A small ultrasonic flow meter for water was exposed to five different test configurations, a reference experiment, a single elbow, a double elbow out of plane, a reduction in pipe diameter and a pulsating flow experiment. All tests were performed in a flow calibration facility ranging over Reynolds number from 25 to 110 000. The experiments with the four installation effects were compared with a reference experiment. The error and the change in standard deviation compared to the reference experiment were calculated. The standard deviation serve as a measure of the noise level of the flow meter. The results show that all disturbances generated errors in the flow measurement. The maximum errors were mainly in the range of 2–4% of flow rate, but at very low flow rates the pulsating flow caused larger errors. In most of the flow range there were no or smaller errors. All installation effects also generated an increase in the noise level. The different pipe configurations increased the standard deviation up to more than 100%. The pulsating flow induced even higher enlargements in the noise level. The errors and the increase in the standard deviation are present in about the same flow ranges. The results demonstrate not only that the installation effects tested introduce errors in the flow measurements but also that these effects can be detected from the noise level in the data. The noise level was determined from the standard deviation. This could be interpreted as that the disturbances amplify the turbulence intensity. Thus the standard deviation can be used as a measure of the turbulence. The presence of a disturbance could be recognised by comparing the magnitude of the noise level in the present data with a reference level valid for the measured flow rate. A procedure like this could possibly be performed by the meter itself in operation.