What Does a Heat Meter Do?

Every building and apartment connected to the district heating system consumes heat energy in order to maintain an optimal temperature in the premises. A device that controls the amount of heat energy consumed is called a heat meter. Heat meters can also control the parameters of the heat carrier (water circulating in the heating devices).

By using a heat meter, you pay only for the heat actually consumed. So if you are implementing energy saving measures in your building, such as the heat insulation of the walls and floors, the replacement of the entrance doors or replacement of windows in the staircases, etc., you still need a heat meter to register the decrease in the amount of consumed heat and reduce the heating bill accordingly. And such savings may reach 40% of actual expenses.

What is a Heat Meter?

A heat meter is a device for measuring the consumed or transmitted heat energy. It consists of a flow meter, heat carrier input and output temperature sensors and an electronic calculator. Given the flow and temperature data, the meter can calculate the amount of heat consumed by a building or apartment.

To measure the amount of heat, the following formula is used: the heat consumed equals the amount of heat supplied through the flow meter, multiplied by the difference in temperature of the heat carrier in the feed and return pipes, and multiplied by a thermal coefficient, which characterizes the heat parameters.

The legislative and regulatory framework in effect and the heat meter passports define some rules for their installation. For example, a heat meter must be included in the State Register of measuring instruments, like any other measuring device.

Information on the inclusion of heat meters in the Register of measuring instruments can be found on the web site of the State Enterprise "Ukrmetrteststandard" under measurement code 06.01. In addition, the flow meter must be installed on straight sections, and temperature sensors must be installed on the pipe lines with a diameter of not less than 70mm, and must include additional fittings such as filters, ball valves, test pressure gauges and thermometers. This set of equipment is called the heat energy commercial metering unit.

Why a Building-Level Meter, and Not an Apartment-Level Meter?

Let us look at the most typical schemes of the heating systems in the multi-apartment buildings:

2-pipe with vertical layout 1 pipe with verticallayout 1 pipe with horizontal layout

In the first scheme, measuring the heat carrier consumption throughout the apartment requires the installation of the heat meters on each heat emitter. In order to obtain the total heat consumption for an apartment, you must add data on all of the heat emitters in the apartment.

In the second scheme, it is possible to install one flow meter on the riser and temperature sensors on each heat emitter. There is also a need for additional reprogramming of the heat meter, and also the adding of data on each heat emitter to obtain the general consumption in the apartment.

Only single-pipe horizontal systems give the opportunity to meter heat energy consumption with just one heat meter but, unfortunately, such systems make up less than 5% in Ukraine.

Therefore, even for the use of one heat meter per one apartment, it would be necessary to completely reconstruct the building heating system, and the payback period of such measure is very extensive.

Therefore, an efficient solution to the problem of heat energy metering which does not require significant capital investments and reconstruction of the building and its heating system is the installation of building-level commercial metering devices.

Amount of Work for Installation of Heat Energy Commercial Metering Units and Heat Controls

The work needed to install commercial heat energy metering units and heat control equipment at the customer’s site includes several phases:

Phase # 1 – Receipt of the terms of reference. For this purpose, the customer submits to the heat energy supplier an application to introduce the commercial metering of heat energy and (or) the installation of heat control equipment, with a request to issue the technical specifications for installation (when the consumer is the customer) or to approve the terms of reference for design work (when the heat supply company is the customer).

General Requirements for Commercial Heat Energy Metering Devices and Units

Commercial metering units for heat energy are installed in specially designated premises.

The asset holder of the premises is obliged to provide access for the installation, operation, and control over the readings of the heat meters and/or heat control equipment.

Design and Requirements for the Installation of Heat Energy Commercial Metering Units and Heat Controls

Energy metering units and/or heat controls are installed and commissioned under a project designed and approved according to the design norms. The project is designed to identify the specific technical and engineering solutions, estimate the construction cost and fulfillment of the construction and assembly works (detailed drawings).

Commissioning of Heat Energy Commercial Metering Units and Heat Controls at the Consumer
The initiation of operation of the metering unit and/or heat controls at the consumer is done by the representative of the heating utility in the presence of the consumer’s representative, and two identical copies of the relevant act on this are compiled. One copy is received by the consumer’s representative and the other is received by the representative of the heating utility. The act on the commissioning of the modified heat carrier building inlet must be approved by the manager of the heating utility.