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:

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.

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. The only solution we can offer is a quick click over to Amazon for bitter apple, an effective and non-toxic deterrent.

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 and other funk 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. Pro tip: 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.

Other Questions:

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 source 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.

What's with all the numbers on the measurement scale? We recently changed our tube scale to include millimeters. On the right, you'll still see the good old US imperial scale but on the left of the scale, we've added millimeters for our friends in Canada and beyond.

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