is it safe to use infrared thermometer

Are Infrared Thermometer Safe?

You must have heard about the super useful infrared thermometers.

For the uninitiated, they are used to detect the temperature of their surrounding environment with the help of its electromagnetic radiation. They are widely used in industries and environments and can readily tell the temperature.

But the real question is whether they are safe as electromagnetic waves are involved here.

Well, the answer isn’t simple enough to answer in no or yes. We have to consider various factors for that.

But don’t worry, we are going to discuss the safety-related issues in detail in this article.

So, read on to find out more.

How This Kind of Thermometers Work

Before we get into the main topic, you should really have a clear-cut image of the thermometer in order to grasp a proper idea of the concept.

These instruments go by a lot of names such as non-contact thermometers or temperature guns because they have the ability to calculate the temperature from distance. They are also known as infrared laser thermometers because there is a laser installed which assists one to aim at the desired spot.

It detects a part of the thermal radiation, also known as the black-body radiation, from the targeted object and measures the temperature. This radiant energy is converted into electrical energy which is why contact with the thermometer and object is not needed.

The emissivity and the amount of infrared radiation emission of the item are equal to the actual temperature.

Is It Safe To Use Infrared Thermometer?

Infrared radiation is a part of the electromagnetic wave spectrum. Radiations are often harmful to human beings as they can cause irritation and a burning sensation in the skin. However, the average infrared thermometer contains almost no radiation.

It only absorbs the IR and measures it but doesn’t consist of the component in itself. Laser IR Thermometers are different, and they can be risky.

Safety can be compromised easily if some factors aren’t overseen properly, and especially for babies.

Possible Risks for Children

Babies tend to develop fever more than the norm, so this instrument is used quite often around them. The beam of the laser would be extremely harmful if accidentally pointed to the eyes. Extreme irritation followed by watering of eyes occurs if such a situation arises. 

With the non-contact ones, you have to keep it beyond the reach of the child as it comes with batteries. If by chance the batteries are swallowed by them, then it could lead to serious health situations.

Intake of batteries would cause the cap to open which would make the lithium leak. The food pipe, tongue, and entire digestive system would burn.

So, don’t leave it out in the open and make sure that it is not touched by the kids.

It’s safe to say that mercury thermometers should be put to use instead of laser IR thermometers. The results would also be far more accurate.

Goggles and Gloves for Safety

We have discussed how harmful the instrument can be for babies, but there is risk involved for adults too. Laser ones can cause damage to the eyes and even blinding if the laser is a powerful one. Also, it can cause an allergic reaction to the skin and can even lead to mild skin burns.

To prevent this dangerous event from occurring, wear goggles and gloves whenever you have the IR laser thermometer in your hand to be completely safe. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Check If It Can Be Used on Living Beings

Some lasers are incredibly powerful and are specifically used for non-living objects. These cannot be used on living organisms as they are not suitable for our bodies. If this is accidentally applied to humans, it would damage the organs and impair its capability of functioning.

Do Not Use It in A Room Filled with Extremely Reactive Gases

If an explosive gas comes in contact with a beam of laser, the rest will be history, quite literally as this would trigger a scary explosion. So, your device and extremely reactive gases or liquid should never be placed in the same room.

The Trigger Button

The trigger which controls the withdrawal of the beam should be immediately released after use. If that’s not done, the laser can hit the wrong place and anyone around. The life span of the device would also be reduced.

Reflective Surfaces

Reflective surfaces such as mirrors could reflect back the ray of laser towards you or anyone near the surrounding area. The result would be as discussed above. This is one of the main reasons why preplanning a conventional setup is vital.

Children should be the farthest away from these situations.

Uses and Applications of Thermal Thermometers

Here are a few applications of this equipment that are safe to use if dealt with properly:

  1. Safety of Food

With this device, food delivery services measure the temperature of the equipment, refrigerators, cold stores, and trucks. This ensures that it has the perfect temperature so that the food doesn’t get spoiled.

  1. Industrial Uses

People use it for regular checking of steam systems, boiler operations, electrical panel hot spot surveys so that operations are not hindered.

  1. Agriculture

Used for spoil detection by checking the temperature of plants for animal bedding and stress.

  1. In Air Conditioning and Heating

You can use it to check heat gain and loss, breakdown of insulation, leakage in the duct and the furnace.

Final Words

Almost every object in the world would be unsafe if not handled properly and with care. If you use the infrared thermometer as suggested above, you won’t have to face any sort of problems with safety.

Everything has been discussed and researched thoroughly before presenting it in front of you. We really want you to be completely out of harm’s way.

If you are still uncertain about the safety and have further queries, feel free to type it out and leave it in the comment section below!