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Gauge Testing Conundrums

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  • Gauge Testing Conundrums

    For many years, Cooperative Extension has advocated that consumers test their dial gauge on their pressure canner yearly. This remains the best advice for dial gauge only canners. A few years back one of the big pressure canner makers experienced a supply of poor quality dial gauges and had to replace many of them. The problem was the gauge relied on a very thin spring. If this spring was bad to start or aged, it would not lead to an accurate gauge. This led them to look for alternatives. Today, most pressure canners are now "weighted" gauge canners with an optional dial just to see the gross pressure level (e.g. "0" to open the vessel and "10-15" just to know pressure is up). The manufacturer states in their literature (owners manual) that only the weighted gauge (5, 10 or 15 lbs) is to be relied upon and NOT the dial gauge. That eliminates the need to verify the accuracy of the dial gauge. Bottom line: if you have a dial only gauge then have it tested annually. If you have the new dual gauge canner, there is no need to test the dial gauge, but don't use it for accuracy!
    Dial for show: weight for safety!
    Dr. Brian Nummer, PhD
    USU Extension Food Safety Specialist
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