How to Monitor Room Temperature and Humidity using Data Loggers

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Data loggers are devices used to record measurements, such as temperature and humidity, at set points over time. For instance, a data logger may be programmed to read temperature every 30 seconds. This data is captured and downloaded to a computer where trends may be observed using the readings. There are many reasons for wanting to monitor temperature and humidity throughout a home or place of business. The thermostat(s) could be wrong; there could be temperature gradients throughout the building; there could be no idea what the relative humidity is. This article describes how to use data loggers to monitor temperature and humidity so that proper adjustments may be made.

Things You'll Need

  • A data logger capable of measuring temperature and humidity, if desired.
  • Hardware and software for associated data logger.
  • A computer to download and analyze the data captured by the logger.
  • Research and purchase a data logger and associated hardware and software if you don't already have one. There are many companies specializing in the production of these devices for industry, or you can purchase one from someplace like Amazon.com. Most should range in price from $50 to $100 depending on size and functionality. All are fairly straightforward to use with your home computer.

  • Experiment with your data logger if you are unfamiliar with its use. Follow the instructions for your particular data logger and program it to read at short intervals and expose it to different temperatures like holding it your hand or placing it in a refrigerator (if the data logger is capable of withstanding such temperatures). Download the data according to the manufacturer directions and see how the data captured looks. Do the repeatedly until you are comfortable with the device.

  • Program and place the data logger in a room where you want to monitor temperature and humidity overnight, or the course of several days, etc. This could be right next to a thermostat, in the middle of your child's room, in the corner of your basement, and so on and so forth. Try not to put it right next to a vent or air intake as the temperature/humidity fluctuations will be the greatest there.

  • Analyze the captured data with your computer and make adjustments to decrease/increase the temperature and/or humidity of the room. Most data logger software will provide you with a plot of the readings like the image featured at the top of this article. That image is a recording of my child's room where I wanted to see what the temperature was overnight and what happened to the humidity when I turned on a cool mist humidifier. Based on these readings, I made adjustments on where the humidifier was placed and how much to open the vents in the room. I then took more readings until satisfied the room was as comfortable as possible.

  • Repeat steps 3 and 4 again until the room or area is within the desired specifications.

Tips & Warnings

  • Several data loggers can be used at once to monitor different positions in a room, if this is economically feasable. Just label each appropriately.
  • Humidity is tricky. Typically you want it higher in the winter to make the room more comfortable at lower temperatures thus saving you money on your heating bill. However, in the summer, higher humidity will make the room more uncomfortable and cost you more in cooling.
  • Duhumidifying is typically harder than humidifying but it can be done. Check with your local internet for information on dehumidifiers.

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