How to read your gas meter

By Energy Company Numbers on August 25, 2016 in Help and advice

Reading a gas meter is easy once you know how. In this article, you will learn how to read your gas meter, and what all of your gas meter’s numbers mean.

Before we get started, you might also find it valuable to read our guide covering ‘how to read an electricity meter’. For those of you who are new to meters, it is rare but perfectly possible to confuse the two. So with that out of the way, let’s begin our gas meter guide:

What does a gas meter look like?

First of all, in order to read your gas meter, you need to locate it. Gas meters are plastic boxes with an analogue or digital display. However, there are actually four main types of gas meter. These are: standard meters, dial meters, digital meters and prepayment meters. Here’s some examples:

Standard meter:

Analogue gas meter

Digital meter:

Digital gas meter

Dial meter:

Dial gas meter

Prepayment meter:

Prepayment gas meter

Standard analogue and dial gas meters are usually found in older properties that were subject to gas installation or modernisation over ten years ago. They are more common than digital gas meters which are usually found in newer builds. Both types of gas meter are accurate. British Gas is the largest installer.

Why do I need to read my gas meter?

Your gas meter gives you an accurate reading of your gas consumption. This is better than relying on your supplier to come up with an estimate, which they will do if a reading is not provided to them. So taking a meter reading can help you to save money when you renew your tariff.

Related: How to switch your energy supplier.

In addition to this, knowing how much gas you actually use, rather than relying on an estimate provided by your supplier, is going to give you a clearer indication as to whether it is worth switching your energy supplier in terms of how much money you might save.

How do I read my gas meter?

While each type of gas meter may look very different, the way you read them is actually the same.

You read the numbers on the dials from left to right. You ignore the last dial, which is usually red, but not always. On some meters there may be three red numbers. Ignore all of them.

Related: What is an Economy 10 tariff?

On an analogue dial meter, you may find that the needle is between two figures. If that’s the case with your meter, then you record the number the dial has just passed. So if the number is between 5 and 6 for instance, record the number 5.

With dial meters, it’s important to remember that the dials next to each other go round in opposite directions. Moreover, you need to make adjustments to your reading to account for small variations in pointer positions; we have written a special section in italics below to help you with this:

To make adjustments to your dial meter reading, underline any figures that you have taken where the pointer is directly above the number. Once you have taken your full reading, look at any underlined numbers. If that underlined number is followed by a 9, for instance 6,3,4,9,1, then you reduce the underlined figure by one. So the example provided before will become 6,4,9,1.

On standard analogue meter, one of the dials might be between two figures. You will be able to see both of these numbers, so write down the lowest one. If the dial is between 9 and 0, write down 9 and reduce the previous number to its left by 1. So the reading 1,5,3,8,9/0 will become 1,5,3,7,9.

Related: What is an Economy 7 tariff?

On digital gas meters, you may need to press a button to get the figure to display. As mentioned previously, write down the numbers from left to right.

You should write down the first five figures that your meter gives you, ignoring the last one. With prepayment meters, you shouldn’t have to take a meter reading, because you pay a standard rate for your gas on a pay-as-you-go basis. However, there will be a standard analogue meter on the top up machine. Write down the first five numbers, ignoring the rest.

About the Author

Energy Company NumbersView all posts by Energy Company Numbers
Energy Company Numbers is a telephone number directory service dedicated to helping UK consumers keep in touch with their energy suppliers.


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