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7 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Pressure Gauge

Choosing the correct pressure gauge for your application can be tricky. With so many different pressure gauges on the market, it’s easy to make a mistake that could cost you time and money in the long run. 

To ensure you make the right decision, it’s essential to understand some of the common mistakes people make when selecting a pressure gauge. PCI, a supplier of top-quality process instrumentation, will look at 7 of the most common mistakes to avoid when choosing a pressure gauge.

1) Not knowing the specs of your application

When choosing a pressure gauge, the essential step is understanding the specifications of your application. Without knowing the specs of your application, you may end up purchasing an inappropriate pressure gauge that won’t suit your needs.

It’s essential to know the required range and accuracy of the pressure gauge you need before you start shopping. For example, if you’re looking for a pressure gauge to measure both high and low pressure, you must know the exact pressure range to select the correct model.

You also need to consider the environmental conditions in which the pressure gauge will be used. You should check whether the model you’re considering is suitable for extreme temperatures or has any limitations due to its design.

Finally, make sure that the pressure gauge you choose can handle any shock and vibration that may occur during use. Some pressure gauges are more robust than others, so research before making your final decision.

2) Buying a pressure gauge without knowing the different types

When shopping for a pressure gauge, it’s essential to know the different available types is vital. Pressure gauges come in various shapes, sizes, and styles, so it’s necessary to understand the features and benefits of each.

The most common types of pressure gauges are analog, digital, and dial. Analog pressure gauges are designed with a traditional display that requires users to read the values manually. 

They are often used in industrial and commercial applications, where precise measurements are optional. Digital pressure gauges, on the other hand, feature a digital LCD or LED display that is easy to read. 

They offer high accuracy and fast response times for more exact measurements. Lastly, dial pressure gauges are often used in hazardous environments and provide superior accuracy over analog models. 

When deciding which type of pressure gauge you need for your application, it’s essential to consider the environment where it will be used, the accuracy required, and any other safety features that may be necessary.

3) Not knowing what pressure units to use

Choosing the correct pressure gauge for your application requires knowing what pressure units to measure. Pressure gauges typically come in three units of measurement: psi, bar, and kPa. Therefore, selecting a pressure gauge that can accurately read the pressure unit you require is essential. 

Psi (pounds per square inch) is the most commonly used pressure unit. Bar is the standard for European applications, while kPa (kilopascals) is used for applications in Canada and Australia. 

Knowing the pressure units used in your area is essential when selecting a pressure gauge for your needs.

4) Not considering the environment where the pressure gauge will be used

One of the most common mistakes when choosing a pressure gauge is not considering the domain where it will be used. Different environments, such as extreme temperatures or corrosive atmospheres, can require unique material construction or protective coatings to ensure the accuracy and longevity of the gauge.

It’s essential to check the conditions where your pressure gauge will operate and choose a model that can withstand them. For example, if the temperature ranges are extreme, look for a pressure gauge with a high-temperature range or a specialized thermowell. 

If the environment is corrosive, choose a material that can withstand it. These steps ensure your pressure gauge lasts longer and delivers accurate readings.

5) Not knowing how often you need to calibrate your pressure gauge

Calibrating a pressure gauge regularly is essential to ensure its accuracy and reliability. How often a pressure gauge should be calibrated depends on the application, but it’s necessary to understand that there are guidelines for this purpose. 

For example, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) recommends that industrial pressure gauges be calibrated at least once a year or more often, depending on their environment.

It’s also important to remember that the accuracy of your gauge may be affected by certain conditions, such as temperature changes, vibration, shock, and corrosion, which can cause the indicator to give inaccurate readings. This means that you should monitor your pressure gauge's accuracy regularly and calibrate it when necessary.

When deciding how often to calibrate your pressure gauge, it’s essential to consider its environment, the type of pressure being measured, and any other factors that may affect its accuracy. By doing so, you’ll be able to determine how often you need to calibrate your pressure gauge to ensure its accuracy.

6) Not knowing the difference between NPT and BSP threads

When choosing a pressure gauge, one of the most important things to be aware of is the difference between NPT and BSP threads. NPT stands for National Pipe Thread, and BSP stands for British Standard Pipe Thread. Both types of threads are used in pressure gauges, but they are not interchangeable. 

To ensure you get the right fit, know what type of thread your application requires. For example, NPT threads have a tapered shape and are widely used in North America, while BSP threads have a similar shape and are commonly used in Europe. 

Both thread types come in different sizes and must match the connection you intend to use them on. Time to check the thread size and type can save you from headaches later.

7) Not knowing what material your pressure gauge should be made of

When choosing a pressure gauge, you need to consider what material it is made of. Different materials will have other properties, so choosing the right one for your application is essential. 

Stainless steel and brass are the most common materials used for pressure gauges, but other materials may be more suitable depending on the environment. For example, if you’re using a pressure gauge in a corrosive environment, you should opt for one made from plastic or ceramic. 

Additionally, suppose your application is exposed to extreme temperatures. In that case, you should also look for a pressure gauge made from a material that can handle high or low temperatures without damage. Ensure you know your application's exact requirements before you buy a pressure gauge.

Conclusion 

Choosing a pressure gauge is an important decision that requires careful consideration. It is essential to understand the specs of your application, the different types of pressure gauges available, and the pressure units used. Considering all these factors can help you select the best pressure gauge for your needs and avoid common mistakes.

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