How Flow Meters Improve Glycol/Hot Water Applications
Glycol/hot water applications include, but are not limited to, hydronic heating, solar thermal, BTU metering and cost allocation/sub-metering settings. Because there are multiple measurements that need to be taken within these applications, including water flow, supply and return temperature and energy consumed within the liquid solution, it’s important for controls contractors and facilities engineers to select the right flow measurement tools to improve system operations.
Selecting the Right Flow Meter for Your Glycol/Hot Water Application
In glycol/hot water applications, glycol liquid mixtures are used because pipework is often exposed to the outdoor environment, like cooling towers or rooftop units, and the mixture allows systems to operate below 0°F—unlike hot water, which freezes. As beneficial as glycol mixtures are in these applications, glycol can cause significant errors in thermal energy measurement when using a meter designed for water flow alone. That’s why facilities managers must choose a flow meter that can maximize both accuracy and efficiency in glycol/hot water applications and run its calculations based on the percentage of glycol within the water.
Within glycol/hot water applications, facilities managers often need to measure the energy consumed within the liquid solution to determine accurate BTU usage. Understanding the correct amount of energy used helps them determine system efficiency, monitor potential malfunctions and provide energy data for billing. In some cases, this information can be the difference in helping systems operate safely and avoid a shutdown.
Billing for tenant consumption and usage is another reason why facilities managers seek out flow measurement solutions. The right flow meter will monitor consumption in glycol/hot water applications so that managers can monitor how much water and energy is being used and then accurately bill tenants accordingly.
Without the proper mixture of water and glycol, systems can lose efficiency over time and increase the chances of a malfunction. Flow meters help facilities managers monitor the pump system carefully and make necessary adjustments to assure the pumps and other equipment function correctly for as long as possible. Meters also aid managers in making necessary changes when they see degradation in the flow output.