How Does a Water Flow Meter Work?

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Courtesy of Sierra Instruments, Inc.

A water flow meter works by measuring the amount of water that passes though the flow meter. The most common mechanical types work by measuring the speed of flowing water that causes a turbine or piston to rotate. The volumetric flow rate of the water is proportional to the rotational speed. Other water flow meters include ultrasonic, magnetic and vortex flow meters.

The best type of water flow meter to use depends upon the application:

  • Mechanical type flow meters may clog up or not work at low flows.
  • Eletromagnetic flow meters cannot work on pure water since there are no ions to measure.
  • Insertion vortex meters work well on very large pipes since they can be inserted into the flow through the wall.
  • Ultrasonic meters can measure water or other liquid flow from outside of the pipe by shooting pulses of sound through the pipe walls.

Depending upon the specific application, the best water flow meter working technology can be selected.  Some flow meters work better when measuring different things. For example, volumetric flow meters can help maintain the health of your water treatment facilities with accurate measurement, and ultrasonic meters are the perfect solution for measuring water flow in large pipes.

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