The Effects of Temperature and Humidity in Instruments and the Calibration Process

The Effects of Temperature and Humidity in Instruments and the Calibration Process

The Effects of Temperature and Humidity in Instruments and the Calibration Process

Most calibration laboratory equipment and processes are sensitive to ambient temperature and relative humidity.  Laboratory temperature and humidity are two key factors in creating ideal lab conditions.  If the humidity is too high or low, it can affect the accuracy of sensitive tests.  Temperature also plays a part in ensuring it does not contaminate samples.

Regulatory Conditions 

There are many organizations that outline laboratory temperature and humidity requirements. The reason for these guidelines is to prevent sample contamination.

The World Health Organization has guidelines on standards. The International Standards Organization also requires temperature controls in primary standards laboratories.

Temperature and Humidity in Calibration Laboratory

As required in the ISO 17025 standard, the laboratory environmental conditions should be monitored and controlled. Environmental conditions that are controlled means that there is a specified range or conditions of acceptability of that certain parameter like temperature and humidity.

It should be monitored means that there is a specified interval for checking if it is meeting the acceptable range/conditions or not, and it should be recorded for the purpose of reviewing the results.

Furthermore, monitoring and control are not just during the calibration process but also during the storage and handling of equipment. This also includes the calibration status of measuring instruments.

Why is it a Concern?

First and foremost, the concern is preventing contamination.  Improper climate control can allow for the growth of microbes and bacteria. Not only does the temperature and humidity affect the lab, but it affects instruments.

There is a direct relationship between room temperature and equipment temperature stability.  In pressure calibration, density changes with temperature.

With high humidity, metals like gauge blocks will rust quickly.

In an electrical area, when metals rust or corrosion occurs, this will create a leakage path for voltage and current which causes a malfunction or inaccurate reading.

If below 20%, where the air is very dry, instruments can be prone to static electricity which will damage the electronic equipment.

The temperature in a lab can not only affect volume, it can affect the speed of the chemical reaction.

Prevent Problems with Monitoring and Maintenance

Maintenance of laboratory temperature and relative humidity requires not only an air handling system that controls the environment but also monitoring devices.

Room and equipment temperatures should be monitored faithfully and adjusted as frequently as needed so that consistent conditions can be maintained.

A monitoring system can help you track fluctuations in temperature. It can also be set to notify an employee when the temperature drop is too low or too high.  The best monitors also set and maintain ideal temperatures.

Another important part of laboratory temperature monitoring is to track historical and data fluctuations. The right monitor collects data and compiles reports.  Following patterns and trends will make it easy to adjust the lab to the temperature and humidity needs for accurate results.

Following insights and data about fluctuations will allow you to link those changes back to causes and maintain your lab’s credibility and productivity.

Best Practices 

Temperature and Humidity are the two most monitored environmental conditions in a laboratory. Without monitoring and control, it can affect the data, the instruments, and the calibration. If you are unsure about the best monitoring products or need help to determine if your instruments need calibration we can help. SRP control systems can help you take care of your equipment your lab needs to be accurate and compliant.