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Blog - - Why wait 20 minutes after your last drink before using a breathalyzer? | AlcoHAWK Breathalyzers

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By Quest Products Apr 6, 2010 11:31:00 AM

Breathalyzer sensors are sensitive, the dictionary defines sensitive as "readily or excessively affected by external agencies or influences." This means that to extend the life of your breathalyzer's sensor you need to be careful what external influences you allow to act on it.

Wait 20 Minutes

Failure to wait 20 minutes after smoking, eating or drinking will provide you with inaccurate results and can damage your breathalyzer's sensor, requiring service by a qualified technician.

Remember, it takes about 20 minutes for the alcohol in your mouth to be absorbed into your blood stream, and breathalyzers are calibrated to read a deep lung breath sample. If you blow into it shortly after taking a drink, the breathalyzer will get a direct blast of alcohol from your mouth and the BAC reading will be inaccurately high. If the amount of alcohol in your mouth is high enough it can also damage your breathalyzer's sensor, requiring service by a qualified technician.

From a previous blog post, we learned that smoking can delay alcohol absorption, causing inaccurate BAC readings, and smoke particles blown into the breathalyzer can damage sensor also.

In addition, if food particles find their way into your breathalyzer it could also cause damage to the sensor or at least block your breath from reaching the sensor, causing an inaccurate reading.

So next time you think about blowing into your breathalyzer right after drinking, smoking or eating remember that not waiting 20 minutes will give you an inaccurate BAC reading and you could damage the breathalyzer sensor for any future testing until it is serviced or replaced.