.99. That’s not quite 50% off. So, Teman got that for me and returned the other one.

Should you get one, too? First of all, the outdoor sensor only goes down to -21.8°F. I was willing to settle for a thermometer that didn’t go all the way to -30° or -40° because it’s actually been several years since it’s gone as low as even -20°, which is not to say it won’t happen again soon. Another consideration is the outdoor sensor can’t get wet, which may limit the places you can place it, especially since you don’t want it exposed to the sun. They recommend placing it on the north side of the house to get the most accurate temperature. Further complicating placement of the outdoor sensor is it can only be 80 feet in a straight line from the indoor receiver, and each outdoor window or wall counts as 20 to 30 feet of resistance, and each indoor wall or window counts as 10 to 20 feet of resistance. So you have to find a place out of the rain where it can also reach the indoor receiver. So, if those restrictions can be surmounted in your situation, this could be the thermometer for you. I placed mine on the east side of the house, where we have a covered patio. Right now it registers 5 degrees warmer than the dial thermometer on the south side of the house, but the dial thermometer reads too high when the sun is shining. I think the sensor will be more consistent, though it might not show the coldest temperature around the house. I’m real happy with my new gadget and I hope to start keeping daily temperature records in my garden book.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

In the end, this may be the most important thing about frost: Frost slows us down. In spring, it tempers our eagerness. In fall, it brings closure and rest. In our gotta-go world–where every nanosecond seems to count–slowness can be a great gift. So rather than see Jack Frost as an adversary, you could choose to greet him as a friend.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

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