Why would you want a daily min/max graph?

I actually wanted the headline to be “why the hell would you want a daily min/max graph” but that may have been too confrontational. It does, however, indicate how strongly I feel about this.

Just to be clear, before too many people jump to the wrong conclusion, I am asking why someone would want a daily min/max GRAPH.

To explain why I hate the idea I want to take a stroll down memory lane first.

Many years ago we only had thermometers for monitoring the temperature of fridges. To make the situation worse, the fridges were often domestic fridges with really poor control and the tendency to drift. The confusing temperature dial did not help matters.

Since the fridges were so unreliable it was important for staff to check the temperature often.

Min/max thermometers meant that it was possible to be aware of a problem even if you weren’t there when it happened.

At the same time, however, if there was a problem, you didn’t want to be using or selling stock that may have been compromised.

It was not practical to have someone check the temperature every 10 minutes. It was time consuming and was checking for a problem that rarely occurred.

Consequently there was the need to check the minimum and maximum temperatures daily (or twice daily). “Strive for Five” focused on this for the storage of vaccines.

A daily min/max record was required because it was the best solution at the time.

There was, however, one upside to the daily min/max – a list of 28 to 31 readings on a single page is very easy to look at and understand. If everything was fine (which it normally should be) then the daily min/max report was the perfect was to show that you were actively checking.

The min/max report was totally useless if things did go wrong. For example, what happens if you restock your fridge every couple of days and the temperature spiked to 12° each day, but only for 5 minutes. It’s not damaging your stock but the min/max report would show 12° each day.

A min/max report is only useful if the temperatures are within the required limits.

Unfortunately there are now too many procedures and requirements written around the daily min/max recording.

Temperature loggers solve all the limitations of a daily min/max report. When something goes wrong you know when it starts, when it finishes, how hot/cold it actually got to, and how long it was at the extreme temperature. That is critical information when considering if stock needs to be disposed of or customers notified.

The downside of temperature loggers is that if you wanted to print all the data, it would take many pages. That’s a waste of paper all for something that someone won’t actually look at.

There are two possible solutions:

  1. A daily min/max report: This is a great way of summarising the data, but you will have to return to the software to see what actually happened if something did go wrong.
  2. A graph.

And just by the descriptions above, you can see the simplicity in a graph. It shows everything in a fraction of a page. A picture is worth more than a thousand words.

Which brings me back to my original question – why would you want a daily min/max graph?

You want to strip all the information out of the graph and just be left with the daily peak and trough. You have no idea when these peaks and troughs started, if there were numerous ones or just one, and if you have a problem. You still have to go back to the data to see what actually happened.

The graph may look nice and simple (two relatively smooth lines) but it has lost 90% of its meaning.  I would go as far as to say without that 90%, the other 10% effectively becomes useless.

While a daily min/max graph sounds fancy and friendly, it’s a rust bucket with a fresh coat of paint.

Let’s get with the times and make the most of the simple, easy and affordable technology that we now have, and stop making compromises that we don’t need to anymore.

Car temperature reaches 70°C on a warm day

It was autumn. It wasn’t too hot. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping. It’s a nice day.

And then my phone alarm starts going off. The car is hot. Way too hot…

The glass has turned my car into a sauna. Actually, it’s probably more like a steamer. Sit in there at the moment and you will be cooked.

It amazes me that people will still leave their kids or pets in a car and duck into the shops or a friend’s place. All it takes is for the sun to come out from behind a cloud and within minutes your car can turn into a furnace.

Can I use my own wi-fi adaptor?

Ethernet Tag Manager - Front View

When many people hear “wireless temperature logger” they think “wi-fi temperature logger”. These are NOT Wi-fi devices.

They use their own communication protocol at a different frequency. This has a number of advantages including a longer range, ability to get inside fridges, and a much longer battery life. There is no way that you could have a wi-fi temperature logger that is this size and could last months without recharging or changing the battery.

This does mean, however, that you will need both the logger or sensor, and the base station. You can’t use any other base station or router.

What if I only have wi-fi and no ethernet

Some people only have wi-fi in their office or kitchen. In this case you can still use this system but you will require another device. A wi-fi bridge will convert from wi-fi back to ethernet. They typically cost about $60 and can be purchased from most computer stores including JB Hi-Fi.

We realise that this solution does add to the cost and complexity of the system and isn’t the “perfect solution”. It is, however, often the most cost effective solution for many customers.

Contact us if you do need more advice on what you need or if the system is right for you.

The Rotten Food Cookbook is Amazon Best Seller

Last week we released the eBook version of The Rotten Food Cookbook on Amazon and we reached the Amazon Best Seller list.

The Rotten Food Cookbook is a parody cookbook we wrote to try and highlight major causes of food poisoning. It’s all about what people care about most (Food Poisoning) so that we can then talk about ways of avoiding it. As I say at the end, “no one care’s about food safety, but everyone cares about food poisoning”.

You can buy a eBook version from Amazon.

Amazon Best Seller

What is a wireless temperature logger?

This is an explanation video for “What is a temperature logger”. Coming soon we will have one specifically for “what is a wireless temperature logger?”.

For those who want to read the answer…


What is a temperature logger?

