Factors to Consider When Choosing a Flow Meter

Last updated on April 21st, 2021 at 05:47 pm

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Their accuracy of flow measurement depends on the type of flow meter you are using when dealing with fluid and water utilities. There is a gradual but steady flow meter improvement currently going on. This has led to the introduction of diverse flow meters that meets various industrial application requirements. Each application’s uniqueness demands special kinds of flow meters that meet the flow accuracy needed in an industrial plant. Of course, the cost of buying a flow meter plays a great role when choosing a flow meter. However, there are also other factors that you need to consider when selecting an effective flow meter. Here are some of them that will help you make an informed decision when buying a flow meter. 

Know-How Measurement is Done 

When you want to select an effective flow meter that will work according to your needs, you must first understand the measurement process and the entire system. While in the construction phase, you need to discuss with the plant operators how the flow meter will be installed, calibrated, accessed, and maintained. The question that should linger in your mind is whether the flow rate needs to be continuous or totaled—information such as whether the information needs to be transmitted manually or automatically. The best starting point that will help you get the right flow meter for your application is knowing how it will be used. 

The Kind of Media Being Measured

Another factor that the user needs to consider when searching for a flow meter is the media being measured. The fluid’s properties need to be known, such as temperature ranges, conductivity, viscosity, and pressure needs to be known. How clean or dirty the fluid is should also be put into consideration. All these factors will affect the type of flow meter that you want to buy. If the facility is already running and not new, the matrix data needs to be reviewed and understood before setting off to buy a flow meter. New facilities can use standard engineering criteria to understand better what kind of flow meter is needed. This type of flow meter belongs to the velocity flow meter category. It can measure abs and give out water readings that contain sand, iron, dirt, or any other contaminant. However, if you want to measure wastewater, you need to choose another type of meter because wastewater can damage this meter type.

Measuring the flow rate of conductive fluids requires an electromagnetic flowmeter that measures more accurately. Electromagnetic flow meters are cost-effective to maintain because they don’t have any moving parts. You can use these flow meters to measure sludges, wastewater, and drinking water. 

Certification and Accuracy Range Requirements

It is also advisable to consider the accuracy range and certification requirements before purchasing a flow meter. All fluids don’t require the same accuracy levels. While some will need high accuracy levels because of the safety requirements, others will make nerd low accuracy levels that are not necessary. Measurement of flow that is needed in controlling chemical feed or billing purposes also needs higher accuracy levels. Regulatory authority may also influence the purchasing decision when looking for a flow meter. There are permit limits and maximum flow rate required when dealing with water and wastewater systems. As these flow meters measure flow rate, they report flow rate daily. As you search for the right flow meter to use in your application, remember to check any existing permits or accuracy requirements. Measurement range should also be looked into. Since engineers always size equipment based on a 20-year growth period, it may lead to future problems when the flow rate is much less than expected.

Installation and the Geographical Location

When looking for proper flow meters, one should also consider the location where the flow meter will be installed. Some flowmeters work more effectively when placed horizontally, while others work well when installed vertically. Some may not easily succumb to weather elements, while others need to be installed inside to prevent wear and tear due to weather elements. Even if you buy the most sophisticated flow meter and fail to install it properly, it may not give you the desired readings. Forcing a flow meter to fit inside a tight space will only lead to inaccurate readings or damages due to elements.

Flow Interruption or Disturbances

Flow disturbances or interruption is prevented by placing a straight running pipe before and after the flowmeter. Measurement errors of up to 50% may come from pipe bends, tees, valves, and reducers. For a new system or facility, designing straight runs is easy. This is not the same case when installing a straight line in an old facility. Engineers may be forced to redo the entire system to ensure that the flowmeter is fitted properly. Accuracy levels are also increased using flow conditioners. Under these conditions, you will find out that some meters measure more accurately than others. 

The Pipe Size, Material, and How it’s Installed 

While looking for a proper flowmeter to fit or install in your system, it is also advisable to consider the size, the material, and how the pipe is installed in terms of direction. When measuring substances in liquids state, a downward flow is not good and should be avoided if you want the flow rate to be accurate. Most pipes are oversized because engineers are leaving enough room for future expansion. This will, however, create measurement problems when flow pressure isn’t full. 


Flow rate accuracy is dependent on all these factors. Failure to observe any of them may lead to inaccuracies when measuring gases or fluids. If you have all the requirements, but you are not sure which flowmeter will suit your application, it is best that you consult the manufacturer who will give guidance on how to select a flow meter. 

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