Expert’s answer: Why do I need condensate pots in a steam flow measurement?

Condensate pots often show up in steam applications with differential pressure (DP) or multivariable transmitters.  However, today we have other technologies to eliminate this type of installation. Vortex meters can work, although they are limited by the size of the pipe, and Annubars or orifice plates can handle even high temperatures.

But let’s look at the reasons you might need condensate pots in steam applications. Sometimes you can have accuracy problems with your impulse lines. Condensate pots can ameliorate those. Also, high temperatures can damage your sensor. Finally, you can avoid flashing in the impulse lines, which happens during abrupt changes of temperature.

If you have to install condensate pots, take care to do so correctly, or you might as well not bother.

image of condensate pots
Courtesy of Instrumentation-fittings

Guidelines for installing condensate pots

  • Connect the condensate pots to the high pressure (HP) and low pressure (HP) impulse lines of the transmitter.
  • Install the pots horizontally, although some vendors say you can install vertically too.
  • Make sure you install both at the same level to avoid affecting meter performance.
  • DP or multivariable flow meters have go below the condensate pots and steam pipe.
  • Make sure you have the same impulse-line length for the high and low pressure.
  • The condensate pots should have the same level of filled liquid, preferably an anti-freezing product like glycol instead of water.
  • Consider installing your manifold vertically, although again, some vendors say horizontally can work too.

And if you have questions, you know where to find us!

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Other resources that might interest you

Pressure transmitter level calculation
Which type of pressure transmitter should I use for level measurement if my tank is open to atmosphere? How do I calculate the level range?

Differential pressure applications
In what applications can I use a differential pressure transmitter?

Pressure process accuracy
Is the pressure accuracy always the same or just when the product is shipped?

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