Bulb thermometers or contact thermometers, as they are often called, rely on the simple physical principle that the volume of a liquid changes with a variation in temperature. For applications that require temperature measurement without actually touching the surface or object in question, principles of Infrared (IR) radiation have been used to design a thermometer. Infrared thermometers measure temperature based on the natural IR radiation emitted by all objects. Both non-contact and contact thermometers find applications in several fields such as medicine, HVAC maintenance, research and experimentation, household applications and many more.
In medical, industrial and scientific applications, accuracy of temperature readings is extremely important. For accuracy and reliability, maintenance of these temperature gauging instruments is necessary. Taking proper care of thermometers also increases their shelf life. Since contact thermometers and infrared thermometers, as instruments, are completely different in construction and working, care and maintenance for both varies greatly.
Contact thermometers may be digital or manual. Manual thermometers are fragile and need to be operated and stored with care but require minimum maintenance. On the other hand, digital thermometer batteries need to be checked periodically and contamination of their liquid must be prevented. Keeping moisture at bay is very essential for proper maintenance of temperature gauging equipment so that their screen is not ruined by mold and internal systems do not get permanently damaged. To maintain better functionality, it is essential to ensure that the alkaline battery used is of good quality with adequate backup.
Infrared thermometers operate digitally and, hence, the basic care that applies to digital contact thermometers, that is, moisture-free storage and battery backup applies for these as well. Pocket or mini infrared thermometers are popular as they are convenient for on-field use. Since they are portable instruments, mini infrared thermometers must be handled carefully. The repairs and correction of these thermometers must always be left to experts or manufacturers since they use high-end technology and could suffer irreparable damage with unprofessional repair interference. It is best to follow product manual instructions while cleaning infrared thermometers. A branded aerosol cleanser and a soft rag are the best cleaning tools for both bench-fixed and mini infrared thermometers. These tips for thermometer care and maintenance are not exhaustive; but, if followed, they will go a long way in maintaining the accuracy and reliability of your contact or IR thermometer and thus give optimal results.