So what is the minimum required distance between the gas meter and an electric socket?
The magic number is 3 feet or 1m.
This clearance doesn’t just apply to electrical sockets. It’s essential that you maintain the same distance between the gas meter and any electrical equipment that can spark or arc.
This includes any kinds of electrical switches as well as electrical panels. These are potential sources of ignition.
Notably, an electric meter and normal electric wiring are not considered ignition sources. But gas companies will still maintain a certain distance between them and the gas meter.
Gas and Electricity Safety
Gas is, obviously, highly combustible. So anything that can ignite the gas should be a safe distance away.
This includes obvious sources like a grill or an open flame. It also includes electrical equipment that may produce sparks or arcing, whether as part of their normal operation or because of a fault.
This equipment should be at least three feet or one meter from the gas meter.
It is for the same reason that some gas companies will refuse to situate a gas meter indoors. It’s harder to maintain a proper safe distance from electric outlets and switches.
Some companies also cite ease of access to the meter (for taking readings) as the reason they cannot install a gas meter indoors.
Note that there isn’t a specific regulation about putting gas meters indoors and some gas companies will happily do it usually in the garage as long as there’s sufficient distance between the meter and electrical equipment.
How to Do a Safe Distance Check Yourself
It’s more accurate and allows you to take measurements in awkward and hard-to-reach areas such as if the panel is high on the wall.
In some cases, you may need to measure distance from the gas meter to an electrical outlet through the air instead of along the wall. A laser distance meter will be easier to use and more accurate than a tape measure.
But if you are measuring along an easily-accessible part of the wall or floor, a tape measure is good enough.
Note: If you discover that the gas meter is too close to an electrical outlet, your gas company can move it for you for free or at a cost depending on how far it needs to be moved.
What About Gas Piping?
The distance requirements for gas piping are different from those of gas meters.
According to BS 6891:2005, gas piping should be at least 150mm away from electrical switches, outlets, panels and consumer units.
This is closer than gas meters, likely because there’s a smaller risk of leaking from gas pipes compared to gas meters.
There are many additional requirements for the location of gas meters and related equipment. For instance, the gas meter should be a minimum of 500mm away from the ground rod.
If you are putting in a new gas connection, your gas company will ensure that the meter and piping are at a safe location.
If you already have a gas connection but are concerned that it may be too close to safety hazards, always consult your gas company or a qualified electrician before taking any action.