How to Test a Thermometer with the Boiling Point of Water
With all the meals you plan to cook and steaks you want to grill, it’s important to learn how to calibrate a thermometer so you get the perfect meal every time. The best thermometers rarely need to be calibrated, but there may be times where you need to test and adjust your thermometer so it’s kitchen and backyard barbecue ready. Here’s how:
Just like watches can run slow or fast, food thermometers are subject to inaccuracies with age and use. Extreme temperature changes, damage , or general wear and tear can all affect the accuracy of a thermometer. If you’re using your thermometer frequently, you may want to check it monthly just to make sure it’s performing at its best. Luckily, you can test the accuracy of your thermometer and, in most cases, calibrate it to read accurately again.
2. How Do You Calibrate the Thermometer?
Many thermometers have a nut under their temperature dial that allows them to be adjusted, while most digital models have a reset button. You’ll want to check the package instructions of your device for exact instructions for calibrating your thermometer. There are two methods for testing the accuracy of your thermometer and calibrating accordingly: The Ice Bath Calibration Test and the Boiling Point Calibration Test. Click here to find out how you can calibrate your thermometer in an Ice Bath or keep reading to discover how to calibrate your thermometer at Boiling Point.
3. Boiling Point Calibration
If you have the choice between calibrating with an ice bath or boiling water, we suggest you choose an ice bath, that’s because boiling point calibration tests are tricker than ice bath tests. Water boils at 212°F at sea level, but only at sea level, this means that the boiling point varies depending on where you live. This is because atmospheric pressure at elevations above or below sea level alter the temperature at which water boils.For example, water typically boils at 202°F in Denver, CO.
Fortunately, finding the boiling point where you live is easy. First you need to find out your current barometric pressure and elevation where you are, then, simply use an online boiling point calculator to find out at what temperature water boils. Once you’ve got that information, you’re ready to begin your boiling point calibration test.
Fill a pot or saucepan at least four inches deep with clean water.
(Note: impurities or salt can significantly affect the boiling temperature of water.)
Place the pot on the stove and turn the burner on high. (Do NOT use the microwave.)
Wait until the water comes to a strong, rolling boil that does not stop with stirring.
As soon as the water reaches boiling, put the tip of the thermometer probe a few inches into the water until the water temperature stabilizes. Be sure to keep the probe in the center of the pot and away from the bottom or sides of the pot.
Check the temperature reading display and compare it to the boiling point in your area. If they are the same, then your thermometer is reading temperatures correctly. If you need to adjust the thermometer, follow the guidelines mentioned by the manufacturer’s instruction manual. However, before you adjust a digital, instant-read thermometer, check that the readings are within the manufacture’s accuracy specifications. (Look for the ±°F on the documentation that came with your thermometer.) If it’s within the specified tolerance, don’t adjust.
Can You Use a Meat Thermometer for Water?
Meat thermometers can be used to measure the temperature of anything that fits within it’s designed temperature range. From water to heated cooking oil. To find out what you can measure, it is important to look up the specifications and specifically the temperature range for your meat thermometer. The ChefsTemp Final Touch X10 has a temperature range of -22℉ to 572℉(-30℃ to 300℃) and can measure temperatures for any kind of food from boiling water to frying oil.
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