What is autoclave calibration?

Understanding Autoclave Calibration and Validation: An Overview

What is Autoclave Calibration?

Calibration is about making sure the temperature sensor in your autoclave is accurate. This is done by comparing it to a device that's already been calibrated, known as the "standard." Your autoclave technician should follow the national reference standards for this process, and by doing so will ensure that your autoclave is completing the sterilisation process as intended.

What is Autoclave Validation?

Validation ensures your autoclave reaches the right temperature for the right amount of time to effectively sterilise tools and biological agents. This is a quality assurance step to assess the autoclave's performance and ensure sterilisation is achieved. Biological indicators are also used to confirm the sterilization process is efficient and effective.

Why Calibrate and Validate Your Autoclave?

Regular calibration and validation are crucial for consistent sterilisation results. Autoclaves rely on precise temperature and pressure, so these processes ensure optimal conditions for proper sterilisation, keeping your instruments safe to use.

How are Autoclaves Calibrated?

Calibration involves comparing your autoclave’s readings with those of a device known to be accurate according to appropriate standards.

How Often Should Autoclaves Be Calibrated?

In Australia, autoclaves should be calibrated at least once a year. Heavily used autoclaves might need this service more often, however annually is the minimum requirement.

Do I Need Documentation After Calibration and Validation?

Yes, after each process, your autoclave technician should document the date, results, and other relevant information in an autoclave validation log. You’ll be notified of the outcomes, and provided with a cirtificate indicating that your unit has been calibrated and validated. 

Do Repaired Autoclaves Need Calibration and Validation?

Absolutely. Calibration and validation are different from regular repairs. During the calibration and validation process, your technician will thoroughly check the heating cycle, temperature, duration, pressure, and steam penetration to ensure the autoclave functions correctly. Regular servicing also includes inspecting parts like filters, seals, sensors, pumps, and chambers to prevent unexpected breakdowns and downtime.

By following these steps, we help ensure your autoclave is reliable and effective, maintaining the highest standards of sterilisation for your practice.