Residential, Cook Electric
Written by Larry Cook

Get the Right Size Gas Meter for Your Home

If your house has a gas meter that is not large enough, your gas-powered appliances may not be getting sufficient fuel. When gas is inadequate, soot buildup may also occur. This often happens when several large gas-powered appliances are being used simultaneously.

Sizing Gas Meters

When a gas utility provider installs a gas meter at a residence, technicians will determine its size based on the total capacity of the home’s gas appliances. The gas meter’s label will indicate its capacity in cubic feet per hour (cf/h). Common meter sizes range from 175 cf/h to 275 cf/h.

Rated Capacity and Maximum Continuous Capacity

A meter is capable of providing gas at a level greater than its rated capacity. As an example, a gas meter with a 275 cf/h rating has a maximum continuous capacity of 385 cf/h. This measure is taken from laboratory tests of a gas meter. To be conservative, 15% is added to the gas meter’s rated capacity to arrive at its maximum continuous capacity.

Calculating Demand

The simplest method for calculating demand is adding up the British thermal units/hour (Btu/h) ratings of all the gas appliances in a home. Every appliance has a date plate with this BTU rating. Below are examples of ratings.

Dryer 30,000 Btu/h
Furnace 80,000 Btu/h
Kitchen Range 50,000 Btu/h
Water Heater 40,000 Btu/h

TOTAL DEMAND: 200,000 Btu/h

Size & Demand

A gas meter rated at a maximum continuous capacity of 250 cf/h is capable of providing 250,000 Btu/h maximum. If the continuous meter capacity is greater than demand, your gas meter’s size is acceptable. So, a home with a total demand of 200,000 Btu/h as given in the above example will be fine using this gas meter.

Modern Appliances and Standby Generators

The installation of a modern gas appliance will increase total demand. For example, 160,000 Btu/h can be added by a new tank less water heater. Likewise, installing an emergency standby generator will increase gas demand and may call for a split-meter system. Work with a licensed electrician for your safety and the best results.

Electrical Peace of Mind

Providing professional electricians since 1988 in Maryland, Cook Electric is the company you can rely on for all your electrical service needs. For knowledgeable, fair, honest, reliable, and conscientious service, call Cook Electric today at (410) 266-9040. We will be very glad to help you.