A Simple Way to Keep Up with Temperature Calibration Standards for Thermometers

If your company deals in pharmaceutical or food/beverage manufacturing, then you are most likely aware that there are stringent standards to keep up with in regards to the temperature measuring instrumentation in your facility.

Traditional methods of calibrating temperature instruments to meet standards can be cumbersome and time consuming. These standards include requirements from organizations like NSF, USDA, 3A, NIST, and now FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act), which is a FDA reform and now mandatory to follow.

Ice Bath: An age old way of testing your thermometer’s accuracy is by placing the stem in an “ice bath.” Most people do this by filling a glass to the top with ice and slowly adding cold water, ensuring the water stays about 1 centimeter away from the top of the ice. Once the ice has been stirred and set for a couple of minutes, you place the stem of the thermometer in the center of the glass.

The preciseness behind preparing a properly made ice bath is critical to ensure your thermometer is being calibrated accurately. If your method fails to keep the bath at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, your bath can be off by several degrees deeming your calibration insufficient all together. Some other risks involved in the ice bath method are maintaining accurate ice to water ratio, ensuring your water has been rid of any dissolved minerals that could affect your freezing point, and holding your thermometer at a correct angle for accurate calibration.

Boiling Water: Another traditional method for testing your thermometer’s accuracy is by using boiling water. Once the water is at a rolling boil, the stem of the thermometer is placed into the water for one minute. While the thermometer is still immersed in water, the dial needs to be adjusted to the temperature listed in that manufacturer’s instructions.

As I’m sure you can guess, this method is a somewhat dangerous way of calibrating your thermometer as the potential for burn injuries are present. There are also many important steps you have to take to ensure your water is at a proper boiling point for your area. If you are not using distilled water or boiling at the appropriate temperature for your location, the atmospheric pressure in your area may skew your reading by as much as 5 degrees.

New & Reliable Method

If you are past using traditional methods and are looking for an easy-to-use tool for calibration, Tel-Tru Manufacturing makes a series of “Check-Set Calibrators” that are compliant with regulatory requirements and meet manufacturers’ recommendations.

Check-Set:  A Check-Set is a highly accurate, portable, NIST certified calibrator that will test a thermometer’s accuracy by +/- 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit. It comes in three separate series (I, II, IV) designed for your desired set point(s) needed for calibration. The labor behind using one is quite simple, too.   Depending on the temperature you’re trying to reach, the calibrator will need anywhere from 5-20 minutes to prepare for calibration. Users often keep the Check-Set units on all day though so they are ready for use on demand. Once the Check-Set is ready, you simply insert your thermometer stem into the calibrator and let it do the work.

What’s nice about the Check-Set Calibrators is they are not prone to error like traditional methods are. You do not need to worry if your water is at the right temperature for calibration or if you are at the right altitude for measuring. In addition, the result you will get from the Check-Set is far more accurate (+/- 0.2% degrees Fahrenheit) than any traditional method out there.

Features of a Check-Set Calibrator

  • Simple to use
  • Three separate series designed for your desired set points needed for calibration (I, II, IV)
  • Certificate of Calibration traceable to NIST
  • Built-in warning circuitry to alert user when unit exceeds set-point by 1 degree Fahrenheit
  • +/- 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit accuracy
  • Fit for plant quality assurance, process control, food safety, instrument calibration and service, and HACCP compliance

To learn more about Check-Set Calibrators, take a look at the spec sheet on our products page. Kodiak also offers all three series available for purchase on our website. If you have any further questions, please contact us and one of our technical specialists will be happy to assist.