Tips & Troubleshooting

Here's where you can learn all there is to know about the use and care of your rain gauge. If you have questions about shipping, returns or any other questions not answered here, head over to our FAQs page

General Use

First things first: do NOT remove the foam from the blue measurement tube. It's what makes the Original Floating Rain Gauge® float!

For best results, place your rain gauge at least 15' from buildings, trees or other obstructions. Try to keep it as straight as possible and protected from strong prevailing winds.

Accuracy Questions

If your gauge is showing results that are different from other local readings, please remember that rainfall totals can vary widely over a short distance, especially during intense, windy storms or intermittent showery weather. But there are other conditions that can impact results as well.

Location is important for accurate readings. Nearby trees or buildings can deflect rain, causing the number to be lower than it should. Alternately, splash back from walls or plantings can cause higher readings. CoCoRaHS (The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network) suggests placing gauges as far as the height of the nearest obstacle (15-30' from a typical house).

But even in the most ideal location, wind is a wild card. Wind creates localized disturbances that impact collection over both short and long distances. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) indicates that wind-induced under- and overcatch contributes the largest source of error associated with rainfall measurement, on the order of 2% to 10%. Whenever possible, try to place your gauge in a location away from strong prevailing winds and wind funnels created by tall buildings.

How can I test my gauge? Can I just pour in water from another gauge?

No, not unless the container is identical in size. Larger or smaller containers will have different volumes of water in them. The volume of water is proportional to the rate of rainfall multiplied by the area of the opening. To test your World's Coolest Rain Gauge®, remove the blue tube. Pour 2 tablespoons ( 1 fluid ounce) of water into the container and gently drop the blue tube back in. It should measure 1 inch.

My tube isn't rising!

If your tube isn't rising, check to see if the foam float has deteriorated. That can happen sometimes. You'll need to replace the foam

I've also had reports of mysterious bite marks and nibbles in the foam which can impact the float. Yikes! So far no one has been able to successfully identify the culprits but we're looking hard at you, raccoons. Other suspects are chipmunks and squirrels. Bitter Apple, a non-toxic deterrent often sold to stop puppies from chewing can be found in pet and hardware stores as well as online.

In general, the foam should be even with the bottom of the tube and secured in place. If the foam has detached, you can order a kit to replace the foam (see above) or if you're feeling DIY-ish and want to re-glue the foam you have, use a waterproof household glue or silicone caulk. We like to use clear but that's not mandatory.

Is there debris of any kind in the tube? Mold, dirt or sand can impede the smooth operation of the rain gauge. Use a soft bottle brush to clean the inside of the tube. Do not use WD-40 or other lubricants inside the rain gauge! 

Customers have also suggested that a quick buff with car wax can help the tube slide. Give it a try if you have some wax hidden away in a corner of your garage!

Check the hole in the center of the foam. It should be clear and round. If the hole has deformed or become clogged, use a pencil or the blade of a scissor to clear out the drainage hole.

Leaks

If the tube is moving freely within the outer collection flute and the foam is in good condition but you're still not getting a reading, you may have a leak. It can happen. Bring the gauge inside and fill it slowly in the sink. Set the gauge on a plate or in a cup to catch any water. Let it sit for a while -- leaks can be sneaky and take some time to reveal themselves. Check to see if any water has leaked out. Please contact us if your gauge is leaking.

Cleaning

Occasionally rinse out the measurement tube and copper or resin flute. You can clean the blue tube and the inside of the flute with warm, soapy water. Rinse thoroughly before putting it back outside.

Emptying

It's easy! Simply remove the copper container from its stand and pour. 

Can these stay out in winter? 

Our copper rain gauges are 100% winter safe, including the blue measurement tube. Our resin gauges should come inside if you live in an area where it's often below freezing for more than 24—48 hours at a time.

Are these gauges made in USA?

Great question. Our plastic rain gauges are 100% made in USA. Every part, every time. Our copper gauges are at least 80% made in USA. Our steel parts, polycarbonate tubing, foam and boxes are always sourced in the US. We purchase our copper parts domestically when we can but during periods of high demand we supplement our stock with parts handcrafted by the amazing copper artisans of India. India has been making high quality copperware for over 2,000 years so we're proud to work with these talented craftspeople.

I see the same gauges for under $15. What gives?

They're fakes. Copies. Counterfeits. Knock-offs. Whatever you want to call them, they're junk. They warp in the sun and crack in the cold. The foam absorbs water and detaches from the tube. The measurement scale is inaccurate. You can't get parts and they're not guaranteed. I'm not a fan, can you tell? 

How can I tell if mine is authentic?

If you've purchased directly from this website, a local garden center or nature store or a reputable online retailer like Uncommon Goods, you're in good shape. If you're shopping on Amazon, be sure you're purchasing from the World's Coolest Rain Gauge Co. If you've ordered from a big box store or a company that is shipping from outside the US, it's a fake. 

Please contact us if you have any questions about repairs, replacements or returns.