How to take a pH reading and recommended electrode maintenance
Taking a pH reading with your meter can have hurdles that may cause issues especially when it comes to correctly maintaining and caring for your electrode. Below, we summarize our hints and tips with taking readings, our most heard questions to help you understand how to properly care for your electrode and our troubleshooting guide should you be experiencing difficulty.
Taking a pH reading : hints & tips
- A pH meter will usually need to be calibrated before use and often this is a 2 or 3 point calibration.
- Rinse off the electrode using deionized water between samples.
- With refillable electrodes, the filling cap should be opened when taking a reading.
- Correct electrode care and maintenance should help prolong the lifespan of your electrode (see our Q & A below).
- After use, store your electrode wet - in pH electrode storage solution.
Electrode care and maintenance : Q & A
Instructions may change from electrode to electrode, however here we provide some general tips and pointers to follow. Correct maintenance and care of your electrode and meter will ensure it gives accurate results and will enhance its longevity.
What should I do when I receive a new electrode?
When you receive a new electrode, it should arrive in a soaker bottle containing electrode storage solution. It is normal to see deposits of KCl crystals on the outside of the electrode, simply rinse these off with water. Leave the electrode in water or weak HCl for around 15 minutes to help reactivate the reference junction.
You may notice bubbles in the glass bulb, simply shake the electrode in a downwards motion to remove them.
How do I store my pH electrode?
Why are there crystals on the outside of my electrode?
How should I clean my electrode?
How do I unblock the reference junction?
Should I wipe my electrode when cleaning it?
How do I refill my electrode?
How do I calibrate my pH electrode?
What's the difference between 20ºC buffer and 25ºC buffer?
How long will my electrode last?
How do I know when my electrode needs replacing?
Here we list some of the more common issues reported to us and techniques you can try to get your electrode and meter back to working correctly.
Dried out electrode
If your electrode is dry, you will want to soak it in KCl or pH 4 buffer to rehydrate the membrane for an hour or longer. It may not however be possible to revive your dried out electrode. Others ways of reconditioning electrodes are by cleaning with weak HCl or other cleaners then soaking in KCl. If cleaning and reconditioning does not revive your electrode response, it may be time to replace the electrode.
Air bubbles in the electrode
Long response times
Meter not calibrating at pH 10
pH readings are lower than expected
mV reading are within the acceptable range but the meter is not accepting calibration
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