Types of Meter Boxes

Written by bryan cohen
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Types of Meter Boxes
A circular meter box (electricity meter image by Charles Jacques from Fotolia.com)

The meter box is a cabinet containing the various circuit breakers, meters and other electronic controls found on the outside of a house. In the mid-1890s, a water works employee named Edwin Ford experimented with a pit outside his home and developed the modern meter box. The word of the device spread throughout the country and now meter boxes can be found on nearly every home.

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Many meter boxes are made from plastic materials, typically a strong and durable polythene which can handle a great deal of pressure. Plastic is light compared with other meter box materials, and it protects against ultraviolet radiation.

Cast Iron and Concrete

Older houses tend to have meter boxes made from cast iron or concrete. These materials are decidedly heavier than plastic but are extremely durable and last for many years. If there is a lot of activity in your backyard such as children who play sports with balls hitting your house, these materials may be more effective at protecting your meters.

Meter Box Shape

There are several different shapes that a meter box can come in. When meter boxes were created, they were typically all rectangular, allowing the box to protect larger meters. An oval meter box has become more popular over time because it fits well around smaller meters between 15 to 30 millimetres. Circular meter boxes are used occasionally to fit around 15 millimetre and 30 millimetre boxes.

Mounted Meter Boxes

Meter boxes can be placed on an external wall of your house in several different ways. A surface-mounted meter box is attached directly to the wall. This type of meter box may not be above or within 150 millimetres of manholes, air bricks, drains or inspection covers. A built-in meter box can be created during construction of a house when a place for the meter box is placed in the wall itself. Since it is built into the wall, it is imperative that the box be inspected for cracks or punctures as it is the most difficult to remove.


A meter box can be semi-concealed, meaning that it is partially buried near the house wall. The box must come out of the ground at least 160 millimetres above ground level. Depending on the location of your property, the semi-concealed method may be an effective choice.

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