How do I Check for Pressure Gauge Faults

Pressure Gauge failure can cause significant problems for any industrial operation. In addition to the potential for costly repairs or replacements, gauge failure can lead to serious safety risks and production disruptions. To avoid these issues, it is essential to have a reliable and accurate gauge monitoring system in place. In this blog post, we will explore how to detect and protect against gauge failure so that you can keep your operations running smoothly. Pressure Gauge

How Can You Tell if A Gauge Is Broken or May Fail?

Pressure gauges may seem small, but they play a critical role in systems across industries. By providing a visual indication of system pressure, they help you identify if everything is running as expected or if a problem is about to occur. An inaccurate gauge could decrease quality output due to the lack of valid data and too much or too little pressure in the system. In addition, a failed gauge could release system fluid into the environment, potentially injuring employees and damaging the system, causing downtime and expensive repairs, as well as lost system output and profits.  Taking preventive action to ensure the accuracy of pressure gauges is essential to avoid costly accidents and lost productivity.

Recognizing the indicators of an impending gauge failure and the root cause can help you quickly determine when the pressure readings are no longer accurate, thus preventing potential disasters.  By understanding the signs of a gauge malfunction and the associated cause, you can take proactive steps to ensure accurate readings and avoid undesirable outcomes.

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If you suspect your gauge may not be up to par for your application, look for the following signs of potential failure: inaccurate readings, sudden spikes or drops in pressure, and inconsistent results.  If any of these warning signs appear, it is vital to take the necessary steps to ensure the accuracy and safety of your application. Taking the time to ensure your gauge is the right fit for the job can help you avoid costly errors and ensure optimal performance

Gauge Failure: What Are the Signs?

Discover the top five pressure gauge failure causes, the signs you should watch out for, and the steps you can take to solve the problem. From a clogged line to a broken spring, we’ll look at the most common causes of pressure gauge failure and explain how to identify them, what to do if you spot any of the signs, and how to take corrective action.  So don’t let your pressure gauge fail – start learning about the most common causes and how to prevent them now.

  • Overpressure

When a gauge pointer is pegged against the stop pin, it indicates the device is operating near or past its maximum pressure. This can be dangerous, as the installed gauge may not be suitable for the application and cannot accurately measure the system pressure. If the Bourdon tube is exposed to excessive pressure, it could rupture and lead to complete gauge failure.

A Bourdon tube is a precision instrument designed to measure pressure accurately. It consists of a curved, hollow metal tube connected to a pointer on a gauge dial. The tube reacts to system pressure, causing it to move the information to display a pressure reading. Precisely controlling the pressure inside the tube provides an accurate and reliable method of measuring pressure.

To ensure safe and accurate monitoring of your system, select a pressure gauge with a range rated two times higher than the expected system operating pressure. Additionally, include an overpressure protection device (e.g., a relief valve) before the gauge. In extreme system conditions, consider using a gauge with an orifice restrictor (0.3 mm) to limit flow, or opt for a diaphragm seal design rather than a Bourdon tube design, as this offers a more robust solution.

Stainless steel pressure gauge

  • Pressure Spikes

When you notice a gauge pointer bent, broken, or nicked, it is likely due to a sudden spike in system pressure caused by a pump cycling on/off or a valve being opened or closed upstream.  These pressure spikes can be highly destructive, causing the pointer to hit the stop pin with great force, potentially leading to a Bourdon tube rupture and gauge failure.  To protect your gauges against such pressure spikes, it is crucial to ensure the system is balanced correctly and that the valves are opened and closed slowly and gradually.

Evaluate your system design to minimize the risk of unpredictable pressure spikes and minimize the strain on system components, including the gauge. Consider selecting a gauge with a more extensive pressure range to accommodate expected increases in pressure and reduce the risk of system failure. With a more robust gauge, you can anticipate and mitigate pressure fluctuations, resulting in a more reliable system.

  • Mechanical Vibration

Mechanical vibration can cause severe damage to your equipment if left unchecked. Unaligned pumps, reciprocating compressors, and improperly mounted gauges can all result in a missing pointer, window, window ring, or back plate. You may also notice black dust on the dial or scrapes on the dial from a loose pointer. As the gauge movement is connected to the Bourdon tube, vibration can cause it to break, resulting in the dial no longer reflecting the system pressure. Liquid case filling dampens movement and reduces or eliminates unavoidable vibrations. In extreme system conditions, you may need to use a snubber or a gauge with a diaphragm seal to protect the equipment from further damage. The right combination of vibration dampening and system protection will help to ensure the safety of your equipment and the accuracy of the system pressure readings.

Shock-resistant Precision Pressure Gauge

  • Pulsation

Frequent and fast fluid cycling through your system can create excessive wear on the components of the gauge movement, leading to inaccurate pressure readings and fluttering of the pointer. This can eventually cause a Bourdon tube rupture and total gauge failure. To prevent this from occurring, try redesigning your system to reposition the gauge so that the cycling speed seen by the gauge is reduced and the necessary measurement integrity is maintained. If that is not possible, using a gauge with liquid fill, an orifice restrictor, or a snubber can help to reduce the effects of pulsation.

  • Excessive Temperature/Overheating

Excessive temperature or overheating can have damaging effects on pressure gauges. For example, if a gauge is not mounted correctly or is located too close to a scorching system liquid/gas or components, it can cause discoloration of the dial or liquid case fill. This is because the elevated temperature puts extra strain on the metal Bourdon tube and other components, adversely affecting accuracy. To avoid this issue, choose a pressure gauge with a higher temperature rating that can better accommodate the range the system will encounter. In addition, a gauge with a diaphragm seal or a diaphragm seal with a cooling element is recommended for extreme temperature applications.


In reality, gauges can fail, which can have severe consequences without suitable preventive measures. Knowing how to detect a pending failure is crucial in avoiding the worst potential outcomes. But choosing the correct gauge for your needs is even more critical. Selecting the best gauge for your application may be challenging, but investing the time to analyze your system’s needs and make a better decision upfront will pay dividends. Doing so will reduce the chance of premature failure, resulting in a safe facility, accurate system pressure measurements, and reduced system liquid loss due to the wrong gauge being installed.

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