A pool flow meter is a pretty helpful tool to have at hand but is often overlooked by pool owners. It measures the rate of water flow in a swimming pool’s plumbing system and provides an accurate reading of the flow rate, helping you better maintain the operation of the pool’s filtration and heating systems.
In this article, I’ll walk you through the steps to properly install a pool flow meter, so grab your tools and let’s dive in!
- You’ll need a hacksaw, unions, wrench, gaskets, and Teflon tape to install a pool flow meter.
- Choose the right location during installation and measure 2-3 times before making any final cuts to the pipe for a smooth installation.
- After installation, check for leaks immediately by turning on your pump and running a few stress tests on the piping to ensure the flow meter is functioning without problems.
Before you begin installing a pool flow meter, make sure you have all of the necessary supplies on hand. Here’s a checklist of the supplies you’ll need to install a pool flow meter:
- Hacksaw: You’ll need a hacksaw to cut the return line where you want to install the flow meter.
- Sandpaper: This is needed after cutting the return line.
- Unions: You’ll have to install unions on both sides of the cut pipe (this makes it easy to remove the flow meter for cleaning or replacement).
- Wrench: You’ll need a wrench to tighten the unions on both sides of the flow meter.
- Gaskets/O-rings: These are often included with the flow meter and are necessary to prevent leaks.
- Teflon tape: You’ll need tape to wrap around the threads of the unions before tightening to ensure a watertight seal.
Step-By-Step Guide: How To Install A Pool Flow Meter
Installing a pool flow meter is an excellent way to monitor your pool water flow rate to ensure everything functions as optimally as possible. Here’s my step-by-step guide on how to install a pool flow meter.
Step One: Figure Out Where to Install It
The first step is determining where to install the flow meter. It should be placed on the return line after the pool heater and before any other pool equipment. This location will give you an accurate reading of the water’s flow rate.
Step Two: Turn Off the Pool Pump
Before installing the flow meter, turn off the pool pump to prevent water from flowing through the plumbing and relieve any water pressure using the relief valve on top of the filter.
Step Three: Cut the Return Line
Use a hacksaw to cut the return line where you want to install the flow meter. You’ll need to cut a section that is long enough to accommodate the flow meter. Once this is done, sand down any rough edges with some sandpaper.
Step Four: Install Unions
Install unions on both sides of the cut pipe. These make it easy to remove the flow meter for cleaning or replacement in the future.
Step Five: Install the Flow Meter
Install the flow meter between the two unions, and install any gaskets or O-rings that come with the meter.
Step Six: Tighten the Unions
Tighten the unions on both sides of the flow meter using a wrench. Make sure they are tightened enough to prevent leaks but not so tight that they damage the flow meter. Use Teflon tape to wrap around the threads of the unions before tightening to ensure a watertight seal.
Step Seven: Turn On the Pump
Turn on the pump and check for any issues before moving on to the next steps.
Step Eight: Monitor and Maintain
And you’re done! Now that you’ve calibrated the flow meter, you can use it to monitor the flow rate. This will help you down the line to determine if there are any issues with the pool’s plumbing or equipment needing addressed.
Installing Analog, Digital, and Inline Flow Meters
The above step-by-step guide is usually relevant to all three types of flow meters, but in some cases, it can differ.
For example, cutting a section of the pipe may not be necessary for some analog and digital flow meter models. Instead, you may simply need to:
- Measure the end of the meter.
- Drill a hole into your pipe, making sure to use the right size bit for the drill.
- Use the clamps on the meter to hold it in place.
For digital flow meters specifically, you’ll also need to connect the flow meter to power. To do so, follow these steps:
- Locate the power connection point by looking for the “Power” label.
- Connect the power cord or wiring connectors to the appropriate terminals or connectors on the meter.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and ensure everything is properly secured and aligned.
- Ensure there are no loose or exposed wires.
To ensure proper installation of your specific pool flow meter, always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions, as they will provide the most accurate and up-to-date guidance for your particular flow meter model. If you lack confidence in your DIY skills, consult a professional for help.
Tips For Properly Installing Your Pool Flow Meter
If you’re new to DIY or simply need pointers to help you install the pool flow meter correctly, I’ve got you covered. Here are some tips to help you properly install your pool flow meter.
Choose the Right Location
This might sound obvious, but you must be sure you’ve chosen the right spot to install your pool flow meter. Ideally, you should install the pool flow meter on the return line after the pool heater and before any other equipment. This spot will give you an accurate reading of the water flow rate entering the pool. You should also ensure you find a spot you can easily access so that you can read the flow rate when needed.
Measure Twice, Cut Once
The first rule of DIY is to never trust your initial measurements. Measure twice or even three times to get an accurate reading before you cut the pipe where you want to install the flow meter. Or, if you are drilling, make sure you measure the end of the meter at least twice. This way, you won’t beat yourself up later if you cut the wrong length or mess up.
Check for Leaks Immediately
After installing the flow meter, immediately turn on the pump and check for leaks or too much pressure instead of putting it off for later. If there are any leaks, you can take action ASAP before the pipe is damaged.
Clean the Flow Meter
Clean the meter upon installation and do so regularly to ensure it remains accurate and reliable. Over time, pool flow meters can accumulate debris, sediment, and other contaminants that can affect the accuracy of the flow rate measurements.
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Popular Pool Flow Meters
Pool flow meters cost around $70-$250. If you’re wondering which ones to choose, here are some popular pool flow meters available on the market. I linked the installation manuals for each one.
Blue-White R-300 FLOWREAD Residential Pool Flow Meter
If you’re looking for an analog flow meter that is super easy to install, look no further than this analog pool flow meter. This Blue-White FLOWREAD flow meter has an easy-to-read scale with a UV screen on both sides of the meter body. This flow meter comes in three different sizes, perfect for 1.5”, 2”, and 2.5” pipes.
Here is the installation manual for this flow meter.
H2 Flow Controls FV-C Control FlowVis
The H2 Flow FlowVis is a popular inline flow meter and is relatively easy to install, as it can be installed in any direction (even vertically!) and on uneven piping. It provides accurate readings of the water flow rate of 2.01% between 20 to 110 GPM. This pool flow meter comes in 1.5”, 2”, and 2.5” sizes.
If you want to install the H2 Flow FlowVis, here is the instruction manual.
Rola-Chem 570 Flowmeter
The Rola-Chem 570 flowmeter fits anything from a 1” to a 3” pipe and ranges from 40 to 140 GPM for a 2” flow meter. This product comes pre-calibrated and is easy to install. This model has three types: the side mount, top mount, and vertical mount, so you can pick the model that best suits your pipes.
To install the Rola-Chem 570 flow meter, check out the manufacturer’s instructions.
Troubleshooting a Pool Flow Meter
If you’re experiencing issues with your pool flow meter, here are points to keep in mind. You can read my complete troubleshooting guide for when your pool flow meter isn’t working for more tips.
Check for Obstructions
Ensure there are no obstructions in the flow meter that could affect the reading. For example, debris, such as leaves, twigs, or even the occasional nesting rodent, can accumulate inside the flow meter and cause inaccurate readings.
Verify Proper Installation
Double-check that the flow meter is properly installed and that all connections and fittings are tight. Any leaks or loose connections can affect the accuracy of the flow meter. Make sure the flow meter is correctly calibrated if needed.
Check the Filtration System
If the flow meter is still not reading accurately, it may indicate a problem with the pool’s plumbing system. Check for any blockages or restrictions in the filtration system that could affect the flow rate.
If the flow meter is damaged or has reached the end of its useful life, it may need to be replaced entirely.
Questions about pool flow meters? Shoot me a message!