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Photograph of a natural gas or piped in gas meter in a basement in New York Inspection of Natural Gas Meters for Home Inspectors & Owners

  • GAS METERS - CONTENTS: Safety & Inspection of Natural Gas Meters for Home Inspectors & Home Owners. Gas meter capacity, flow rate adequacy. Gas meter clearances to building features.. How to report defects found in oil or gas piping inspections. Home inspection report language examples for gas meters
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Gas meters in homes: inspection, troubleshooting, leaks, reporting: This article explains how to visually inspect natural or piped-in gas meters for defects and safety concerns. This document provides free sample draft home inspection report language for reporting defects in oil and gas piping at residential properties.

Here 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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Safety & Inspection of Natural Gas Meters for Home Inspectors & Home Owners

Photograph of  this obsolete natural gas meter located indoorsImmediate LP or natural gas safety hazards: if there is evidence of an LP or natural gas leak at a building, gas odors, for example, you should:

Indoor Gas Meter Inspection, Defects, & Recommendations

Gas meter location: gas meters are located outdoors except when special permission is given by the gas company. Indoor gas meters increase the risk of an indoor gas leak, require special venting, and can make it more dangerous to shut off gas in an emergency.

Photograph of a gas meter located next to a heating system return air inletIf your gas meter is located indoors you should discuss this matter with your gas company.

In this photo the gas meter shown is an obsolete model (so perhaps at higher risk of dangerous natural gas leaks into the building (an explosion hazard), and we saw no gas regulator and no vent from the meter to outside.

This meter needs to be inspected by the local gas company. It may need to be relocated outside or vented to outside for safety.

Natural gas or piped-in gas safety warning: improper installation and even improper inspection and testing methods involving natural or "LP" gas can involve dangerous conditions and risk fire or explosion.

If you smell gas you should leave the building immediately and should do so without doing anything that could create a spark such as operating a light switch or telephone. From a safe location, call your gas company's emergency line and/or your fire department.


If the gas meter is located close to a heating system, such as in this photograph where the piped-in natural gas meter and its control valve were located next to and nearly touching a hot air furnace, you should review the safety and building code compliance installation with your gas company.

Gas piping or meters which could leak gas into a heating system or duct system are dangerous.

If the gas meter is close to or touching the ground outdoors or touching a building surface indoors, such as in the photographs above where the piped-in natural gas meter is outside partly buried and inside the gas meter resting on and touching brick in a wet basement, there is a danger of gas meter corrosion and dangerous gas leaks.

Gas meter needing repairs Photograph of a gas meter with corrosion and risk of a leak

Outside the soil needs to be removed so that the meter is not touching dirt. If this corrective measure means that we've created a low area by the foundation it's important to keep roof spillage out of the low spot or we may invite building foundation leaks and basement water entry. A window well can be installed around such an excavation to help keep surface runoff away from the building.

Details are at GAS METER CLEARANCE DISTANCES

You should review the safety and building code compliance installation with your gas company as soon as possible. Gas piping or meters which could leak gas are dangerous. In this photograph (click the photograph to enlarge it) corrosion is visible on the bottom of the gas meter where it's supported by wet brick.

Gas Meter Capacity or Adequacy

Safety Suggestion: gas meter adequacy: If additional gas equipment has been added to this building since the installation of the original gas service meter, it is possible that the added demand can result in low gas pressure or unsafe operation. The meter itself may need to be replaced with a higher capacity unit for safety. Please review this question with your gas supplier.

Gas Meter Venting Requirements

When a gas meter is used indoors good practice and plumbing codes require that the meter regulator be connected to a vent pipe extending to the outdoors so that in the unlikely event of a leak-failure of the gas pressure regulator, leaking gas will not accumulate in the building where it would form an explosion hazard.

Safety Recommendation: gas regulator vent: We did not find a vent pipe venting the gas regulator (located inside the building) to outside. Such vents are recommended and may be required by local or state codes for safety. Please review this question with your gas supplier.

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Continue reading at GAS METER CLEARANCE DISTANCES or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see GAS BTUH, CUBIC FEET & ENERGY - how to calculate or convert between cubic feet of gas, liquid gallons of LP gas, and BTUs per cubic foot or gallon of gas fuels.

Readers whose homes are served by bottled or LP gas should see LP / PROPANE GAS TANKS

Also see the US DOE publication HOW to READ RESIDENTIAL ELECTRIC & NATURAL GAS METERS [PDF]

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INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES: ARTICLE INDEX to GAS APPLIANCES, PIPING, CONTROLS

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