How To Read An Electric Meter

analog electric meter

Learning how to read an electric meter might be daunting at first, but even though electric meters seem complicated to read, they’re actually quite easy to figure out. Whether you have a digital or analog electric meter, we’re here to give you the information you need to learn how to read an electric meter yourself.

How to Read an Analog Electric Meter

Analog electric meters typically have a number of dials that move to provide you with your electric reading. As electricity passes through the meter, it provides a reading of numbers that depict exactly how much electricity is being used. While analog electric meters are being slowly being replaced by digital meters, there are still some that are in use.

  • Electricity readings are given in kilowatt hours. The amount of energy it takes to power a 100 watt lightbulb for 10 hours equals one kilowatt-hour.

When reading the dials on your electric meter, you want to read them from left to right. After marking down the number on each dial, you should have your electricity reading.

  • Don’t let the direction of the numbers on the dials confuse you. Some will be numbered clockwise while others may be counterclockwise.

Many electric companies do not zero the meter after each reading, so to calculate the number of kilowatt hours you have used, you will need to record your reading numbers each month. By subtracting the current reading from the previous reading, you will get the number for the most recent kilowatt hours used.

digital electric meter installed on side of building

How to Read a Digital Electric Meter

Because it records the amount of electricity being used by your household digitally, electric meters are often much easier to read than a traditional analog meter. Many digital meters will transmit your meter reading wirelessly to your electric company which eliminates the need for a meter reader to come to your house.

  • Your electric meter should give you a long series of numbers digitally. It may have other numbers displayed, but the main string of numbers is what you will want to use to calculate your electric usage.

Digital meters do not reset after each reading, which means to calculate the number of kilowatt hours used, you will have to record previous readings. By subtracting the new number from the previous number, you can determine how many kilowatt hours you recently used.

While you won’t be the one directly dealing with the numbers you record from your electric meter, it is a good idea to always be conscious of how much electricity you are using. Being able to read your electric meter yourself will give you the opportunity to pay close attention to your electricity consumption and in turn, can help you save both money and energy.



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