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How to Stop Condensation in Flow Meter Electronics

What can cause condensation inside flow meter housings?

Warm moist air contacting a cold surface which is colder than the air’s dew point will cause condensation. Condensation is the precipitation of water out of the saturated air. Condensation depositing on electrical surfaces can cause damage and should be avoided.

Here are a couple typical examples of how condensate can form inside your flow meter’s electrical housing or enclosure.

If the meter is installed in a hot humid environment, and the environment around the meter cools relatively quickly, the hot humid air inside the meter can precipitate the water vapor out into the housing and deposit inside the housing.

Also, if you have a warm humid environment and you are running a cold fluid through a flow meter, the surfaces that become colder due to the media flow can cause condensation.

Flow Meter Electronics Ruined by Condensation

Why does this happen?

Air can hold water vapor. The amount of water vapor that air can hold is a measure of the air’s humidity and is dependent on the air temperature and the presence of water vapor.

Depending on the % of water vapor in the air and the air temperature, a dew point can vary. Dew point is a temperature at which air is at saturation and water vapor will precipitate out.

The reference table below displays Dew Point temperatures.

Dew Point Table

What is an example?

If the relative humidity of the air is 80% and the ambient air temperature is 80°F, the Dew Point temperature is 73°F. This means that if a flow meter is installed in those environmental conditions, and any component or surface of the flowmeter is at 73°F or lower, the water vapor will condensate out of the air and onto that component or surface.

How do you stop condensation from forming in flow meter housings?

  • A vent port, typically with a Gore-Tex barrier, lets the pressure and temperature within the housing equalize to help prevent temperature differences between the air and surfaces.
  • A drain port, typically at the low point of an electronic housing, allows condensate to drain out of the housing.
  • An additional enclosure can limit the severity of temperature changes and can also keep the item out of direct sunlight.
  • Wrapping the piping and meter can keep the temperatures inside the flow meter housing more constant and shield it from external temperature exposure.
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