If you put in a lot of cables, cords, pipework or anything else that generates heat, you may want to check the thermal resistivity and conductivity in the soil. That helps you understand how the heat from the items is going to move through the soil. If you want to do it yourself, here are some features you should look for when buying soil thermal resistivity testing equipment.
To make it easier to test the soil in multiple places, you should look for a portable thermal resistivity tester. You can buy handheld testers that easily fit into your pocket so you can carry them along with you. That is simpler than toting large equipment to your area. It also means you don't have to extract the soil and take it to a lab. You can just do the testing on site.
2. Works With Paste or Wetness
Typically, to test thermal conductivity or resistance, you need a bit of moisture. That brings out the naturally conductive nature of the soil. Some testers require you to add a paste to the soil, but others can work when the soil is just moist. To ensure you have the greatest amount of flexibility, you want a tester that works in both situations.
If yours only works with paste, you will always need to carry the paste as well as a mixing and testing cup with you. If yours also works with water, you can simply sprinkle the water on the ground, stir a bit and test on the spot.
3. Drift Monitor
When you're checking resistivity or conductivity, you need to think about thermal drift. Drift refers to differences in the readings based on changes in environment temperatures. To compensate for drift, some testers run the sample through a short heating and cooling cycle. Ideally, you should look for equipment that does that.
4. Saves Multiple Readings
You don't want to have to write down all the readings right away. So that you don't have to, you need look for equipment that saves multiple readings. That should include both thermal conductivity and resistivity.
5. Syncs With Other Electronics
Finally, your equipment should sync with other electronics. You should be able to connect your portable tester to your computer with a USB cord, or you should be able to sync it wirelessly with your phone app.
If you're only doing a few tests, it may not be worth it to invest in equipment. Instead, contact a professional who offers soil thermal resistivity testing.