Written by Walt Meyer

Does Your Home Have the Right Size Gas Meter?

When a house has a gas meter that’s too small, its gas-powered appliances may not be getting enough fuel. When starved for gas, soot buildup may result. This is frequently the case when major appliances are being used simultaneously. You may need an upgrade

Meter Sizing

When a gas utility provider installs a gas meter in a home, technicians size it according to 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 & Maximum Continuous Capacity

A meter is capable of providing gas greater than its rated capacity. To illustrate, 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. Thus, a home with a total demand of 200,000 Btu/h as illustrated above would be fine using this gas meter.

Modern Appliances and Standby Generators

As a homeowner, you should know that the installation of a modern gas appliance will increase total demand. For example, 160,000 Btu/h can be added by a new tankless water heater. Similarly, installing an emergency standby generator will increase gas demand and may call for a split-meter system. Consult with a licensed electrician for the best results.

Electrical Services You Can Trust

Founded in 1991, Meyer Electrical Services provides home and commercial electrical services in Maryland, Virginia, and D.C., where we are licensed and insured. Based in Bethesda, our team proudly serves all of Montgomery County. Receive a free consultation for custom electrical work today by calling (301) 941-1400.