Making the most out of your pH Meter means maintaining the meter properly and obtaining accurate readings with it. Color-change pH testing methods became obsolete due to downsides and limitations in terms of efficiency and accuracy. If the tester is color-blind; obtaining accurate results with color-change methods is impractical. Also, you can’t obtain accurate readings up to decimal values. A slight change in the reading of the pH can cause a disaster in many industries. Color-change testing methods are ideal for residential and educational purposes. But, a pH Meter is the best option for industrial applications. And, that is why the demand for this versatile measuring meter is on the rise now.
The new technology has changed everything in this world including pH testing methods. Now, meters are available in the market that can transfer data to a mobile device wirelessly. Why do we measure pH? In simple words, we confirm the acidity or the alkalinity of solutions with a pH test. The power of hydrogen or the pH plays an important role in determining texture, color, and taste of foods. So, this is one of the factors that is being measured in the food industry since the 20th century. The pH scale extends from 0-14. Values from 0-7 are acidic, and from 7-14 are alkaline. How can you measure values between 3-4? This is the point where color-change methods become impractical. An acidic environment above pH 4.6 is the ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. Which means you should measure it accurately to avoid bacterial growth on foods, and a pH meter is the best option to consider so.
Well, we can explain it to you with another example. Aquarium fishes and creatures survive at pH 8.0 – 8.3. So, the window for fish safety lies within three decimal values. Can you afford to make any mistake with measuring it so? A slight change in the pH can cause short-term and long-term adverse effects on water-living creature including corals. Every industry has pH ranges to achieve and maintain. So, digital methods are better in terms of efficiency and accuracy in today’s world.
Having a pH meter doesn’t necessarily guarantee 100% accuracy. You should maintain the device according to manufacturers’ standards and regular calibration for obtaining accurate readings through it. Making the most out of your meter depends on these two factors.
OK, let’s get to know about meter calibration a bit better now! The electrode is the critical component of a meter. The electrode is very sensitive, prone to damage, and expensive. Old-days meters used to come with a fixed electrode. Anyway, if something goes wrong with the electrode in fixed meters; you will have to waste the whole unit. Manufacturers of the pH Meter did figure this as a downside. As a result, now they manufacture meters with replaceable electrodes. So, if something goes wrong with the electrode; you can simply replace it. You can save money in the long run with electrode replaceable meter.
For how long can I use my meter?
Well, this is an often-asked question today. Most electrodes can serve you for over 6 months (if maintained and calibrated properly.) Dropping the meter on the floor from a height could be the end of it (many users make this mistake.) So, to make the most out of your pH Meter; make sure you don’t drop it on the floor.
Keeping the electrode hydrated
A dry electrode can get damaged easily. Every pH Meter comes with a hydrating solution for the electrode. So, if your electrode has dried out; don’t use it for measuring straightaway. Immerse the bulb or the electrode in the hydrating solutions for at least an hour. Keeping it immersed in the solution for a few hours is advisable if it has dried out immensely. This step will improve the long-life of your meter including the electrode.
Cleaning the electrode
Avoiding this step after every use will lead up to buildups on the electrode. Cleaning these buildups can damage the sensitive electrode. So, if you did forget to clean the electrode, and the previous solution you measured has dried out on the electrode; leave the electrode for at least 15 minutes in the cleaning solution prior to wiping out with a clean and soft cloth. Special pH Meter electrode cleaning solutions are now available in the market for getting rid of tough stains such as from red wines.
Calibrating your pH Meter
regular calibration is the key to obtain accurate readings with your meter. Some meters can be calibrated with distilled water. The pH of distilled water is 7, hence if the meters give 7 for distilled water; it is working fine. Other than distilled water, various calibrating solutions are available in the market today. Some manufacturers of meters recommend using such calibrating solutions for calibrating their products. These calibration solutions have pH values of 7, 4, and 10. You will have to use more than one buffer solution to calibrate your pH Meter (it depends on the design and manufacturers’ recommendations.) You can buy calibrating buffer solutions in 500-ml bottles and 20-ml sachets.
Other useful tips
Storing your electrode in the storing solution will protect it from drying out. Make sure to check the expiry date of the storing solution before you use it for the electrode. As mentioned, dropping the meter on the floor can cause permanent damages to the electrode and other internal and external components including the LCD screen.
Buying your pH Meter
You can buy a general meter for under $50. Anyway, for commercial and industrial use; more expensive, complicated, and robust meters are now available in the market. Making the most out of your meter will depend on the manufacturer too. For example, buying the meter from a cheap manufacturer can ruin everything including accuracy. Australia is a country where high standards are maintained. So, most manufacturers of these measuring devices produce quality products to meet high Australian standards.
Some final words
Digital meters are extremely accurate, efficient, and easy-to-use when compared to traditional and non-digital pH measuring method such as color-change strips. Carefully looking after your meter is the key to get the most out of it. In other words, if you look after the meter according to manufacturers’ recommendations; the meter will give you more in return. Clean the electrode after every use. Keep the electrode immersed in the storing solution when not in use. Regular calibration is the key to obtain accurate readings by your pH Meter. These are the steps to follow. You can enjoy the benefits of a digital meter then.