Condensate return/boiler feed applications play a critical role in boiler system operation. As water flows through a boiler, its chemical properties can damage the system—treatment is necessary to control alkalinity, prevent scaling, correct pH and control conductivity. Frequent testing with the correct flow meters ensures that supply water is high quality and any low-quality water is removed. Flow meters must also accurately measure boiler feed and blowdown flow on a volumetric basis.
Condensate return applications have a major impact on system productivity, energy efficiency and site reliability because they return condensate to the boiler, which means less make-up water needs to be used. Returning condensate also increases efficiency of the boiler by reducing the required temperature increase of the feed water. In both boiler feed and condensate return applications, flow measurement is of the utmost importance to ensure water quality and proper efficiency throughout the application.
Controls contractors and other key stakeholders can ensure the accuracy of their condensate return and boiler feed applications by investing in the proper flow instrumentation tools. Both applications require volumetric measurement with accuracies of 2% or better that have the ability to capture low flow. Without proper measurement, poor water quality and inefficient operation can cause a malfunction or application shutdown.
Ultrasonic flow meters are a non-invasive solution that have a low cost of ownership. Our Dynasonics® TFX-5000 ultrasonic clamp-on flow meter is a common selection for condensate return/boiler feed applications because of its impressive accuracy, reduced installation cost and wide flow range, which measures 0.07…33,000 gallons per minute (gpm). In terms of velocity, this meter measures up to 40 feet per second (ft/s) depending on pipe size.
Electromagnetic flow meters are another ideal solution in condensate return/boiler feed applications. Our ModMAG® M-Series® electromagnetic meters offer low straight-pipe requirements, high accuracy rates and an open flow tube design, which virtually eliminates pressure loss. These meters also require little to no maintenance and operate precisely within a wide range of temperatures.
In both condensate return and boiler feed applications, impeller (turbine) technology is an economical and easy-to-install solution. Take our Impeller SDI Series flow sensor, for example—it features a four-blade, heavy-gauge, stainless-steel design that measures the velocity of flow as it passes through and responds quickly to changes in flow rate. These flow sensors offer accuracies of + 1.0%, are non-fouling and don’t require custom calibration. If an issue arises, the insertion meter can be removed from the pipe using the stainless-steel valve assembly. The turbine can then be replaced without the need to send the meter back to the factory for recalibration. This provides greater flexibility by reducing shutdown time and restoring meter reads more quickly.
Positive displacement meters are one of the most cost-effective methods for metering industrial fluids. Our Recordall® Disc Series meters and Industrial Disc Series meters are extremely rugged, reliable and long-lasting, so maintenance is rarely required. All parts are designed and built out of materials that will meet your specific application requirements to provide accurate flow measurement with accuracies of up to +1.5%.
Don’t trust just any flow meter in your condensate return/boiler feed application. Work with our experts to determine which meter type will operate the most accurately and efficiently within your system. Contact our product experts or learn more about the other hydronic applications our solutions fit within.
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