Anyone who uses a pressure canner for food preservation needs to get their gauge tested for safety each year. This is due to the nature of how much you need to depend on your pressure gauge to be accurate to ensure that your food is safe to eat once it is stored.
Types of Canning Gauges:
There are two different kinds of gauges used in pressure canning and making sure you know what kind you have will let you know also how often you need it tested and what kind of accuracy you can depend on with your equipment.
A weighted gauge canner is the simpler style of pressure canner that relies on a set weight that will jiggle or rock on the canner as it gets to the right pressure. Weighted gauges are noisy because the pressure is released and rocks or jiggles the weight but they are always arcuate when used correctly. Make sure you read the manufacturers instructions to know what the correct procedure is when using a weighted gauge pressure canner. This type of gauge system can be tested if you are worried, but for the most portion as long as you are following your manufacturers instructions and the weight and the canner are undamaged you are ready to start canning.
Dial gauges are the types that need to be tested at least once per year as they operate differently then a weighted gauge that lets the pressure out if above the set amount. These types of gauges only tell you the amount of pressure registered, but have no handling of releasing any of it if it goes over. A dial gauge canner needs to register the correct pressure to ensure that the foods being processed are properly canned. There is a potential for unsafe processing if the gauge reads 2 pounds pressure high or low, jeopardizing the safety of the food in the jar. If the gauge registers more than 2 pounds high or low than you need to replace the gauge.
How to get it tested?
Getting your dial gauge pressure canner tested should be a yearly event and in many locations they often host testing done as a preseason event. Look around your local area for any Extension offices as they often host gauge testing as well as other folks worried about health and food, such as the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium. However, if you have missed the event or are not near a local extension office you can always mail your dial gauge into certain manufacturers to get it tested. This is a service done by PRESTO . It is also a good practice to make sure the lid fits tightly, the pressure plug is in place and that the rubber gasket (if your canner has one) is free from cracks. A well maintained canner is essential for safe home canned foods.
If shipping your gauge or canner to National Presto Industries for service, please first contact our consumer service department at 1-800-877-0441 weekdays between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. (Central Time).
When shipping to Presto, please include your name, return address, reason for service, email, and a phone number where you can be reached during weekdays.
Consumer Service Department
National Presto Industries, Inc.
3925 North Hastings Way
Eau Claire, WI 54703-3703