How To Check Room Temperature Without A Thermometer

How to Check Room Temperature Without a Thermometer

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Did you know that you can check the temperature of a room even if you don’t own a thermometer?

With just a soda bottle and a few other materials, you can create a tool that shows how hot or cold it is. 

Monitoring room temperature can make you a healthier, safer, and more comfortable person! Let’s look into how to check room temperature without a thermometer. 

What You Will Need to Determine Room Temperature

It’s not a secret that the best way to measure how hot or cold something is is by using a thermometer. But if you don’t have one on hand, there are a few ways you can still get a room temperature reading. Each of these 3 methods will require different materials. 

You will need the following materials ready so you can make your own thermometer:

  • Rubbing alcohol.
  • Clear plastic drinking straw. 
  • Empty plastic soda bottle.
  • Water.
  • Modeling clay.
  • Red food coloring.

The second method only requires an iPhone thermometer app and an internet connection. This trick is be easier but less accurate. Some of these services also require a paid subscription.

The third method for measuring the temperature without an actual thermometer will not require any object. All you need is your body heat and some common sense. But it’s the least promising approach because it won’t give you the exact temperature measurement.

Steps to Checking Room Temperature Without a Thermometer

Knowing the temperature of the room is necessary to avoid diseases. Not sure how to get an approximate temperature estimation? Here’s how. 

1. Combine Water and Alcohol.

ethanol alcohol

Get equal parts of water and rubbing alcohol. You may choose from ethyl alcohol, denatured alcohol, methyl alcohol, and isopropyl alcohol.

All of them will help you get the approximate temperature through your homemade thermometer. 

Pour the two liquid ingredients into the plastic soda bottle, reaching only 25%. If your bottle can hold 250 ml, add 32.25 ml of water and 32.5 ml of rubbing alcohol. 

2. Add the Food Coloring and Straw.

Mix in one to two drops of red food coloring to the mixture. The color will ensure the visibility of the solution for more convenient readings. Then, shake the bottle so the ingredients mix well.

Get your plastic straw and put it inside the bottle. Instead of using a bottle cap, secure the top with modeling clay so that the straw stays intact. But leave the opening of the straw and seal clay around it. 

3. Place Your Tool at the Center of the Room.

The best place to check your room’s temperature is at its center. When using a normal thermometer, position it in the middle of your space for the most accurate results. 

This spot should not have any source of heat that will affect the readings. Avoid phones, ambient light, and hot food if you’re putting it on top of a table.

There is also an ideal height for the thermometer placement. It should be at least two feet off the ground to avoid the heat or coldness of the floor. 

4. Test Your Makeshift Thermometer.

diy thermometer
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Using a marker, draw a line parallel to the water on the bottle. Now you’re ready to try the homemade thermometer!

Hold the soda bottle with your two hands so that your body heat makes the water rise. If the water rises, it means the temperature is high or increasing. If it doesn’t, then the temperature is average.

This DIY thermometer may not provide accurate readings, but the visual representation of the liquid gives enough information. Record whether the alcohol solution rose or fell every hour or two to check if it’s getting colder or hotter. 

If you need actual values for temperature readings, I recommend getting additional items for accuracy. You might need exact measurements, especially if you’re experiencing extreme temperatures.  

5. Use Your Smartphone.

If the rubbing alcohol experiment didn’t work, grab your iPhone and connect to the internet. Go to the App Store, and you will notice several temperature apps that measure the air temperature. 

They either use external sensors like the TempStick or the phone’s internal components. There are also Smart thermometers that need mobile applications for operation. Some of these services let you set custom alerts and adjust the safe range of temperatures. 

As much as possible, pick an app that requires an external sensor like TempStick to measure the ambient temperature. Those that use your smartphone’s sensor merely work to prevent battery overheating and damage. So they don’t offer accurate room temperature results.

6. Use Your Temperature.

The human body temperature gives insights into your environmental conditions too. The average room temperature is approximately 71 degrees Fahrenheit, and most people feel comfortable at this level.

If your body feels normal and comfy, the temperature is around the same number. It means you don’t need to remove any clothing or wear extra ones.

If you feel colder than usual, the temperature is obviously below 71 degrees. But if you are freezing, the temperature is far below room temperature. 

The same is true for high temperatures. Some of us sweat to indicate that the room temperature is higher. However, it’s not a reliable way to determine how hot it is. Some people are more prone to sweating or more tolerable to heat than others. 

In short, you are using your natural sense to estimate how hot or cold it is. But as with the smartphone and alcohol method, you will not get an accurate measurement. The best way is to get a real thermometer or an ambient temperature app using an indoor temperature sensor.

What is Temperature?

The temperature measures how hot or cold a specific location is. Its primary units of measurement are the Celsius scale or C and the Fahrenheit scale or F. People also use the Kelvin scale, or K, for scientific purposes. 

Kinetic energy is responsible for what makes an environment or object hot or cold. It refers to the speed at which atomic particles move around. Environments with lower temperatures move more slowly, while warmer environments have particles that move more quickly.

The soundest way to measure the temperature is through a digital thermometer. They are easier to read and give temperature updates more quickly. They also have more sensitive sensors. Some digital thermometers let you access and store data on your smartphone. 

