Meters…nearly everyone has one but very few understand how to read them. As a homeowner, learning how to accurately read your meter (whether electric or natural gas) helps you gain insight into how much electricity or gas your home is using but also acts as a tool to double check that your energy company is billing you correctly.

There are two main types of meters: electric and natural gas. Both types achieve the same goal of reporting the amount of energy being used in your home, but they vary in terms of appearance and how they display readings. That said, follow this guide and begin using your energy meter as a tool for greater energy- and cost-efficiency.

Electric meters measure power by means of the “watt”. Generally, one thousand watts make up one kilowatt and using one kilowatt of energy in one hour is known as one kilowatt-hour (also displayed as kWh). This is important to know, as electric bills are measured in kWh.

How electric meters work:
An electric meter is driven by the electric current that moves through a home’s power lines. A meter sensing electric current is what drives the gears to move and the more power that gets detected by the meter causes the gears to revolve faster. The various dials record the amount of gear revolutions.

How to read:
To begin, electric meters are read from RIGHT to LEFT. It’s a good idea to have a paper and pen handy when reading them so that you can record the numbers that you see. General rules:

  • If a pointer falls directly on one number, look at the dial to the right
    >>If that dial has passed zero, use the next highest number
    >>If that dial has not passed zero, use the next lowest number
  • If the hand of a pointer falls in between two numbers, use the lower value of the two

Unlike the electric meter, natural gas meters measure usage in terms of cubic feet. For greater efficiency, natural gas meters are typically installed between the electric/gas lines and the home’s “point of distribution”. This allows the meter to accurately track how much gas is being used inside.

How they work:
In the same way that an electric meter is driven by the amount of electric current that’s detected, a gas meter is powered by the amount of gas that flows through its pipe. As flow increases (more gas being used), the gears move quicker. Each revolution made by the dial containing the lower value causes the dial on the next highest value to increase by 1 digit.

How to Read:
Gas meters are read from LEFT to RIGHT.


Even with the above information, it can be tricky understanding how to interpret the readings on your meter. For more information about your home’s energy-efficiency, visit the Cameron Home Energy University or schedule a Cameron Home Energy Assessment today!

Want additional tips? Our experts at Cameron Home Insulation are available to answer the questions you’ve been wanting to ask – Give us a call at (443) 459-5800.