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How to Read an Electric Meter—And Why It’s Important to Know

Posted on: March 6, 2015

Do you know where your electric meter is located? Knowing how to find this piece of equipment AND how to read it are important for any home or building owner. Your electric meter reading provides you with information on your energy usage so that you can monitor it, helping you save energy and money. This also allows you to easily determine whether your monthly utility bill is accurate, so that you are not overspending unnecessarily.

How to Read Your Electric Meter Made Simple

It’s not difficult to learn how to read an electric meter. Most DC-area residences have one of two kinds of meters—a digital meter or an older model with a series of dials. Both types measure the kilowatt hours (kWh) that your household uses, which is also the measure used on your utility bill.

The secret to making sense of either type of meter is comparing the current reading with a prior reading or the number on your billing statement. Read the dials of older meters from left to right. There should be five dials. If the pointer on a dial is between numbers, choose the lower number. If the pointer looks to be exactly on a number, read the next lower number (unless the dial immediately to its right has passed zero). Digital meters are even simpler to read. The number displayed indicates the current usage.

To determine electric usage, take the reading from the previous day or month and subtract it from the current number. The difference will give you the amount of electricity your household used during that period. Any discrepancy between this figure and what’s on your energy bill is reason to take a second look.

If you have a question for your electric company, you’ll also want to tell them the meter number (usually located at the bottom of the meter).

Electric Meter Safety

Like any piece of electrical equipment, your electric meter should be handled (or NOT handled) with care. While it’s a good idea to monitor your electricity usage, it’s a bad idea to touch your meter. In fact, tampering with your electric meter is a crime in most areas. It’s also important to maintain clear access to your meter by keeping snow, trees, and bushes from obstructing view of the meter.

Need an Electrician in MD, VA, or DC? Call Kolb Electric!

For more information on how to read an electric meter and how it can be helpful to you, call Kolb Electric. We can provide you with further tips to help you save on future electrical bills and install more efficient electrical systems, such as LED lighting, that will save you even more. We may also perform an infrared thermography inspection that helps to detect issues in your home, such as a roof leak or loose electrical connections, that are causing your heat to escape or your appliances to operate inefficiently.

Call now to schedule service if you’re located in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, DC—877-287-1179877-287-1179

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