How to Use a Windsock

Written by nannette richford Google
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How to Use a Windsock
Windsocks are used to measure wind speed and direction but may be decorative as well. (Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

A windsock measures the speed and the direction of the wind. According to the Aeronautics Learning Laboratory for Science Technology and Research (Allstar), windsocks are used at airports to show the current wind conditions and allow pilots to take off and land more accurately. Factories that must measure emissions also use windsocks to determine wind direction and speed, as this effects the distance their emissions travel. Meteorologists use windsocks to measure wind speed and track weather patterns. Some homeowners display decorative windsocks in their yards or from the top of a building to determine the direction of the wind.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Follow the instructions included with your windsock to attach it to a pole, where it will catch the wind. Avoid areas with large trees or buildings that could function as a windbreak.

    How to Use a Windsock
    Windsocks work best when mounted above the house and away from treetops. (Jupiterimages/ Images)
  2. 2

    Use a compass to locate the four cardinal directions: North, South, East and West.

    How to Use a Windsock
    Determine the cardinal directions in your area. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)
  3. 3

    Observe the windsock and note the direction the tail of the windsock is pointing in. This is the direction the wind is blowing. The higher the windsock flies, the stronger the wind.

    How to Use a Windsock
    Windsocks are used at airports. (Tim Boyle/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

Tips and warnings

  • Decorated windsocks are both attractive and practical.
  • Wind direction refers to the direction the wind is coming from. If wind blows from east to west (causing your windsock to point west), it is referred to as an easterly wind.
  • Observe safety precautions when mounting the windsock on the pole.

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