How to take a gas meter reading: 7 steps

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How to take a gas meter reading: 7 steps
How to take a gas meter reading: 7 steps

One of the best ways to make sure your gas meter is correct is to take it yourself. The scales and numbers on the meter may seem confusing, but the procedure itself is pretty straightforward.


Method 1 of 2: Method One: Pointer Counter

Read a Gas Meter Step 1
Read a Gas Meter Step 1

Step 1. Examine the watch faces

Most hand counters have four or five dials. On the simplest ones, they are lined up, but can be grouped differently.

  • Most counters have four dials, but many have five.
  • Pointer counters are older and more common than digital ones.
  • Note that the hands on adjacent dials rotate in different directions. Usually the first and third rotate counterclockwise, and the second and fourth clockwise. If the counter has a fifth dial, it also rotates counterclockwise.
  • Ignore red dials or dials marked “100 per rev”. Also, if one of the dials is significantly larger than the others, do not take its readings.
Read a Gas Meter Step 2
Read a Gas Meter Step 2

Step 2. Read data from left to right

Unless otherwise indicated on the meter, take readings from the dials one at a time, moving from left to right. Write down the number above which the dial hand hovers. Write down the numbers in order as you take readings.

  • Record readings in a row without gaps.
  • For example, if the first dial shows “2”, the second “5”, the third “7”, and the fourth “1”, a correctly recorded counter reading will look like “2571”.
Read a Gas Meter Step 3
Read a Gas Meter Step 3

Step 3. Choose a lower number when in doubt

If the hand is between two digits, choose the smaller of the two.

  • For example, if the arrow is between "3" and "4" on one of the dials, consider that it points to "3", not "4".
  • However, when the arrow is between the numbers "9" and "0", you should assume that it points to "9" instead of "0". Since the numbers on the scale go from "0" to "9", zero indicates the beginning of a new turnover, and "9" still refers to the previous turnover, which makes it less in this situation.
  • The hand of the dial must reach the mark of the next digit in order to write it down. For example, even if the arrow is closer to "5" than to "4", you still need to write "4" because the arrow did not cross the label with the number "5".
Read a Gas Meter Step 4
Read a Gas Meter Step 4

Step 4. Look at the dial on the right in order to double-check the previous reading

When the arrow is directly above a number, check the dial to the right. If the arrow on it passes the number "0", write down the number that the arrow points to on the first dial.

  • Conversely, if the hand has not yet passed the “0” mark, you should not use the number above which the left hand arrow is hovering.
  • For example, if the arrow on the second dial points to the number "3", look at the arrow on the third dial. If it is between “9” and “0”, you can assume that the second dial has “3”. However, if the arrow on the third dial is located elsewhere, consider that the arrow on the second is still pointing to "2", since the arrow is likely to be directly in front of the next digit mark, not on it.

Method 2 of 2: Method Two: Digital Counter

Read a Gas Meter Step 5
Read a Gas Meter Step 5

Step 1. Take a look at the counter

Digital meters can display data in imperial or metric systems. Units of measurement can be written on the counter panel. But, if they are not there, you can usually determine which units you are dealing with depending on the number of positions for numbers.

  • The meter in the imperial system measures natural gas in cubic feet. This is usually indicated by the abbreviation "ft3"Next to him. These meters usually have a panel with four digits to the left of the decimal point, and two to the right of it.
  • The metric meter measures natural gas in cubic meters, so there should be a “m3". Also, metric has five digits to the left of the separating point and three to the right.
  • Please note that digital meters are now more and more popular, but arrow meters are still prevalent. Digital meters are most commonly found in new homes and are only used by some gas companies.
Read a Gas Meter Step 6
Read a Gas Meter Step 6

Step 2. Write down the main numbers from left to right

Record the data from the digital meter panel as you see it. Only worry about the basic numbers on the main scoreboard.

  • The main numbers are easy to distinguish as they are either black on white or white on black.
  • Write down the numbers exactly as you see them without spaces as you capture the data.
  • For example, if the main numbers on your meter are "3872", you should write them down as "3872".
Read a Gas Meter Step 7
Read a Gas Meter Step 7

Step 3. Ignore all the other numbers

Depending on how complex your counter is, it may have a few extra small numbers located somewhere on the panel. Do not pay attention to them when taking meter readings.

  • Ignore any red numbers or numbers in a red box.
  • Also, disregard zeros or any numbers after the separating comma.
  • For example, if the counter reads "9314.78", only write down "9314".
  • Likewise, if the meter shows “9314” in black or white numbers and “78” in red or red frames, only write down “9314”.
  • If the meter shows something like "9314" in white numbers and a black "0", only write down "9314".


  • Most of the gas companies allow you to transfer meter data by phone or online. To find out if this is possible, contact your gas company at the telephone number listed on the most recent gas bill.
  • If you report the flow yourself, the gas company's computer determines whether it was unusually low or high. If there are potential problems, a customer service representative will contact you to resolve them.
  • Gas companies usually try to take readings once a month or every other month. If you want to report the meter readings yourself, do it before the next date for which the check is scheduled. It is usually written on your final bill.
  • Please note that some companies also allow you to call and agree on a specific date on which the readings will be taken.


  • Some obstructions may prevent a gas company employee from reading your meter. In particular, thickets, an angry dog, or a closed gate will prevent an employee from taking accurate readings. You need to either remove these restrictions by the time you expect the meter to be checked, or agree with the amount of the bill calculated by the gas company.

    The expected readings must be shown on your invoice. They are calculated using a formula that takes into account your average consumption, current weather and any other predictable factors that may affect gas consumption for the billing period

  • If your last count is significantly higher or lower than usual, take a reading yourself to determine if the company's measurements are accurate or not. If the data is accurate, there may be a problem with the meter itself. In this case, notify the gas company.

You will need

  • Natural gas meter
  • Pencil
  • Paper

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