How to Read Your Electric Meter
Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated January 25, 2021)
If you are looking to save some money on your energy bills, then one of the very first things that you will need to do is learn how to read your electric meter. After all, if you are looking to save money, you need to know how much you are spending don't you? The same principle works in your utilities as well. Instead of waiting to look at your monthly electric bill, why not look at the readings as you go? It would be much the same as looking at the receipts that you get every time you buy something. All you need to do is follow these simple directions.
- Get the tools. As with any project, you really need to have the right tools to get it done properly. However, in this case the right tools are really only going to be some items that you can use to help keep track of what you find. That means that you will need a pen and some paper. Preferably you will want to use a notebook that you can dedicate to keeping track of your readings. This will allow you the opportunity to track your usage, and make adjustments where necessary.
- Locate the meter. For the most part, locating your electric meter isn't all that difficult. Usually you can find it somewhere along the outside of your home, usually in the back some where along the walls. If you can't find it there, then you may want to look in the basement near the main circuit breaker.
- Read the meter. The first thing that you need to know about your meter is that it will measure the amount of electricity that you use in a kilowatt hour (kwh). One kilowatt hour is the same as using 1,000 watts of energy in an hour. Once you have located the electric meter, you need to know how to read it properly. This can be quite different from reading other kinds of meters, since most electric meters have five dials on them. These are read from right to left, and when you see the pointer of the dial between two separate numbers you will always write down the lower number as long as the dial to the right has not passed zero. If the pointer has passed zero, then go with the number that is closest to the pointer.
- Write down the number. Write down the numbers that you find, if you want you can write them all down. When writing them down you should place them in a notebook that you can dedicate solely to the use of this. Close up the cover, and then go about your business as normal.
- Revisit and repeat. After a couple of days, repeat the entire process, and compare the results. If you would like to know how much electricity you have used, simply subtract your first reading from your later one to get the amount of electricity used. Repeat the entire process as often as you want to get an idea of how much electricity you have used between readings. To get an accurate reading for the entire month, simply add together the readings that you took for the entire month, or subtract the first reading of the month to the last reading of the month.
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