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What is an Immersion Heater Timer?

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  • Written By: J. Airman
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 21 September 2016
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An immersion heater timer is a device that regulates the amount of time a tank of water is kept at a particular temperature. It is generally used to control temperatures within a liquid by raising them for a set period of time. Immersion heater timers have a variety of industrial and commercial applications, and most can be set to count down minutes or hours.

The immersion heater timer is used to govern the heater unit and give the user more precise temperature control. To ensure the entire tank is heated, immersion circulator units move water as they heat it to maintain the set temperature. Programmable heater mechanisms can often be set to cycle through a variety of temperature stages.

Timers are typically used to count down the set time for each cycle. Heater control displays generally show the remaining time and the current water temperature. Timers may have a built-in audible alarm that sounds at the conclusion of the program. Some also have automatic power shutoff.

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Standardized product and prototype testing can be done in the uniform ambient temperatures of an immersion circulator-heated water tank. The immersion heater timer may be set to count down when an item is lowered into the tank. This allows the technicians to pull the product or prototype from the tank when the time is up, precisely regulating the testing period. At the conclusion of each test, the timer can be reset to count down an identical time period for the next test. Without a timer, test conditions may be imprecise and any conclusions drawn from variations in the results may be unreliable.

The immersion heater timer is also used in the sous-vide cooking technique. Sous-vide cooking is a process of vacuum-sealing foods inside plastic bags and heating them gradually in tanks of water. An immersion circulator is typically used to control the temperature of the water for hours or even days of slow cooking. Timers on immersion heaters remind the cook to remove the food when it has been heated for the desired time period. Heater timers on models designed for the kitchen may flash and make a loud beeping noise when they reach zero.

Cleaning systems sometimes employ an immersion heater timer to count down the water preheat cycle. Preheat timers usually have no count down display and the cycle time is preprogrammed. Indicator lights on some preheat timers notify the user when the cycle is complete.

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