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

  • GAS METER CLEARANCE DISTANCES - CONTENTS: Gas meter & gas pipe clearances to building features such as air conditioners, electrical components, doors, windows, vents, & overhead structures. Gas meter sizes or gas meter dimensions.
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about residential gas meter installation clearance distance codes & specifications
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Gas meter clearance & piping distances & gas meter dimensions:

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.

We include examples of typical gas meter overall dimensions for residential as well as commercial gas meters for both LP and natural gas.

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 (CLEARANCE DISTANCE, HVAC)
Wall mounted air conditioner
Mechanical system air intake
Bathroom fan vent opening Three Feet in any direction
Clothes dryer intake or exhaust vent opening (CLOTHES DRYER VENT CLEARANCES)
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 for non-utility gas meters and electric service equipment that can create an arc when operated.

Meters shall be located at least 3 ft from electrical meters and other sources of ignition. Meters shall not be installed closer than 2 ft from the front of an electric panel board on an adjacent wall, opposite or another wall. - PSE&G cited below. 

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
   

Gas meter clearance to sources of ignition

Electrical equipment that can serve as a source of ignition is defined as an ignition source if it creates an arc or spark during operation. Normal building electrical wiring and junction boxes are not sources of ignition,

Electrical panels, most electrical switches, relays, and similr controls that can create a spark when operated are considered a "source of ignition".

Electric meters on buildings are not considered a source of ignition.

All portions of a gas utility distribution system up to the outlet of the meter are regulated by 49 CFR Part 192, under the U.S. Department of Transportation. These regulations require a three-foot clearance from indoor meters to sources of ignition, but have no comparable requirement when the meter is located outdoors.

At least 3 feet, per NEC 110-26 & NFPA 54-National Fuel Gas Code for premises-owned gas meters. In at least some jurisdictions the National Fuel Gas Code excludes meters and other equipment used by the gas utility from includion within scope of the Code.

   
Gas Piping Clearance Distances - gas service piping

Gas services will not be laid in water or sewer ditches. - PSE&G 2017

Piping shall be buried a sufficient depth or covered in a manner so as to protect the piping from physical damage.

Consideration shall be given to encasing plastic pipe and tubing with a steel sleeve when future construction or heavy surface loading is anticipated such as crossovers, sewers, etc. - PSE&G 2017

Gas piping clearance distance to water well boring

10 feet

5 feet with special precautions, see Minnesota (2008)

Gas piping clearance distance to buried water, sewer, electric lines

3 feet

Underground natural gas distribution service and mains (metallic or plastic) shall have a clearance of 3 feet when running parallel or 12 inch vertical direction when crossing from any underground facility (water, sewer, electric, etc.). (QGCSP 3-10-05, 7.2) EXCEPTION: Unless installed under the joint trenching agreement. - Questargas  (2015)

Gas piping clearance underground to structure

No contact, maintenance space, damage protected

1211.1.1 Clearances. Underground gas piping shall be installed with sufficient clearance from any other underground structure to avoid contact therewith, to allow maintenance, and to protect against damage from proximity to other structures.

In addition, underground plastic piping shall be installed with sufficient clearance or shall be insulated from any source of heat so as to prevent the heat from impairing the serviceability of the pipe. [NFPA54: 7.1.1] 

Gas pipe, flexible, above-grade clearance 12" to termination from below grade or under slab to above grade or slab to connector fitting. Protection from damage required for vertical runs up the building outside. - TracPipe (2016)
Gas pipe, flexible, minimum cover for direct burial (not in concrete)

4" under 4" thick exterior slab with no vehicular traffic or under a building with an interior slab

12" in trench below 2" thick concrete or equivalent

18" under 1-2 family dwelling driveways, parking lots, used only for dwelling-related purposes

23" under streets, highways, roads, alleys, driveways, parking lots - TracPipe (2016)

Gas pipe, flexible, encased in concrete concrete envelope not less than 2" thick - TracPipe (2016)
   

Notes:

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.

Sources:

  • EC Magazine, "Code Questions & Answers", (February 2000 Q&A discussing August 1999 magazine issue) Electrical Contractor Magazine, 3 Bethesda Metro Center, Suite 1100 Bethesda, MD 20814 USA Tel: 301.657.3110 Website: http://www.ecmag.com/
  • GAS METER CODES & STANDARDS - given just below
  • Puget Sound Energy Inc's 2014 gas meter clearance specifications, retrieved 8/19/2014, - original source: https://pse.com/accountsandservices/Construction/Documents/3885.pdf
  • Questar Gas, "GOOD PRACTICES FOR GAS PIPING AND APPLIANCE INSTALLATIONS" [PDF] (2015) Questar Gas, now Dominion Energy, Website: https://www.dominionenergy.com/, - retrieved 2017/11/12, original source: https://www.questargas.com/brochures/59060_401.pdf

Gas Meter & Gas Piping Installation Information Sources & Relevant Building Codes & Standards

Typical Residential & Commercial Gas Meter Overall Dimensions

Typical residential gas meter dimensions (C) InspectApedia.com

Question by Garry - how big will the gas meter be if I install a higher capacity meter?

Hello. I would like to install a Generator and Pool Equipment near by existing gas meter.

Does the 3 foot distance apply to all equipment or just the heater and generator? Also if I increase the size of the gas meter, how big would it be?

[Click to enlarge any image] Gas meter dimensions and images shown here were adapted from illustrations provided by the plumbing supplier source cited below.

Reply: On 2017-07-01 by (mod) Typical Gas Meter Overall Dimensions for gas meters of various capacities

Typical commercial high capacity gas meter dimensions (C) InspectApedia.com

Garry:

I'd apply the clearance distance to all equipment since both safety and working space are requirements around the gas meter.

A larger-flow residential gas meter may be 1-3" larger in its largest dimention than your existing one, and are typically in this range:

Source: "Gas Meters for Natural or LPG Gas", PlumbingSupply.com, 994 E 20th St., Chico, CA 95928 USA retrieved 2017/07/01, original source: https://www.plumbingsupply.com/gasmeters.html

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

Or see BUILDING CODE DOWNLOADS - free downloadable PDF files of building codes & standards

Also see GAS FIREPLACE VENT CLEARANCE REQUIREMENTS

Or see GAS PIPING DEFECTS

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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