Beyond the important of proper meter selection, flow meter installation has a huge effect on flow meter calibration and repair cost and frequency in the future. Improper installation can lead to operational problems, frequent flow meter calibration, and expensive repairs, so it is important to avoid making the common mistakes made above to ensure correct and efficient operations and measurement. Avoid these common mistakes during installation to prolong the life of your meter, ensure proper operation, and avoid costly repairs and constant calibration.
When selecting a flow meter, it is important to consider exactly where and how the device will be installed, as this can significantly affect both accuracy and efficiency. Obstructions in the pipeline such as joints, bends or valves in close proximity to the meter can all cause distortions in flow, affecting flow meter accuracy and repeatability. To ensure best results, flow meters should be installed in locations where there are several straight-lengths of unobstructed pipeline both upstream and downstream of the meter. Also consider the following:
- In liquid service, be sure the meter is installed in a way that allows it to always be full of liquid so gas/vapor to not alter the accuracy of the meter.
- In gas/vapor service ensure the opposite, that the meter is always full of gas/vapor so liquid does not change the accuracy of the meter.
- Be careful in two-phase flow measurement such as liquid gas/ or liquid/solid flow. It is easy for accuracy to be affected and plugging can easily occur in liquid/solid flow streams.
There are a number of things that can go wrong with the actually installation itself such as putting the meter in backwards, not putting it in the center of the pipe, the placement of the meter in relation to the control valve, improper installation range, irregular upstream piping configurations, gaskets or other protrusions into the line, incorrect orientation of a flow sampling sensor into the flow stream, etc. Be sure to inspect your installation carefully and research the manufacturer’s installation recommendations before buying a flow meter, particularly where installation space is limited.