Glass thermometers also give accurate measurements. These thermometers have liquid inside the glass tube, which stretches up as the temperature increases.  

Bimetallic thermometers are a practical idea because they have a better display than glass. Also known as a dial thermometer, this tool uses a metallic pointer to point to the temperature. 

Importance of Knowing the Temperature

Your room temperature is something you need to track regularly and carefully. A few degrees can create a big difference in your comfort and safety. That’s why it’s advisable to get a thermometer or other scientific tools instead of using alternatives.  

But if you want to approximate temperature, you may try several methods. Here are some reasons you should know your home temperature.

Enhances Your Home Comfort

Americans spend 90% of their time indoors, which is great because it’s easier to optimize indoor conditions. Examine which temperature makes you feel the most comfortable. It will help prevent overheating or shivering.

When you know the optimal temperature, you will also learn to adjust your surroundings. You can change the heater settings, leave a few windows open, and modify other home elements that affect the temperature. 

Knowing the indoor temperature also allows you to make better decisions about your daily activities. Should you make iced or hot coffee?

Are you going to wear a tank top or sweatshirt? These small choices can influence your level of ease. 

Supports Your Health

Excessively high or low temperatures can affect your health. Because we spend most of our days inside, the conditions must let you stay as healthy as possible. For example, chilly rooms can result in respiratory illnesses.

Regularly conducting a temperature check is more important if you have babies and older people in the house. Those with blood vessel diseases, anemia, and underactive thyroid are more sensitive to the cold. Diabetic people are more intolerant to heat.  

Helps Pet Owners

Fur parents also benefit from checking the temperature. Dogs tend to feel warmer than humans since they have thicker fur and don’t sweat. They try to stay cool by panting. Small dogs and dogs with short noses cannot regulate their body temperature. 

This is vital to consider, especially when camping or RVing. If you’re leaving your pet in the RV, it’s a good idea to invest in an RV pet temperature monitor

but for home, talk to your vet about the appropriate temperature for safety purposes. And get a proper thermometer to make sure your four-legged friends do not overheat.

Or, if you have lizards, birds, and fish, regular temperature tracking ensures they receive extra heat. 

Prevents Mold, Moisture, and Dampness

Your home’s temperature is associated with the humidity level. When you shower, do laundry, and cook, you increase the moisture in your indoor space. And the temperature lets the moisture stick to the surface. 

Low temperatures can also cause dampness and mold, which result in problems in the respiratory system. Some molds are toxic and crow worse with poor ventilation. Avoid health issues by monitoring your home temperature all the time. 

Affects Your Sleep

The right temperature makes it more comfortable to fall and stay asleep. You won’t experience interrupted sleep because of sweating. You also won’t have trouble getting in the correct position. 

Whether you have a basic thermometer, glass thermometer, or digital thermometer, these will help you know the appropriate temperature. You’ll have more control over taking it down or up. 

The ideal temperature at night is 65 degrees Fahrenheit. But you can experiment with temperature differences to see which one feels the most pleasing to you. 

Saves More Money

Adjusting the temperature settings too high will increase your electric bills and waste energy. Testing the lowest tolerable temperature while still feeling warm is the key to saving money. You also want to make sure not to make it too low as it can cause your bills to increase.

Having a Wi-Fi thermometer that lets you remotely monitor is also a lifesaver. It allows you to pay attention to your home even if you’re outdoors, avoiding excessive energy consumption.

Are Humidity and Temperature the Same?

No, but temperature and humidity are associated with one another. Humidity refers to the number of water molecules in the air. The hotter the air, the more water molecules it can hold. And the cooler the air, the fewer molecules it can carry. 

In short, the higher the temperature, the higher the humidity level. If you can sense the dryness and moisture of the air, you can also check the temperature without a thermometer. 

Can You Use a Smartphone as a Thermometer?

You can use your smartphone as an alternative to a thermometer but don’t expect precise temperature readings.

While some smartphones like iPhones have temperature sensors, they are only for the battery’s temperature.

The internal “thermometer” alerts whether your phone is overheating to avoid damage. You can also try several smartphone apps, but they are not as excellent as high-end thermometers. 

Some applications use your phone’s internal sensors and other algorithms for a lower margin of error. Still, these results are unreliable. 

If you want to obtain ambient temperature readings, you need a separate device that works with popular temperature apps. Since it’s an external tool, it will not get data from your phone battery or processor. Instead, it captures air temperature and displays it on your phone. 

And even if smartphone developers create mobile phones with external temperatures, they still won’t be accurate. Remember that phones radiate heat.

Precise readings require precise placement. 

Final Words

Did you find this tutorial helpful? Even if you don’t have the right tools, monitoring room temperature is essential to maintain health, safety, and comfort.

There are several ways you can measure your room temperature without a thermometer. You can use your body temperature, or smartphone, or make a DIY thermometer. But not one of these methods gives precise measurements. 

Have you tried making a thermometer at home? Let us know how it went in the comments. And share this post so others can try it too. For more great info like this, check out our guide to the best hygrometer for indoor humidity.

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