With the increased focus on energy efficiency, it’s easy to assume you have a good handle on how much or how little energy your home consumes. After all, you get a monthly utility bill that lets you gauge your energy savings, right? Actually, taking the time to monitor your own usage can pay off, because it allows you to:
- Double-check that your bills for electricity and natural gas are accurate
- Track your energy efficiency efforts and gauge energy savings, whether it’s installing new appliances or simply unplugging devices that are not in use
- Anticipate the next statement you receive from the utility company, so you don’t face an unexpectedly large utility bill
When reading an electric meter: Read the dials from right to left. When one dial points directly on a number, look at the dial to the right. If it passed zero, use the next higher number; if not, use the lower number. When the dial falls between two numbers, use the smaller number. Write down the value of the dial on the far right first, ending with the far left number.
When reading a gas meter: Read and write down the numbers as shown on the dials from left to right (which is opposite of an electric meter).
Remember that on both types of meters, the hands of adjacent dials turn in opposite directions to each other. Electricity is reported in terms of kilowatt hours (kWh), while natural gas is reported as units equaling 100 cubic feet (Ccf or Therm), or 1,000 cubic feet (Mcf).
The experts from the U.S. Department of Energy explain how to read utility meters on the Energy Star website. To learn more about how energy usage is measured at your home, contact your utility provider directly.
Another useful resource is provided by the National Weather Service, which helps consumers determine past heating and cooling degree days for their location.
We are happy to answer questions or talk to you about increasing energy savings in your home. Contact us any time at (503) 266-1249.