The Weather Vane: Installing and using this efficient roof tool

The weather vane has been in use for thousands of years, but this device still serves a decorative and functional purpose on the roof of any home. Here is a look back at the history of the wind vane along with tips for installation and interpretation of it once it’s on your roof.

Weather (wind) vane uses

Because these devices read the direction of the wind, they are usually called wind vanes. The prevalence of both terms make sense since the wind brings the weather with it. Any device that has equal weight on both sides yet unequal mass works as a wind vane. Most devices point toward the direction the wind is coming from, which is easily done when two sides of unequal mass are hit by the wind. The smaller side naturally shifts to indicate the source of the wind.

Homeowners that hear of a storm passing north of Cobb County might use a vane to check whether the direction of the wind has indeed changed prior to a storm’s arrival (if following along online is less appealing). In addition to pointing into the wind, icons representing north, east, south, and west show the exact direction. Farmers and seafarers used these tools to judge what to expect for sailing or managing crops. Thomas Jefferson had the directional pointer inside a tower at Monticello so he could tell which direction the wind was blowing while indoors.

Installing a weather vane on your home

Like any other type of work done on the roof of your home, it is crucial that you observe every precaution to avoid falls when about to install a wind vane. Curling or blistering shingles can create an unevenness on a roof that can cause you to lose your footing. Rain or excess moisture in the air are other reasons a roof becomes dangerous for walking, especially on a sloping roof. Tread carefully or ask a professional roofer to handle the job during a maintenance visit, as drilling into the highest point of your roof is usually involved in installing a wind vane.

In terms of styles, a wind vane can range from extravagant to the most basic. You can even make one if you have a compass and a few basic household items. To properly adorn a home in Atlanta’s suburbs, wind vanes representing historical scenes, mythical figures or country animals will work the best. Along with decorative painting, new windows and fresh siding, a weather vane is a nice touch for enhancing the curb appeal of your home.

Image source: Flickr

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