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What does it mean to calibrate a gas monitor? Why is calibration even necessary? How often is calibration to be performed?
A gas monitor calibration determines if a sensor can accurately read the known concentration of a calibration gas. If it can't, the calibration electronically adjusts the gas monitor to account for the difference. Simply put, a calibration aligns a sensor with a calibration gas.
Calibration is needed because of Calibration Drift. Calibration Drift occurs when the sensor can't accurately read the calibration gas.
A number of factors cause Calibration Drift in gas monitors (from OSHA):
When a sensor can no longer be aligned to the calibration gas during calibration, a sensor failure occurs. This failure is due to calibration drift. The sensor will need to be replaced.
OSHA does not give any detailed recommendation concerning gas monitor calibration frequency. OSHA simply says, "follow the manufacturer's recommendations with regard to calibrating the instruments."
RKI Instruments, in a effort to be helpful, outlines two extremes of calibration frequency:
Most users will be in the middle of these two extremes. RKI, for example concludes that "typical calibration frequencies for most applications are between 3 and 6 months, but can be required more often or less often based on your usage". Honeywell BW recommends calibration at least every 6 months.
Calibration Frequency is ultimately determined by the end user based on OSHA's requirement to follow the manufacturer's guidelines. Neither the manufacturer nor a distributor can make a specific recommendation.
For more help visit our Gas Detector Service Center.