How to Read House Electric Meters


Whether you are a renter or own your home, you most likely pay for the amount of electricity you use. It can be hard to monitor your monthly usage, and bills can often come out of the blue. However, if you know how to read your electric meter, you can determine the amount of power you are using in any given month and prepare yourself for the next bill statement.

Things You'll Need

  • Electric Meter
  • Writing Material
  • Look at the first number (the left-most number) and inspect where the arrow is pointing. If it is in between two numbers, write down the lowest number. However, there are times where the dial is pointed directly at one number. To determine the actual value of the first number, look to the dial on its right. If the next dial has passed zero, the number the first dial is pointing at is correct. However, if the second dial has not passed zero, then you need to record the number before what the first dial is pointing at.

    For example, if the first dial is pointing right at eight but the second dial has not passed zero yet, you would record a seven for the first dial.

  • Continue this process for every dial, looking at the dial to its right if the arrow is pointing at any number.

  • Contact your electric company and ask how much they charge per kilowatt hour.

  • Perform this reading on the first day and last day of every month. This will give you an accurate reading of the electric meter. Subtract the first number on your meter from the second number. This gives you exactly how many watts you used in the month. If you use up 12,000 watts in one month, that is 120 kilowatts used in one month (1 kilowatt is 100 watts). If your electric company charges you 6 cents per kilowatt used, your month bill can be found by multiplying 120 by .06. This comes up to 7.2, or $7.20.

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