As UK Drug and Alcohol Safety experts and the most experienced breathalyser retailer in the UK, we are often asked similar questions about breathalyzers.
Here’s some answers to some common questions which you may find useful in deciding which device is the best one for you.
As always, you can contact us with any specific questions you may have.
All our breathalyzers can be calibrated. Above you can scroll through our new and old models to see if we can calibrate it. If you can’t find your model you can call us on 0208 454 7372 and we’ll tell you if we can.
No; professional recalibration equipment is required, along with and a licence from HM Customs & Excise to purchase, store and use the materials required. We are the appointed Service Centre for more makes and models than anyone else in the UK because we have the technical capability to carry out all service and calibration work in-house.
Think of calibration as a service on your car; if you use the car a lot, you need to have it serviced more often – but even if your car just sits in the garage for most of the time, it still needs an annual service. Sometimes, leaving your car out of use can lead to more service work than using it regularly. It’s the same with a breathalyser. Most people will do less than 500 tests a year, in which case an annual service will be fine. However if the breathalyser spends long periods of time out of use, this in itself can lead to problems with the sensor drying out. It’s best to use it at least a couple of times a month to make sure this doesn’t happen.
Another reason for regular calibration is because if a breathalyzer hasn’t been recalibrated for some time it is possible that the sensor will move so far out of range that it cannot be brought back into the operating range. We therefore recommend personal devices be calibrated every 12 months, or if you’re using it to test someone else every 6 months. Using a breathalyser within less than the minimum time after drinking (20 mins) or smoking (10 mins) can dramatically reduce a sensor’s life before it needs recalibrating. In some cases the whole device will need replacing if excessive smoke/alcohol or other contaminants have been blown into the unit. Users must remember that these are sensitive medical instruments and must be used in accordance with the supplied user manual.
Your breathalyser needs calibrating when the readings start to lose consistency. 3 tests, each taken 2 minutes apart and with a consistent blow should produce readings within a narrow margin; the degree of “wander” will vary depending upon the quality of detector purchased but a regular user will become accustomed to the level of accuracy he/she would expect. When the readings start to vary too greatly for accurate use then the unit should be sent for calibration. If in doubt, please contact us.
If you have an AL6000, AL7000, AlcoDigital Platinum or AlcoDigital EON, replaceable sensors are available from £19.95 that you can fit yourself – buy now.
If you prefer to send your breathalyser to us, the cost of the replacement sensor is included in the calibration service. By using this service, we will also check the device after fitment for accurate and correct operation.
To keep costs to a minimum, we carry out calibrations in batches approximately twice a week; on average it will take 4-5 working days to receive your device back after calibration.
If you have a certified breathalyser which is constantly in use, select the Pro-Express service. We will calibrate your device individually as soon as it arrives and provided it arrives with us before 1pm, will return the device on a same-day basis. So if you use Royal Mail Special Delivery, you can have the breathalyser back within 2 days of returning it to us (eg. send it Monday afternoon, you’ll have it back by 1pm on Wednesday) Please note, the office does not open before 9am.
All alcohol testers have a finite lifespan. Looking after them with regular calibration servicing on an annual basis helps to extend the sensor accuracy, however there will be a point at which the device stops holding the calibration settings and is deemed a calibration failure. Unfortunately ,sometimes the only time this is established is when the unit has been sent into us and is in the workshop undergoing its servicing. If this is the case, we will contact you to check how you would like to proceed and take all steps necessary to ensure a happy outcome – including offering a discount towards a replacement unit!