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Thread: Water Flow Meters

  1. #1
    Automated Home Guru Nad's Avatar
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    Default Water Flow Meters

    Hi all,

    Me again ... I was wondering if anyone has any thoughts on a sensibly priced water flow meter? I saw the thread that Chris created back in 2008 and not much since then so was wondering how people have gotten on with this type of thing? I would like to put them on the hot and cold side of each of the taps, showers and sinks. I'd mainly use them for presence detection so the lights don't go out while you are having a shower, but it's good to know how much water is being used and to have a warning if the kids have left a tap running.

    There seems to be 2 main categories of sensor on the market right now, the really cheap plastic ones and the crazy expensive ones and not a lot in the middle.

    These cheapo ones are cheap enough to be used on every water connection in the house but I'm not sure if it's worth the hassle of dealing with a leak a few years down the line. The sinks are not so much of an issue if these start to leak but all the showers have valves recessed into walls which would be a little more problematic to change out. There is this one from RS but is the brass housing really worth that much.

    As always, any thoughts and ideas are very welcomed

    Thanks,
    Nad

  2. #2
    Automated Home Legend Paul_B's Avatar
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    Nad,

    I've looked into this a number of times and came to similar conclusion to yours. Cheap units that have a lot of compromise and any output needs manipulation to get something into Cortex, or very expensive. In the end I cam across a reasonable compromise at Meter UK which has hot and cold meters with pulse output at a price of 40-50.

    Paul

  3. #3
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    some years down the road, our set up has been fine ...

    we put our meters on heat transfer loops, rather than water outlets, to help us optimise heat transfer effectiveness & efficiency - using variable-speed pumps - all managed by Cortex, 'though devising & implementing the necessary algorithms is only now coming to the top of our to-do list (so far, therefore, our pumps have being running at set / self-determined speeds, though they are switched by Cortex) ...

    ISTR that Paul's meters had better resolution than ours, which would be good ...

    lower cost vending machine meters (which miss-out the display & just give a pulse) would likely be reliable, and offer even better resolution, but ISTR Cortex couldn't cope with the pulse rate, at least of the ones we considered ...

    got an e-mail from DMS the other day, saying they had a clearance sale on - no idea of details, etc - but : http://www.dmsltd.com

    we use solenoids + touch-sensors for our water-outlets, connected into Cortex, and have linked them into the presence loops (can be done via virtual motion sensors, and more directly, depending on what's wanted), which might offer another option ...

    and ISTR there are such things as flow switches, that might offer another route ...
    Last edited by chris_j_hunter; 16th February 2016 at 01:49 PM.

  4. #4
    Automated Home Guru Nad's Avatar
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    I've decided to just go with these on the hot water side for now. I've had one of them on the old shower for several years with no issues so I'm comfortable using them again.

    I can use the output to set the presence and extraction system into boost mode.

    I'll investigate the use of the flow meters later when i have more time. I can still access the pipe work for 2 of the bathrooms once they have finished boarding up, one will be inaccessible but such is life On the bright side, that one will be the bathroom that will get the least use.

  5. #5
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    on the subject of bathrooms, curious to know - did you perhaps also look at electrical flush of WCs ...

    when we tried to include this, we had to get quotes, and they were far from what we hoped !

    One thought was to eliminate the cistern & use a solenoid, timed by Cortex - pipe diameter had to be large, to get the flow, and so the solenoid, too, and isolating from the mains was a complication ... when it came to it, though, we ran out of time & went conventional, 'though we did install the wiring & the sensors etc, for use some time later ...
    Last edited by chris_j_hunter; 16th February 2016 at 04:46 PM.

  6. #6
    Automated Home Guru Nad's Avatar
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    I have to admit the thought of electrical flush systems didn't even cross my mind!
    However, I do have the cisterns on a separate water loop that will eventually be connected to the rain water tanks. At the moment they are connected to the mains supply as there is no funding for rain water tanks

  7. #7
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    in our house, some people have destructive tendencies when it comes to operating the conventional lever / handle, meaning the cast-metal handles and the usual plastic syphon mechanism both fatigue & break - perhaps because, in a previous life, flicking / twisting the handle or chain was somehow needed ... anyway, hence my question ! Our conventional arrangement this time has the German push-button, in the hope of stopping the rot ... but something electric & a proximity sensor, all managed by Cortex, would have been better & less expensive, and would also probably have allowed us to save water !
    Last edited by chris_j_hunter; 16th February 2016 at 07:22 PM.

  8. #8
    Automated Home Guru Nad's Avatar
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    "Destructive tendencies when it comes to operating the conventional lever / handle" ... do you live with the Hulk ... or are you the Hulk

    I have to admit, we've never really had any issues with that. Also we did go for quality bathroom fixtures and fittings this time around as the stuff we had before (which were from the likes of bathstore and victoria plumb et al.) were OK but didn't ware as well over time. I just hope that this decision doesn't come and bite me in the back side!

  9. #9
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    BTW, good to hear those water switches work well ... we've installed PRVs, one per floor, so such a flow switch + Cortex timing might well give a reasonable measure of flow rate, perhaps even with empirical adjustments to take into account reduced flows when other outlets are also running ...

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