Meters on German radiators - central heating

89 posts in this topic

Posted

today the fellah from the water/heat company is coming to our apartment to read the meters...

i'm an engineer and for the past two years i've been trying to figure out how exactly the meters that are stuck onto the side of the radiators work... i've asked all my colleagues and nobody can give me a straight answer...

do they gauge how much heat you have used throughout the year by measuring the amount of liquid that has evaporated from the little tubes? do they eventaully have to fill up the tubes again?

is this not open to a lot of abuse? if this is their sole measure it can't be very accurate... or can it?

enlighten me please!!!

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Posted

Yes, that's how they work. When they come to read them they replace the little unit with a new one and it starts all over again. If you can take it off the heater yourself then in theory nothing is going out of it and you could probably save some money.

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Posted

are you sure they actually replace them each time? i don't think they did last time...

i think they must just measure the difference and replace when it gets close to the end

...but what if you have a mega hot summer and the meter is sitting in the direct sun or at least a reflection... the liquid can evaporate away and you have to pay for nothing?

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Posted

Maybe they don't replace everytime then.

I'm sure it's not a perfect system, but most people seem to think that overall it works out reasonably well. I'm gonna have a closer look at mine this evening and figure it out. I'm pretty sure they just come off with a normal screwdriver.

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Posted

I don't geddit. Surely the guy from the gas company just reads the gas meter? I would say the thingy on the radiator is just some kind of rough indication of how efficient the heating is or something (i.e. how much gas was used over the year vs how hot it was in the apartment), just for the maintenance dude.

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Posted

In my apartment they get replaced every year. They're fixed on with rivets - you can't remove them without breaking the rivets, and therefore alerting the meter-reader to your fraudulent behaviour.

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Posted

:o you sir, are a google genius...

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Posted

@ mysteryman

the thing is, your whole building (or even street) is working off the one hot water supply, so they have to have a way of checking each apartment individually... and the meter reading guy definitely does go about and read each one...

and then you have to sign it off that what he has noted is what's on the meter... even though only the guy knows how to read them...

but the link that keydeck found seems to be the fellah alright... they say it works with and accuracy of +/- 5%... i wonder would they accept if i paid my bill with an accuracy of +/- 5%

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Posted

Ah ok, in my building everyone has their own gas burner.

I presume that the reading is only affected by the back surface of the gauge and hence will not be affected by ambient temperature.

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Posted

to conclude...

the fellah came yesterday afternoon and he changed the tubes in all of the meters...

another one of lifes mysteries solved... i slept much better last night!!!

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Posted

Right, so lets assume the evaporation theory.

Problem number one:

I live underneathe the roof (Dachgeschoss) and its gets much warmer in my flat over summer as in the other flats. So in theory, these silly tubes will evaporate more in my flat over summer than in the others (even if the heating was turned off over summer). However, I assume that the temperature in the room is irrrelevant: the liquid should not evaporate at 40 degrees, but only at the high temperatures you find directly next to the radiators. So the fact that my room is warm is irrelevant.

Can anyone confirm my "does not evaporate at 40 degrees, only higher" theory??? Otherwise I'm fcuked. Or I have to call out the guy to measure the things just after they turn off the heating at the start of summer and again at the end of summer. We only have one boiler...

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Posted

Have a read of Keydeck's link, but there is a plate on the back of the device which conducts the heat straight from the rad into the little tube thing - ambient temperature will have little or no effect - it's +/-5% effective, and some of that 5% is probably ambient temperature related, but it's nothing serious either way.

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Posted

NoGo,

The tubes in my radiators don't appear to evaporate - they change color from top to bottom. But I still have no idea how it works, but judging by this thread it's so widespread that it must be sufficiently accurate to keep the natives happy. And if the natives are happy with it - you needn't worry too much.

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Posted

Erm... even when the heating is switched off, a minimal level of evaporation of the measuring liquid can occur. We call this 'cold evaporation'. For heat allocation meters based on the evaporator principle, any cold evaporation is taken into consideration according to the European Standard EN-835, Item 5.4, by adding a statistically-determined amount of measuring liquid.

Plus, here's another interesting document on the subject.

http://www.worldbank.org/html/fpd/energy/p...eatmetering.pdf

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Posted

You're just a wealth of fascinating information aren't you, Keydeck?

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Posted

What I want to know is why the meter readers have to come round at such inconvenient times and then charge you for making a 2nd appointment because you weren't at home the first time...

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Posted

I'm trying to make an effort to show that I'm not feeling completely ropey after the pile of pints in Leons & free shots of Shirley Bassey that he kept throwing our way.

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Posted

What I want to know is why the meter readers have to come round at such inconvenient times and then charge you for making a 2nd appointment because you weren't at home the first time...

well, it's not all a bed of roses for them...

my girlfriend, who has just moved here, was there to meet them yesterday and told me how she was 'practicing' her german on them... i'd say they had to fight to get to the door...

alles klar? alles in ordnung? prima! alles klar? alles in ordnung? prima! alles klar? alles in ordnung? prima!... :D

keydeck, how was the heating system in leon's? i'm gonna have to check this place out this weekend, its quite close to home...

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Posted

On a similar topic,

Anybody know what the symbols mean on those thermostats attached to the radiator? You know the ones where you turn the valve to different positions to regulate the temperature in the room. The manufacturer is Danfoss, and have scoured their website but can't find any info at all. Just wanted to know how i can maximise the heat during the cold bit of the year. Any ideas?

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Posted

"1" = lowest temperature

"9" = highest temperature

/coat

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Posted

haw haw!

I don't have arabic numerals, i have roman ones and also lots of other symbols...

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Posted

"My radiators go up to 10. It's one warmer isn't it? It's not 9.. you see most blokes will be keeping warm at 9, we're on 10 here...all the way up"

"Why didn't they just make 9 warmer?"

"Mine goes to 10"

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Posted

long live 'the tap'!

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Posted

I don't have arabic numerals, i have roman ones and also lots of other symbols...

"I" = lowest temperature

"IX" = highest temperature

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