Calibrating a Thermometer

It is vital that you use an accurate thermometer to monitor the temperature of the water even if the heating unit itself has a gauge for you to adjust the degrees. The calibration of a given heating unit can vary, therefore only trust a calibrated thermometer to know the exact temperature of the water heating your stones. You can also check the temperature of the chilled unit/freezer for your cold stones in this same way. Keep in mind that ice water is 32degrees Fahrenheit.

Supplies needed
  • A thermometer that can be calibrated
  • Glass of ice cold water (more ice then water)
  • Two pairs of pliers or a closed end wrench
  • A pair of pliers

Why It's Important
It is necessary for you to calibrate your thermometer every day; no exceptions if you want to know that exact temperature of the water in the heating unit. This is vital for many reasons; you may need to adjust the water temperature due to the health and well being of your client, i.e., contraindications and considerations, see the Treatment Plan. It is also necessary for you as the therapist to know the exact temperature reading of the water in the heating unit if you are questioned by either the client or your superior as to the appropriate temperature that is needed to support said client for that treatment of the day.In order to accurately be able to calibrate a thermometer it needs to be the type that can be adjusted manually. This type has a small face to it, much like that of a clock; it this face sits on top of a stem that is what is used to take the temperature of something. At the location where the face of the thermometer meets the stem there will be a 'nut'; this nut is movable with a pair of pliers.
Please locate the notch on the stem of the thermometer; this notch is where the thermometer can actually take a reading; this notch needs to be just below the surface of the water in order to get a 'true' reading. If you place the stem of the thermometer too far above or too far below this notch you will not get an accurate reading of the temperature of the liquid you are testing.

How To Calibrate The Thermometer
  1. Place the stem of the thermometer just below the notch lever in the cold glass of water; hold there for one full minute.
  2. View the reading on the thermometer, if it reads 32° F or 0º C then the thermometer is accurate and no adjusting is necessary.
  3. If the thermometer is reading something other than 32° F or 0º C it is necessary for you to calibrate the thermometer.
  4. While holding the thermometer in the ice water with both pair of pliers and or wrenches in such a way that will allow you to move the face of the thermometer either left or right and stabilizing the 'nut' at the stem, turning the parts until you make the necessary adjustments to the reading. Make sure you do this while holding the thermometer in the ice water.
  5. If you do not have the means to calibrate your thermometer then you can do the math either up or down according to the temperature reading in the ice water.
  6. Example: if the thermometer is reading 37° F while in the ice water, it is 5° F to warm in the ice water. This means that when you place this same thermometer in the hot water you will need to minus away 5° F from the reading to have 'true' temperature of the hot water in the heating unit..