Checking pressure canner guages

bookjunky4life(5 Central IL)September 29, 2011

I have a dial guage pressure canner and a weighted guage pressure canner. How can I get each tested for accuracy, and replaced if necessary?

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Call your local county extension office to check if they are testing gauges. If so they will explain what you need to bring in. If not then you have to send them to the canner manufacturer for testing, ie: Presto, All American, etc. Replacement gauges are also available from the manufacturer or from several online vendors who sell pressure canners and canner parts.

Dave

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 5:05PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

You don't test weighted gauge canners, only the dials.
Even if you get a new gauge, it still must be tested, so ordering a new one won't take care of the issue.
You either find a local extension office that tests them, or you can send to Presto.
Or, better yet in my opinion, is to buy the 3 piece weight set and use the Presto as a weighted gauge canner, too. Never have to test a gauge again !

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 8:19PM
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bookjunky4life(5 Central IL)

I contacted my county extension office and they are no longer testing gauges, mostly due to liability issues.

Linda, am I understanding correctly that I can convert my dial gauge to a weighted gauge. The first two years I canned I used the dial guage canner because it was easier for me to read the dial than figure out the jiggling on the weighted canner. This year the dial gauge canner never seemed to build any pressure on the gauge, so we assumed the gauge was broken and used the weighted gauage canner. It would be nice to be able to use both again, as I can start the second one up while the first one is cooling down to zero pressure.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 2:17PM
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bookjunky4life(5 Central IL)

Okay, did some further reading on this subject. What if my old dial gauage canner only has the peacock (sp?) and not the 15 lb weight? Can I still change it over to a weighted gauge?

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 4:50PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Is it Presto brand? If so then yes you can but you also have to replace the valve stem. The petcock unscrews, the new valve stem screws into its hole, and the new 3 piece weight set (Part # 50332) sits on top of it. You use 1, 2, or 3 pieces of the weight set depending on the weight called for in the recipe.

There are many discussions here about this and how to do it that the search will pull up if you want to read them. Just type 3 piece weight set into the search bar at the bottom of the page.

This is for Presto brand canners only. If you have 2 canners you will need 2 sets of the weights to convert both to weighted-gauge canners.

Dave

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 5:38PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

It is getting harder to find offices that test gauges. I have to get the client to sign 2 waivers in order to be able to test the gauges.

Most of the older canners can be retrofitted. Not all, but most.
I sure like using the weights instead of relying on the dial.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 9:36PM
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bookjunky4life(5 Central IL)

Here is a photo of my two canners. The weighted gauge is a Mirro and appearrs to not be that old. Probably from the 90s. My mom gave it to me. The dial gauge canner is a much older Magic Seal that we found on the side of the road, must have fell off a trailer.

The Magic Seal appears to have this:


Which the book describes as a combination pressure weight and petcock.

Do you think this can be converted to a weighted gauge?

    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 10:57PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

Probably so. You will have to get the right vent pipe and the 3 piece weight set. Look at pressurecookeroutlet online.

If that is an electric coil stove, you should get a canning element if you don't have one. Otherwise, you will probably destroy your stove. The standard elements are not sturdy enough to hold all the weight, plus they burn out and short the wires.
I killed 2 stoves before anyone told me this. I want to spare you that same experience. The cost about $25 or so.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 2:00AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Personally I'd pass on trying to convert the Magic Seal. Given it's age, brand, and history there is just too much possibility of untrustworthy performance for my comfort level. And while we know the conversion of Presto canners is NCHFP approved, no such approval exists for converting that brand.

Can't tell from the photo but I am also concerned about the size of the Mirro. It looks just like my Mirro pressure cooker. Is it truly a canner that will hold and process 4 quart jars?

Looks like a smooth/glass top stove to me.

Dave

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 9:41AM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

There is no problem using that old canner. I have people bring them in the office and we just have them buy a new over pressure plug, a new gasket if needed, and then the new vent pipe and gauge set. I see quite a few of the old Magic Seal ones. As far as I remember, Magic Seal was made by Presto.
The Mirro looks fine to me. I think they are larger than you think, Dave.
If it was a smooth top stove it would not be enamel paint on top.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 11:50AM
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bookjunky4life(5 Central IL)

Thanks for the info on the canning element. I do have an electric coil element. However, my husband says we will be getting a new stove soon enough and not to worry too much about tearing up the current stove. I will look into it though.

Both the canners hold 7 quarts.

Linda - which piece is the over pressure plug? That flat rubber piece inbetween the petcock and the dial gauge?

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 5:34PM
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bookjunky4life(5 Central IL)

Linda - could you be so kind as to link me to the replacement parts from www.pressurecookeroutlet.com? So I know I am ordering the right parts. Are you looking under the parts for Presto pressure canners? I still want to convert the canner but am looking at buying a new one also.

http://pressurecooker-outlet.com/americancans.htm
I am guessing these are the top of the line in the canning world. I like the 30 quart for $300 as it holds 14 quart jars and I can 90% with quart jars. It also has the metal on metal seal and no gasket which I like, as well as both gauges and doubles as a pressure cooker.

