Understanding the Different Types of Industrial Water Meters

Water Flow Meter Types

Water meters can be used in several ways on a typical cooling tower water treatment system, which is why it’s important to choose the appropriate type of meter for the application.  For instance, make-up water is generally clean and free of solid contaminants so meters with delicate moving parts, such as turbines or paddle wheels, perform well.  On the contrary, blowdown water contains all sorts of “junk” which would clog up such meters, resulting in inaccurate readings or complete failure.  For blowdown, it is commonly recommended that a contact-head or magnetic flow meter is used.

Here, we’ll break down the different types of industrial water meters and help you pick the best option for your application.

Turbine

Turbine flow meters are mechanical meters that have a freely rotating turbine set in the path of the water flow. The flow causes the turbine to spin. The rate of spin results in a pulse output to the controller. Typically, the meter comes with a documented manufacturer’s rated “K-factor” which must be set in the controller for it to interpret the pulse frequency correctly.  Lakewood uses Autotrol turbine meters.  Setup on a Lakewood controller is as simple as selecting “Autotrol 1 inch” or “Autotrol 2 inch”.  Turbine meters are accurate and cost effective, but should only be used for make-up water applications. 

Turbine Water Meter

 

  1500 Series Turbine Meter Wiring

Paddle Wheel

Paddlewheel flow meters are mechanical meters that have a freely rotating paddlewheel set in the path of the water flow. The flow causes the wheel to spin. The rate of spin results in a pulse output to the controller. The meter comes with a documented manufacturer’s rated “K-factor” which must be set in the controller for it to interpret the pulse frequency correctly. Paddlewheel flow meters are simple and reliable, but should only be used for make-up water applications.

Paddle Wheel Water Meter1500 Series Paddle Wheel Meter Wiring

Contact-Head

Contact-head flow meters are mechanical meters that have a freely rotating impeller set in the path of the water flow. The flow causes the impeller to spin and rotate a disc such that a contact closure occurs as the set volume has passed through. This is a dry contact. They are typically available in set rates of 1, 10 or 100 gallons per contact. Contact-head meters are known for long life, good tolerance to contaminants and high accuracy.

Contact Head Water Meter1500 Series Contact Head Meter Wiring

Magnetic

Electromagnetic flow meters, commonly known as magmeters, have no moving parts. They detect flow by generating a magnetic field and measuring the electromotive force (EMF) as a voltage which corresponds directly to the rate of flow. The meter comes with a documented manufacturer’s rated “K-factor” which must be set in the controller for it to interpret the pulse frequency correctly. Magmeters are extremely accurate and reliable, but a bit more expensive than the other types mentioned. Since they have no moving parts, they are ideal for blowdown applications, as they are not affected by contaminants or debris in the water.

Magnetic Water Meter              1500 Series Magnetic Meter Wiring

If you have any questions on how to choose the right water flow meter type, feel free to reach out to us! Our experts will assist you and find the best solution for your commercial application.

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