After a search, you have discovered the source of the peculiar squeaking sound: it’s your gas meter. The high-pitched squeak can be attributed to the gas meter, but what exactly causes it, and what steps should you take to address it?
It’s highly probable that the noise originates from the gas meter’s internal components grinding against one another. Fortunately, the noise itself poses no danger, as the gas measurement apparatus is protected by a metal casing. However, it’s important first to ensure that the gas meter is operating correctly before contacting the
Every gas meter is equipped with internal, mobile components that gauge the volume of gas entering your gas system. As with any operating device, parts can wear out or fall out of alignment over time. While other issues with gas meters do occur, they are infrequent. Knowing more about gas meters can help alleviate concerns of potential gas leaks caused by faulty equipment.
If you suspect there may be other problems with a gas appliance, consider reading this article about gas-fired furnaces for more information.
How Does a Gas Meter Work?
There are three primary types of gas meters utilized in the industry, two of which employ known volume methods of measurement for natural gas. The third type measures the quantity of gas delivered through the meter using the actual flow rate of the gas. Regardless of the type of gas meter used, all three contain mobile components that can create noise.
Diaphragm Meters – Round and Round the System Goes
The diaphragm gas meter consists of four chambers, each of which is covered by a diaphragm membrane. A rotating piston moves from one chamber to another, allowing gas to fill the chamber by stretching the diaphragm.
After the gas fills a chamber, the piston moves to the next one, and the gas-filled chamber is then directed to your home’s gas system. The utility company can determine your gas consumption by counting the number of chambers that have been filled and released within a billing cycle.
Rotary Displacement Meters – Counting Turns
Rotary displacement meters operate similarly by filling and counting a fixed space. In a rotary displacement meter, two rotary impellers that face each other form the chamber. As the impellers rotate, gas enters the chambers created, and the meter counts the number of impeller revolutions.
Turbine Meters – Go with the Flow
Turbine systems also measure flow rates, albeit in a slightly different manner. The turbine gas meter comprises a gear system, a turbine enclosed within an extrusion housing, and a sealed gas meter body. The turbine starts to rotate as the gas flows through the extrusion housing.
The gear body records the number of rotations the turbine completes. The gas company utilizes this count to determine the quantity of gas that has passed through the meter.
Gas companies use turbine meters in a gas system that undergoes variations in flow rates or pressure. The turbine meter can measure gas flow precisely despite fluctuations in the system, making it somewhat more precise than other types of meters.
Video: Fixing Your Squeaky Gas Meter
That Squeaking Your Hear Maybe Normal
All types of gas meters consist of moving parts, mostly made of plastic that is specifically designed for natural gas use. Nevertheless, natural gas can sometimes contain other gases that might deteriorate or harm plastic components. Over time, the plastic parts will wear out as well.
It is common to hear squeaking, clicking, or moaning noises emanating from your gas meter. These noises can be bothersome and frustrating, especially if the gas meter is situated inside your home. Contacting your gas utility will prompt a technician to visit your location. The technician will either repair the meter or replace the noisy one with a new meter.
If the Meter Makes Noise, is it Dangerous?
No. Gas meters are considered safe. The gas measurement system is encased in a robust metal housing with seals to prevent leakage. Even if the measuring system malfunctions, the housing will contain the gas.
Is there anything I can do to Stop the Squeaking?
No, you should never attempt to fix, repair, or remove a gas meter since it is the gas company’s property. In some states, tampering with a gas meter can be considered a criminal offense, even if done in good faith. It is recommended to contact your gas utility and let their trained technicians handle any issues or concerns with the gas meter.
How Do I Know if the Gas Meter is Working Right?
If you suspect your gas meter is not correctly measuring the amount of gas you use, you can check it by reading it. It’s a straightforward process that can be completed in a few simple steps.
Step 1 – Locate the Meter and the Dials
Locate your gas meter and examine the front of it. You will notice a row of dials displaying numbers from 0 to 9 on each dial. The number of dials may differ based on the manufacturer, but the procedure for reading them is the same.
Step 2 – Work from Left to Right
Yes, that’s correct. To clarify, when you read the dials, you should always start from the dial on the left and move towards the right. Always record the lower number if the hand on a dial is between two numbers. After reading all the dials, write down the numbers you have obtained to get the correct gas meter reading.
Step 3 – Calculating the Amount of Gas You Use
To calculate the gas usage, you need to take two readings from the meter: the starting and final readings, taken several days apart. Subtract the starting reading from the final reading to get the total amount of gas passed through the meter during that period.
What The Number Means
Gas consumption is typically measured in cubic feet by most gas utility companies. However, the measurement may be in thousands of cubic feet in colder areas. To find out what units your gas utility company uses to measure gas consumption, all you need to do is call their customer service department.
In addition to knowing the units of measurement, you will need to be aware of the gas rates that your utility company applies to each unit. Having knowledge of the current rate will help you estimate your gas bill for the period you have measured.
But What Does that Tell Me?
When conducting a meter reading, it is essential to have an idea of the amount of gas consumed during the period. If the heating system and water heater are the only natural gas appliances in the house, an abnormally high gas meter reading in the summer months may indicate a problem.
Be Safe – Work with your Gas Utility if You Suspect a Problem
Natural gas safety has been well established, and gas companies are diligent about maintaining safe and efficient systems. If you suspect an issue with your gas meter, it is important to contact your gas utility and report any concerns.
In the event that you suspect a gas leak or detect visible damage to your gas meter, there are several actions you should take as soon as possible.
- In case of a suspected gas leak, it is important to call the gas utility company immediately, even if there is no visible evidence of a leak.
- If there is visible damage to the gas meter or you can hear gas hissing out, evacuate the area around the meter immediately. Contact 911 and report the gas leak to the appropriate authorities.
- If the gas leak is inside your home, evacuate the premises and inform your neighbors in joined housing or apartments to leave as well.
It is crucial to take gas leaks seriously, as they can easily turn into explosions and fire hazards. It is important to avoid trying to diagnose a gas leak yourself. Even something as simple as flipping a light switch can trigger an explosion and create a fireball.
Annoying, But Not Really Dangerous
While a noisy gas meter can be bothersome, it does not pose any risk unless there is visible damage to the meter. It’s important to remember that the gas meter is the property of the gas utility company and any issues or concerns should be reported to them immediately.
By learning about gas meters and reading them, you can be proactive about your gas usage and potentially save money on your gas bill. Remember to always prioritize safety and report any concerns to your gas utility company immediately.