When we replace our stove, I will definitely be looking for one with canning in mind so it will have to have larger burners.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 11:41AM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

It was sold by Wards and they had their brand put on it.
http://www.cookingandcanning.net/mowaprcopa.html
The overpressure plug is the little round one, in the top of the canner. It has to be soft and pliable.

You can see it will show a regulator set. You buy that, then order a 3 piece weight set if you want to use as a weighted gauge canner. The weight set is 50332.

Be sure your new stove will support all that weight ! I don't know if any electric stove would do that. Not with 14 quarts ! Also, have to be sure it clears the range hood.
Are you able to get a gas stove ?
I have a heavy duty commercial type. Love it !!
If you can lift the All American, and don't mind fussing with the screw down handles all around, they are good.
Personally, being so short and also with back problems, I cannot do that. I stick with my Prestos. Only replaced the gasket once in about 30 years or more. I got another Presto a few years back, so I have two of them I use instead of one huge one.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 12:43PM
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bookjunky4life(5 Central IL)

Linda- thanks! I would love to have a gas stove. We only have access to propane though, not natural gas. I prefer to cook with a gas stove over an electrical one. I think my husband only wants electric. I will have to ask him again.

Would a canning element not be sufficient for the 30 quart All America canner? The site only says they are not recommended for glass and flat cook tops because the weight might break the glass. I would have no probelm lifting it. I'm only 28 and lift heavy stuff all the time. I will probably have back problems when I am older though :)

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 3:19PM
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bookjunky4life(5 Central IL)

I just want to confirm my understanding. I will only use the vent pipe out of the regulator set and the three piece weight set fits directly onto the vent pipe.

I will probably replace the gasket and the overpressure plug while I'm at it.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 3:58PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Would a canning element not be sufficient for the 30 quart All America canner?

No, not IME and based on what I have read from others. Mine is slightly bent just from my Presto 23 quart canner which is one reason I switched to a heavy duty propane burner for canning.

A gas stove is no problem as the pot supports are much stronger. But the primary purpose of the electric canning element is to increase air flow and spacing, not provide heavy duty support, and a 30 quart AA is a VERY HEAVY canner when loaded.

Dave

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 4:23PM
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bookjunky4life(5 Central IL)

Yeah, apparently my husband is anti gas stove so I will have to stick with something that will work on an electric coil stove with a canning element. For the record, the All America canners look awesome though.

I also tallied up the cost to fix my pre-1970 Magic Seal = $55 with shipping. I think I'd rather put that money toward a new 16 quart Presto pressure canner and do the conversion to the weighted gauge.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2011 at 9:57AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

The 16 quart? Some like it and some don't because of the small size but it usually already comes with the 3 piece weight. You'll be much happier with the 23 quart Presto and the 3 piece weight set.

Dave

    Bookmark   October 4, 2011 at 10:08AM
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bookjunky4life(5 Central IL)

I primarily only can quart jars, so the 16 quart would probably be fine. I don't believe either new Presto canner comes with the 3 piece weight set. http://www.pressurecooker-outlet.com/prestop23qtcan.htm There is a dial gauge on the photo and to the right, that is like a safety 15 pound pressure gauage, right? So that if you're getting up near dangerous pressure, it will jiggle and warn you? I think that has to come off and be replaced with the three piece weight set. But I'm still figuring this all out and could be wrong.

I have asked my mom when she got her Mirro new. It is a good canner, simple and already has the weighted gauage on it that is just one piece. How old does a Mirro have to be to be one of the good models? or rather how new of Mirro should you stay away from? I like that I already know how to use it and don't have to change anything. I might just get one like mine off Ebay and have two.

Bottomline is two functioning canners would make canning a lot easier. Try explaining that to my husband though :)

    Bookmark   October 4, 2011 at 11:36AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I don't believe either new Presto canner comes with the 3 piece weight set. http://www.pressurecooker-outlet.com/prestop23qtcan.htm

Perhaps not from that particular source but there are many sources and a VERY wide price range on them. And there are many discussions here about that particular canner and its sources that the search will pull up. One source is Walmart. It sells the 16 qt. with the 3 piece weight set. So does amazon.com and Target or did last time the question came up.

But sure you can also buy the one with the gauge and then buy the 3 piece weight set for it too. The advantage to the 23 quart is it can also be used as a BWB. The 16 qt. can't.

As to the Mirro part of your question, I can't really say. I fist noticed their reviews start going down hill 5 or 6 years ago about the time most of them came with the different handles and no gauge. Mine is more than 20 years old.

But the serious problem with them is finding parts now and in the future. On some forum folks that have them post they have been stockpiling parts now as they find them in case of future needs.

Dave

    Bookmark   October 4, 2011 at 12:56PM
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