Gas meter needing repairs Natural Gas Meter Clearance Distance Codes & Specifications

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Gas meter clearance distances:

This article provides a detailed table of example clearance distance specifications for natural gas meter installations, giving the distances to various building features such as windows, doors, electrical components, vents, air conditioners, and outside hose bibs. Gas service line trench features are also described.

In this article series on gas meters, controls & piping we provide descriptions and photographs of unsafe gas piping, indications of unsafe or improperly operating gas appliances, gas meters, and other gas installation defects are provided.

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Clearance Distances between a Gas Meter or Gas Meter Regulator Vent & Various Building Components & Features

Example1 Gas Meter Clearance Distances from Building Features

Building Feature Minimum Clearance Distance to Gas Meter or Regulator Vent
Gas meter location Front wall (front presumed facing public access), or within 3 feet of side wall (see corner clearances)
Regulator relief vent distance from any outside building corner

12 inches.

With this specification met, there are no clearance distance requirements for building features located around the corner from the gas meter.

If the regulator relief vent is less than 12" from any outside corner, then the minimum clearances specified in this table must be maintained. Measure as a direct, straight line from the nearest meter set or component to the nearest edge of the building feature "as if using a string"

Gas meter clearances to finish grade (soil surface)

Bottom of gas meter to finish grade 6 inches
Bottom of gas line shut-off to finish grade 8 inches
Fuel line connection location (at meter top) to finish grade 32 inches to 46 inches depending on gas meter model & meter type (size or capacity)
Landscape features (e.g. shrubs or fences)

3 feet clear to front of meter

2 feet clear to either side of meter

Minimum soil depth or cover over residential gas service line

18 inches - residential

24 inches - commercial

24 inches - snow country

Maximum soil depth or cover over gas service line

36 inches

Depth includes 4 inches of bedding sand under gas line & 6 inches of sand shading over the gas line, & typical excavation trench width of 12 inches.

Backfill must be free of sharp objects and must not contain rocks larger than 8", or increase sand shading depth to 12 inches.

Gas meter regulator vent clearance distances to building features

Gas meter regulator vent clearance distance to windows, attic vent, crawl space vent, soffit vent

3 feet in any direction horizontally or vertically to the feature

1 foot to a feature located below

Gas meter regulator vent clearance to electrical devices such as switches, electrical receptacles, power disconnects 3 feet in any direction to the feature
Gas meter regulator vent clearance to building doors or garage doors

3 feet in any direction horizontally or vertically to the feature

1 foot to a feature located below

Gas meter regulator vent clearance to building mechanical system air intake openings

Window mounted wall fan Ten Feet in any direction
Window mounted air conditioner
Wall mounted air conditioner
Mechanical system air intake
Bathroom fan vent opening Three Feet in any direction
Clothes dryer intake or exhaust vent opening
Fireplace cleanout opening
Heating appliance air intake or exhaust opening

Gas Meter Clearances to Other Building Features

Gas meter clearance distance to air conditioner or heat pump (pad mounted) compressor/condenser unit Three Feet in any direction
Gas meter clearance distance to electrical generator or electrical transformer
Gas meter clearance distance to open flame barbeque or cooker or to an incinerator or other open flame device
Gas meter clearance distance to telephone, cable or other communications connection box or terminal Two Feet in any direction
Gas meter clearance distance to water spigot (hose bibb)

Gas meter clearance distances to electrical panels & meters (outdoors)

Electrical box front (face) clearance distance to gas meter 3 feet
Gas meter clearance distance to SEC / Conduit 18 inches
Gas meter clearance distance to electrical ground rod

1 foot

Ground rod location must be clearly marked

Gas meter clearance distances below balconies, entrance platforms, decks & porches

Gas meter vertical clearance distance below deck, porch etc. from grade surface below meter to under-side of the deck &c. 6 feet
Gas meter horizontal clearance distance from entry door above the meter (e.g. accessed by deck, porch or landing) 3 feet


1. Watch out: State, provincial, and/or local building code specifications for your area may vary from these example gas meter clearance distances. Consult with your local building department.

2. These gas meter clearance distance codes also pertain to building features on nearby or adjacent buildings to the building served by the gas meter.

3. Additional gas meter protection from snow cover may be required in some jurisdictions.

4. Additional gas meter protection from mechanical damage e.g. from vehicles, in form of guard posts may be required in some location & jurisdictions. Avoid guard post requirements by locating the gas meter away from areas where vehicles may enter or pass.

Adapted from Puget Sound Energy Inc's 2014 gas meter clearance specifications, retrieved 8/19/2014, - original source:

Information Sources & Relevant Building Codes & Standards

  • NFPA 54: National Fuel Gas Code, 2015 Edition (latest) is the best source for gas piping requirements. Readers have raised clearance questions that were not necessarily detailed in the model standards or codes - many of these have been clarified by local authorities so we like to add those as well. Quoting from the AGA:
    The American Gas Association servers as the secretariat to the ANSI Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) Z223 on National Fuel Gas Code. The ASC Z223 develops and publishes ANSI Z223.1, National Fuel Gas Code. The Code is jointly developed with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 54 Committee and is also known as NFPA 54. 2012 Edition National Fuel Gas Code

  • American Gas Association, Tel: 202-824-7000 Website:
  • Puget Sound Energy Inc's 2014 Gas Meter Clearance specifications, retrieved 8/19/2014, - original source:
  • PSE&G, "Gas Appliance and Gas Piping", [PDF], (2012), PSE&G Construction, New Jersey, USA, TEl: 800-722-0256, retrieved 4 June 2015, original soruice:
  • SOCAL, "Gas Service Guidebook", Southern California Gas Service Guidebook, [PDF] (2013) - original source:
  • ANSI ASC GPTC Z380 - Gas Piping Technology, available from
  • ANSI B109 "Rotary Type Gas Displacement Meters", available from [Natural Gas]
  • U.S. Energy Information Administration -
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency -
  • At Natural Gas.Org you’ll find a table of combustion products
  • At is an interesting and detailed though not “neutral” report on the components and contaminants in the combustion of natural gas. You’ll see a long long list of emissions products, but look again – most of the contaminant levels listed are in the picograms.
  • lists the components in natural gas exhaust from vehicles
  • The Need Project, Manassas, VA:
  • Kroschwitz, Jacqueline I., and Mary Howe-Grant (eds.). "Gas, Natural." In Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. 4th ed., vol. 12. New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1993.
  • Tussing, Arlon R., & Bob Tippee. The Natural Gas Industry: Evolution, Structure, and Economics. 2nd ed. Tulsa, OK: PennWell Publishing, 1995.
  • "How to Read Electric and Natural Gas Meters", [PDF] U.S. DOE original source:


Continue reading at GAS PIPING DEFECTS or select a topic from the More Reading links or topic ARTICLE INDEX shown below.

If your fuel supply is from onsite LP gas storage rather than piped-in natural gas fed through a meter (this article) then you should refer to GAS TANKS, LP for LP gas tank clearance distances and installation specifications.

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GAS METER CLEARANCE DISTANCES at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

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