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The Challenges of Pulse Output Water Meters and the Rise of Encoded Water Meters

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Water meters play a crucial role in accurately measuring and monitoring water consumption. Traditionally, pulse output water meters have been widely used for this purpose. However, they come with their fair share of challenges. In recent years, encoded water meters have emerged as a more efficient and cost-effective solution. In this blog post, we'll explore the challenges of pulse output water meters and discuss the benefits of encoded water meters, particularly their impact on lowering the total cost of ownership for developers, owners, and property managers.

Challenges of Pulse Output Water Meters

  1. Vulnerability to Tampering: Pulse output water meters are susceptible to tampering and unauthorized adjustments, which can lead to inaccurate readings and potential revenue loss for property managers. Tampering can be as simple as disconnecting a wire, and in the event of tampering, there is no indication of whether the meter output has been tampered with or if there is simply no water consumption occurring.
  2. Loss of Consumption Data: Pulse output water meters rely on the detection of pulses to measure water flow. However, periodic loss of pulses can occur due to factors such as mechanical issues or obstructions in the meter, resulting in incomplete consumption data and difficulties in accurately tracking water usage.
  3. Billing Disputes: Because of the first two scenarios noted above, there is no guarantee that the reading on the physical meter will match the reading on a consumer bill or remote display. This opens a lot of questions and liability regarding the validity of the meter readings if used for revenue or cost allocation purposes. Time spent on customer service and issues management can become very costly.
  4. Interval data is not consistent: If there is a small leak within a pulse system, there is no way to catch that. Time between pulses can be 3-4 hours apart. Compared to an encoded system, even a small leak can be detected, as an actual reading occurs every hour.
  5. No diagnostic information: There is no way to indicate reverse flow, alarms or other diagnostic information.
  6. Installer set up error:. Errors in setting up multipliers, units of measure, decimal points and subsequently data collection software present a challenge as there is no way to verify this once the installer has left the property.
  7. Wiring issues: Bad wiring, termination, long wire runs and bad wire quality are all common issues which can lead to phantom or lost pulse counts. Filtering and/or de-bouncing circuits need to be implemented into the design of the pulse collector. This leads to pulse equipment requiring an increase in cost that some manufacturers may ignore.

Encoded Water Meters: Overcoming Challenges and Unlocking Benefits:

  1. Enhanced Data Transmission: Encoded water meters use digital technology to transmit consumption data, including the meter serial number, encoded meter reading, and units of measure. This serial transmission of data ensures accurate and reliable information without the risk of consumption loss due to uncaptured pulses.
  2. LoRaWAN AMI Integration: Encoded water meters often leverage LoRaWAN (Long Range Wide Area Network) technology to enable advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). LoRaWAN AMI allows for secure, long-range wireless communication, facilitating real-time data collection, remote monitoring, and control of water meters.
  3. Lower Total Cost of Ownership: Encoded water meters offer several benefits that contribute to reducing the total cost of ownership:
    • Accurate and Reliable Data: The use of encoded data transmission ensures accurate and reliable consumption data, eliminating issues associated with lost pulses and providing a more comprehensive view of water usage.
    • Tamper-Resistant Design: Encoded water meters are designed with enhanced security features and alarm transmission to deter tampering and unauthorized adjustments, reducing the risk of revenue loss for property owners.
    • Improved Leak Detection: The detailed and granular real-time data provided by encoded water meters enables early leak detection, minimizing water loss, and property damage.
    • Efficient Resource Allocation: With precise consumption data, property owners can analyze usage patterns, optimize resource allocation, and make informed decisions regarding infrastructure upgrades and water conservation initiatives.


Encoded water meters offer a robust solution to the challenges associated with pulse output water meters. By utilizing digital technology, serial data transmission, and integrating with LoRaWAN AMI, these meters provide accurate and reliable consumption data, reduce the risk of tampering, and enable efficient water management. The benefits of encoded water meters, including improved leak detection and optimized resource allocation, contribute to lowering the total cost of ownership for property managers while promoting sustainability and conservation efforts. Embracing the advantages of encoded water meters is a step towards a more efficient and resilient water management system.

Looking for help to maximize your cost savings? Contact us today.

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