The main attraction of using infrared thermometers is how easily and quickly you achieve results.
However, many people do not know how to use this thing properly. That’s why it may get a bit difficult for them to get an accurate result.
Have no worries. In this post, we are gonna teach you how to use an infrared thermometer and inform you about some related topics.
When and Why to Use an Infrared Thermometer
If you are wondering about its usage, then you might use an infrared thermometer in the following cases:
- Measuring Objects from A Distance
It could be a case where you are unable to bring the thermometer into contact with the object in question, due to it being of extremely high temperature, very fragile and sensitive, or out of your reach. And you might find yourself needing to measure the temperature of objects form a significant distance.
In such circumstances, Infrared thermometers will allow you to measure temperatures from a distance without having to touch the object itself.
- Measuring Surface Temperature
Unlike other thermometers, best infrared thermometers only measure the surface temperature instead of the internal temperature. This is both good and bad depending on the situation. Since frozen foods are impenetrable, using an infrared thermometer allows you to measure the temperature from the surface of the food.
They have made themselves quite popular in the food industry since they can quickly read the temperature of food without touching them. In addition to that, infrared thermometers ensure safety which is why it is preferred for various lab testing and other industrial applications.
Step by Step Guideline: How to Use A IR Temperature Gun
Step 1: Turn the device “ON”.
First, you need to press the trigger to turn on the device on.
To complete step 1, you must need to know how to turn the infrared thermometer on. Turning IR thermometer “ON” will obviously vary from model to model. So, it is best to consult the user’s manual guide that comes with your particular version.
However, if your model matches the following list below, then this is how you turn your laser on and off:
- Model IKR-2: Simultaneously, press down on the “C/F” button and the trigger.
- Model IR-GUN-S: Holding on to the button labeled “Measure”, press on the “C/F” button.
- Model IR-IND: Holding on to the “Measure” button, press on the button labeled “Down”.
Step 2: Point the laser toward the object.
When you turn on the IR temperature gun, it will project a beam of circular laser light. Aim the laser light towards the object you like to measure temperature.
Granted that the infrared thermometers can be used in a distance, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have their limit. Exactly from how far away you can take measurements will depend on the model of your particular thermometer. But, to get the most accurate reading of an object temperature, you must need to stand as close as possible near the object.
Each version of the infrared thermometer will have a maximum distance that you can take measurements from. This is known as the Spot Ratio, or Distance to Spot Ratio.
The Spot Size depends on two distinct variables. One is the Spot Ratio or Distance to Spot Ratio and the other is how far away you are standing from the object.
Step 3: When your task is done, turn device “OFF”.
Keep pressing the trigger until you are measuring the temperature of an object. If you release the trigger, the gun will stop working and no laser light will emit for it. The infrared thermometer will display the temperature that it read from the object is measured at last.
Emissivity and Why It’s Important to Know About It
Emissivity basically refers to the rate at which a substance is emitting infrared energy, and is measured on a scale of 0 and 1. That means, any object with an emissivity rating of 1 tends to absorb all the infrared energy surrounding it and only choosing to emit its own infrared energy.
Having said all that, it should come as no surprise to you that emissivity is going to affect your infrared thermometer’s temperature readings.
Through infrared thermometers, measuring the temperature of substances with low emissivity will give inaccurate results. Since the infrared thermometer measures only from the surface, it needs the object it is measuring to emit enough radiation for it to do so.
Pro Tip: If you are trying to measure stainless steel or aluminum, your results will not be accurate since they have low emissivity. In that case, try applying a thin coat of oil on top to increase the radiation. Oil is an organic material and organic materials have the highest emissivity.
Thermometers might come with a fixed or adjustable emissivity setting depending on the model you purchase. Some opt for the thermometer with fixed settings in order to simplify the operations of it. These thermometers work great for almost any substances including food.
However, for more accurate results, especially for lower emissivity materials, the models featuring the adjustable emissivity settings suit the best.
How to Clean and Maintain Your Infrared Thermometer
The infrared thermometers should be kept clean to be able to give you accurate results. This is especially necessary if it has been exposed to any kind of moisture in the air, dust, smoke, or dirt. Other than that, you should keep a routine of cleaning it every 6 months to properly maintain it.
- Use either plain water or medical alcohol with a clean soft cloth. Avoid using any kind of soap or other chemicals.
- Use the soaked cloth and gently wipe the lens and body of the infrared thermometer.
- Before using the thermometer again, make sure that it has dried down completely.
Some Drawbacks of Using Infrared Thermometers
When used in the right way and in the right situations, infrared thermometers can be very useful due to their easy and fast readings. However, it is good to keep in mind that they have some shortcomings as well.
- As mentioned above, infrared thermometers do not measure the internal temperature of substances and just the surface temperature. For internal temperatures of foods, use an instant-read thermometer instead.
- Depending on the type of surface you are measuring, you will have to adjust the thermometer accordingly.
- Not deemed as accurate as surface probe measurements. However, you should keep in mind that infrared thermometers can be better in some situations. Surface probe thermometers take into account their own temperature which might hamper results.
- Is sensitive to the constant changing of room temperature
- Is sensitive to surrounding weather, for example; frost, dust, fog, smoke, moisture, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is it possible to check the temperature of my grill with an infrared thermometer?
Yes, it is possible. But do keep in mind that if you are measuring a grate with many gaps in between, the thermometer will take into account any other surface it is touching when calculating the final reading.
- Does the angle of holding the thermometer while measuring matter?
Always try keeping the thermometer perpendicular to the surface of the object you are measuring. This will ensure that the small area that the lens is looking at is only consisting of your object’s surface.
- Do infrared thermometers see through clear plastics, glass, and liquid substances like water?
When pointed at a clear plastic or glass, the thermometer will take the surface of the plastic and glass for you. If you were hoping to measure the temperature of something that is inside a glass or plastic container, then you shouldn’t use an infrared thermometer.
The same is the case with water. The thermometer will only help you measure the surface temperature of the liquid.
- When cooking, can I use an infrared thermometer to ensure when my food is done?
Infrared thermometers are only good at measuring the surface temperature. In these sorts of cases, it is always better to opt for a regular probe thermometer.
All in all, infrared thermometers are a great and convenient tool to have in your arsenal. Apart from being one of the safest tools, these thermometers allow you to measure any possible surface you want with high speed and great accuracy.