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How to Choose and Install an Indoor-Outdoor Wireless Thermometer

I have been researching and writing about consumer products for over 13 years.

Once installed, indoor-outdoor thermometers allow you to keep tabs on temperature conveniently.

Once installed, indoor-outdoor thermometers allow you to keep tabs on temperature conveniently.

Indoor-outdoor wireless thermometers allow you to easily monitor conditions both inside your home and outside. The base station display will give you temperature information at a glance without having to install any wiring. In fact, many of these devices monitor humidity and barometric pressure as well.

This page will provide tips for mounting/installing the remote sensor and guide you in choosing the right wireless thermometer for your needs.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Indoor-Outdoor Wireless Thermometer

There are a number of features you should consider when choosing an indoor-outdoor wireless thermometer. Here are some of the most important.

Display

The display on the base that remains indoors should be large enough to read from a distance. A backlight can also help make it more readable. The base should display both indoor and outdoor temperatures.

Measuring Temperature

The base unit should come with wireless remote sensors to allow it to sense the temperature in a given location. Some of these devices will come with a single remote sensor while others may have three or more, allowing you to monitor a variety of locations.

Some of these devices use 915MHz transmission while others use 433.92MHz transmission. Either should work adequately, but the sensors and the base unit must operate off of the same frequency.

The various thermometers can measure temperatures within a specified range. They are all adequate for most locations, but for extremes, you'll want to check out the stated temperature range. In addition, some thermometers will display both Celsius and Fahrenheit readings, so if this is desired, be sure to look for this feature.

Distance

The wireless temperature sensors will operate as long as they are placed within range of the base station. Be sure you know where you want to monitor the temperature so you can be sure the particular thermometer you're considering will be able to provide the needed range. The range stated by manufacturers is generally based on open-air (i.e., no obstructions). If there are walls or other structures in between the sensor and the display unit, this will cut the range by at least one third. Metal, in particular, will block the signal.

Tabletop or Wall Mounted

Either one can be a good choice, but a tabletop base station is more easily relocated.

Other Features

Some indoor-outdoor wireless thermometers also read humidity and barometric pressure. Using this, they may also provide a weather forecast. Some will even provide an alert for extreme conditions like ice or extreme temperatures. Many may also provide a clock or even an alarm clock with a snooze function. Some of these are radio-controlled "atomic" clocks that help assure the accuracy of its time function. Some devices also have memory for the highest and lowest temperatures. This can, for instance, allow you to check back and determine how low the temperature got overnight while you were sleeping.

Be sure to choose a model whose display is large enough to be read from a distance.

Be sure to choose a model whose display is large enough to be read from a distance.

Tips for Mounting Your Wireless Sensors

Mounting the sensors properly is critical to assure your indoor-outdoor wireless thermometer functions accurately. Here are some things to consider.

  • Most of these sensors will operate in cold, heat, and damp/foggy conditions. However, it is best to mount them where they aren't directly exposed to rain.
  • When determining where to locate your sensor, it's wise to place it within the operating range of the base station. The manufacturer will list this distance, but having walls or other objects obstructing the signal between the base station and the remote sensor can cut this distance by one third or more. You need to keep this in mind. The fewer obstructions, the better. Metal buildings and any devices/equipment that use the same frequencies should be avoided completely.
  • The remote sensor should also be placed so that it has plenty of distance from any heat sources, such as a dryer vent, fireplace, air conditioner, and so forth. The sensor also should be mounted out of direct sunlight, which could increase the temperature it senses significantly, resulting in an inaccurate reading.
  • The sensor can also absorb heat and cold from any structure on which it is mounted. Thus, leaving some space between the structure and the sensor is best.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 Christine Mulberry

Comments

Yard of nature from Michigan on January 25, 2010:

Once you have one, you're hooked.