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pH Meter FAQs

General Frequently Asked Questions About pH Meters

By managing soil pH, you can create an ideal environment for plants and often discourage plant pests at the same time. See below for a list of the most frequently asked questions about pH meters. Still have questions? Contact Technical Product Support at 1-800-874-4755 or send an email by clicking here. Or, you can also click here for additional information on How to Use a pH Meter.

Frequently Asked Questions
 

1. What is pH?
2. Do pH meters have to be calibrated?
3. How do I calibrate my pH meter?
4. What is ATC?
5. What is the difference between Range, Accuracy & Resolution?
6. How should I store my pH meter?
7. How long with my electrodes last?

 

1. What is pH?
pH is a numeric scale (0 to 14) used to express a solution's acidity or alkalinity. Seven is the mid-point of the pH range and a solution (such as distilled water) that measures seven is considered neutral not acidic or alkaline.

A pH values lower than seven indicates that the solution is more acidic like vinegar (3.0 pH), sulfuric acid (1.2 pH) or orange juice (3.7 pH). pH values higher than seven represent alkaline or "basic" solutions such as sodium hydroxide (pH 13), ammonia base household cleaners (pH 12), and potassium hydroxide (pH 14).


2. Do pH meters have to be calibrated?
Yes, before taking a pH measurement you must calibrate the pH meter.

Calibration is especially important if the meter has been stored or used to test a pH range that is vastly different from the one you need to test.


3. How do I calibrate my pH meter?
When you calibrate a meter you are checking the pH meter against a known buffer solution to ensure that it reads pH correctly.

To calibrate a pH meter, you must choose a minimum of two buffers for a two point calibration (except pH meters that have only a 1-point calibration feature), one always being pH 7, and a second point which covers the expected pH of your sample.

An example would be if you are measuring an acidic solution (pH below 7), you would choose the pH 4.01 and 7.00 buffers to calibrate the meter. Likewise, if you were measuring mostly basic samples (pH above 7) you would choose pH 7.00 and pH 10.00 buffers for calibration.

If you were measuring the full range of pH you would use the 4.01, 7.00 and the 10.00 buffers to do a 3 point calibration.


4. What is ATC?
ATC (Automatic Temperature Compensation) is an option on handheld meters. ATC allows the meter to compensate for temperature variations that may affect the accuracy of your pH measurements.


5. What is the difference between Range, Accuracy & Resolution?
Range refers to the measuring range of the pH meter, most handheld pH meters measure between 0-14 pH. Accuracy is how exact you can expect the meter’s reading to be and resolution is how far the meter will read out in decimal places.


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6. How should I store my pH meter?
Unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer, the electrode should be stored in a manner that the bulb of the electrode can remain moist or hydrated.

Electrodes typically include a protective cap with a piece of sponge or absorbent material inside. Add a few drops of storage solution or 4.01 buffer solution to the cap and then place the cap back on the electrode. This will also work for short or long term storage.

Please note: Do not use distilled or deionized water as a storage solution.


7. How long with my electrodes last?
pH electrodes can last up to one year if stored properly and cleaned regularly.


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