Testing Pressure Canner Gauges
Pressure canners use either a dial gauge or a weighted gauge. The gauge (dial or weighted) controls and monitors the pressure.
The weighted gauge permits pressure to rise to a definite point and then releases excess steam to keep pressure from going higher. Some people refer to these gauges as “rocking” or “jiggle” gauges. With this type of gauge, the canning process is monitored by listening for a certain number of jiggles per minutes. Check your canner manual for information on how to monitor the pressure. Most weights allow you to process at 5-, 10- or 15- pounds of pressure. Weighted gauges do not require testing but should be kept clean and rust-free.
A dial gauge canner has a pressure dial on the top that allows you to read the pressure inside the canner during the canning process. Dial gauges operate from 0- to 25-pounds of pressure, with most recipes and canning instructions calling for a pressure of either 6- or 11-pounds of pressure. Dial gauges MUST be tested every year for accuracy. Your dial gauge will be tested against a Master Gauge which will determine if your gauge is accurate, if you can compensate for your gauge being off, or if your gauge needs to be replaced.
Check with your County Extension office to see if the testing is done locally. If you cannot get your gauge tested locally, National Presto Industries will test your gauge for no charge!
Carefully remove and package the gauge. Send the gauge to:
National Presto Industries
3925 North Hastings Way
Eau Claire, WI 54703-2200
Questions? Presto Consumer Service Department (1-800-877-0441)
If the gauge-reading is off by one or more pounds, you are encouraged to purchase a new gauge. If it is off less than one pound, remind yourself of the difference and adjust the recipe’s ressure accordingly to allow for the difference. Incorrect readings will lead to unsafe foods that are under-processed or over-processed.
Replacement gauges and other parts (e.g. gaskets, safety plugs) for canners are often found at stores that sell food preservation equipment or from canner manufacturers. When ordering parts, be sure to provide your canner model number and describe the parts you need.