1. As I don't have my CCSV yet, I can't vouch for temp, but I have read many posts that suggest that it is accurite.
2. Propane tanks should always be opened fully ( when it is open all the way, I back it off slightly) use the burner valve for all adjustments. When I'm all done cooking, I shut off the tank first to drain the hose, then the cooker.
3. An empty smoker will run hotter, as there is nothing to absorb the heat.
Hope that helps.