Flow meter installation guide

I would love to see more about the installation of the flow meter for the new gen3. Does it need to be vertical or horizontal? Can you put it before the back flow? Does it matter if you use your compressor blowout in front or behind it?

I am seeing some feedback that would indicate it is to be installed post backflow. Seems more of a stuck valve detector than a leak detector if that is the case. Most of the unexpected leaks I see happen at the back flow so why couldn’t it be installed before it?

Thank you

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yes please. We use reclaimed water for irrigation and all of the pipes are underground. No backflow, etc.

I want it for accurate usage measurements, but I’m not even sure how I would go about installing this. If I manage to find the main line underground, do I need to build a project box around this so I can change batteries before I re-bury it?

Do you guys have any recommendations here?

Please visit rachio.com/flow for step by step install instructions for the Rachio Wireless Flow Meter and FAQs.

@Brandon, nope you can mount it either direction; just make sure you have the arrow pointed the right direction (arrow should match the direction of water flow) and don’t mount the meter upside down.

It could it you have enough pipe (~10" to allow for 6" straight pipe before the flow meter, 3" cut for the meter, and ~1" for fittings; you might need additional length if mounting to 3/4" pipe to allow for reducing couplings)

Nope! You can blow-out/winterize without removing the flow meter.

You shouldn’t see too many leaks at the back flow if it’s properly charged. If it leaks frequently, you might need to replace the poppet and/or bonnet assembly.

Yes, this would be recommended for easy access. You should not direct bury the flow meter. Please note, above ground installation is recommended as below ground could affect signal quality/distance.

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Thank you for this detail Emil!

A post was split to a new topic: Wireless flow meter install success!

For anyone getting ready to install their wireless flow meter, check out the install video! (Note, this installation is on an above ground, 1 inch copper system) – for detailed installation steps, please review this support article BEFORE installing; in particular, Step 5.


Hi @emil, when’s the underground install site going to go live?

@johnny2678 we’ll be working on it this coming week. Underground installations will require unions to be installed on both sides of the flow meter for easy removal to change batteries.

Here’s a photo of an example installation for 3/4" PVC using 1 inch slip unions. I’m hoping to find a no-glue fitting solution as well.


I notice that there is a lot more thought given now to how to handle the installation on existing 3/4" pipe than previously where as I pointed out more than a month ago, the plan made no sense.

But I see that now the instructions state that one must use 3 sharkbite fittings and another 1" piece of copper pipe. All of this is requiring a huge cutout of the existing pipe and I have nowhere near all of that pipe available. I conjecture most others dont either.

What I am not clear on is why all of this is necessary. Since there seems to be a 1"x3/4" sharkbite fitting why cannot you just use two of these on both sides of the flow meter and then just follow the video instructions for the 1". You will have to change the insertion marks for the top and bottom of the existing copper pipe because the 3/4" part of the sharkbite fitting will not go as far as the 1" version.

It seems like there is basically an additional requirement of having 1" pipe on one side of the flow meter. Why? What am I missing?

@nmstough - I believe the 6" of 1" pipe comes from testing and flow turbulence at higher GPM. See ->


Yes, just as @DLane noted above, there is too much turbulence in the pipe. We’ve done quite a bit of testing in our flow lab and found that we receive either errors or incorrect measurements when at least 6" of 1" pipe is not present on the upstream section of pipe. If you don’t have enough pipe to install, I’m sure we would offer you a refund on your meter. @nmstough would you mind sharing a photo of your backflow and any pipe before any valves so we can brainstorm any options you might have?

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3 posts were split to a new topic: Flow meter question

@emil, curious about the unions. Couldn’t you just swivel the flow meter around the PVC lock to change the battery?

My plan was to do that in a large valve box for access.