A temperature logger is a thermometer
With memory

It tells you what the temperature is
It tells you what the temperature was

A temperature logger can tell you
– when everything is fine
– when excessive temperatures were reached
– how long it stayed at that temperature

Temperature loggers are an ideal proof that all was fine

Temperature loggers automate record keeping

Temperature loggers help you decide what to do when there is a problem
Can you keep stock or do you have to throw it away?

Temperature loggers are automated and save you time

Temperature loggers save you money

Temperature loggers save your reputation


Wireless Tag Logger Improvements

The new wireless temperature logger will have a number of improved features. These new features are moving it from being a generic wireless product towards being a fully functioning temperature monitoring solution.

0.02° resolution on alarm thresholds

While the temperature logging resolution was 0.02°C, the alarm threshold was only 0.5° which meant it wasn’t possible to get an exact temperature for the alarm threshold. This has now been resolved.

Programmable sampling rate for temperature monitoring

Previously the sampling rate was the same as the autoping interval. This meant that a frequent sampling rate would quickly consume the battery life. Now it is possible to enjoy the benefits of a faster sample rate (being able to detect all issues) with a slower autoping (longer battery life).

We recommend that you sample the temperature at about 5 minute intervals and autoping at about 15 to 20 minute intervals.

Delayed notification of alarms

This feature allows you to set how many samples in a row the logger has to be high or low before it triggers the alarm. This is very important in the stopping of false alarms and the nuisance alerts for activities such as reloading a fridge.

We recommend that all users set this to a value of about 3 to 5 consecutive readings.

How long will a vaccine fridge remain below 8° during a blackout?

The critical temperatures

2°C and 8°C are the official limits that a vaccine must be stored between.

Of the two temperatures, the lower one is the more critical. At 0°C certain vaccines freeze and become useless. This is important to keep in mind when dealing with the issue.

The higher temperature is less rigid because warm vaccines age faster, they don’t suddenly become ineffective. It’s similar to leaving milk out and having it go off faster. If it is kept refrigerated it will last weeks but leave it out in summer and it won’t last a couple of hours.

Losing power to a vaccine fridge

Losing power to a vaccine fridge obviously means you are losing the ability for the fridge to cool down. The speed at which it heats up is determined by a number of factors:

  1. How often you open the door: This is the biggest factor by far. Every time you open the door you are replacing the cold air with the warmer air outside. When you close the door this warmer air will heat up the contents while the contents try to cool the air.
  2. How warm the room is: This is more of an issue if you are opening the door, or if you have a glass door. If it is a cold day then you have less of a problem, but a failure in summer means you will need to be acting faster and be more cautious.
  3. The type of door: A glass door will let heat through more than an insulated door.
  4. The temperature within the fridge when the power failed: While this is mostly out of your control, the general setting of the fridge will impact on this. Having the fridge run between 5 and 7° means it will warm up sooner than if it was running between 3 and 5°.
  5. The size of the fridge: Warmer fridges generally maintain their temperature better than smaller fridges. Given that there’s nothing you can do about the size in the event of a blackout you can ignore this!
  6. The temperature of the stock: If stock does arrive during a blackout, cool stock won’t impact the temperature, but putting warm stock into a vaccine fridge will.
  7. The amount of stock/content in the fridge: The more content that is in the fridge, the better its heat regulation.

Preparing for a power failure

If you know that you are going to have a power outage in advance then there are a couple of simple things you can do:

  1. If you have multiple fridges, move the likely stock required into one fridge and keep the other one closed
  2. Consider using an eski as a temporary storage (see later with freezing warning)
  3. Minimise the amount of times you need to open the fridge. Take multiple units out at once if possible, but ensure that they aren’t left out too long. Consider using an eski.
  4. Don’t have stock arrive during the power outage.
  5. If you have room in the fridge, place bottles of water in the fridge before hand. Ensure they have sufficient time to cool down.
  6. For extended periods, get ice in and place ice at the bottom of the fridge. See the freezing warning.

During a blackout

Once the power fails there are a couple of things that you can try to do to minimise the temperature change:

  1. Don’t open the door
  2. When you do open the door, open it only enough to get access to the stock, and close it ASAP.
  3. Take multiple items out at once if you are likely to need it
  4. For extended periods, place ice at the base of the fridge. See the freezing warning.

Freezing warning

A couple of the tips involve the use of ice. This poses a more significant risk if done incorrectly.

Vaccines must NOT come in direct contact with the ice.

The temperature can not drop below 0°. Using an eski filled with ice is the most likely cause, but packing a fridge with ice will also potentially cause freezing.

There are ways of avoiding direct contact with ice such as using cardboard or material to act as a barrier. Don’t use too much or it will insulate the ice.

After the blackout

Check the maximum temperature of the fridge and if possible record how long it has been since the power failed.

A better solution is to have used a temperature logger which will provide not only the maximum temperature, but a detailed history as to when it exceeded 8°, for how long, and how warm the fridge actually became. This information is then better used to determine if the vaccines have been compromised. OnSolution can provide advice on the best temperature logger for your needs.

You may need to notify the authority to determine if the vaccine is still viable, or if it needs to be disposed of. If in doubt, do not use the vaccines until this check has been completed.

Vaccine Temperature Poster

Free Vaccine Storage Poster

If you would like a free poster reminding staff about the vaccine storage temperatures please contact us. We have free A4 laminated posters available or we can email you a pdf version.

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