How to read a propane gas meter

Written by jennifer moore
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How to read a propane gas meter
Get a correct propane gas meter reading. (Gasflamme 2 image by Stefan Balk from

Gas meters measure the flow and usage of either propane or natural gas. These meters use different measurement systems, but the most common types of meters used for propane gas are the rotary meters containing several dials and multiple pointer clock hands, or the digital readout meters. The digital meters are the easiest to read because the number of cubic feet used is displayed directly, just like a car odometer. Rotary meters need manual verification by looking at dials and dial numbers.

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Things you need

  • Portable propane gas meter
  • Pencil and paper

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  1. 1

    Locate your gas meter on or near the propane tank or on your propane gas line. Attach a portable gas meter to the propane tank if the tank does not have a meter on it. Follow the gas meter installation instructions as these will differ depending on the manufacturer.

  2. 2

    Look at the meter and determine whether it is a direct-dial meter or a clock-type dial meter. Direct dial meters use newer digital technology and read like a digital clock. Read the meter from left to right and write down the numbers in this order. Some digital meters read in percentages giving you the actual percentage of gas the tank contains.

  3. 3

    Read each of the four-to-six clock-type dials from left to right when the meter is not digital. Look at numbers the dial indicator points to and record the preceding number if the indicator is not on a number, but is instead between numbers. Wait and examine the next dial before writing the dial number down, especially if the indicator hand is on an exact number. Verify whether the next dial to the right has passed the zero mark. If it is not passed zero, but instead on the nine or on the zero, record the previous number for the first dial. Often a first dial will indicate the next number when the second dial is close but has not passed the zero mark as yet. Write the numbers down to get a correct cubic-feet reading.

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