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How To Read Your Meter

How to Read an Electric Meter

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit
If you can tell time, you can read an electric meter. If you cannot tell time, you can still read an electric meter with a few simple instructions on reading electric meters. Reading an electric meter is really simple if you are looking at a digital one as you read it just like you would a car odometer, but for instances where you have to read an electric meter with a set of dials across it, the reading is not as apparent.


  1. Read the dials from left to right. Read the meter just as you would if you were reading a book or a set of numbers. Begin on the left. Mark the numbers down. After you mark a number for each dial across, you have the electric meter reading.
  2. Do not let the direction of the numbers confuse you. Some of the dials will be numbered clockwise. The other dials may be numbered counter clockwise.
  3. Look where the arrow is pointing. If the arrow is pointing between 2 numbers, the reading is the smaller number. If the arrow is pointing directly on a number, verify what the number should be by referencing the dial to the right of it. If the arrow on that dial is past zero, the reading on the original dial is the number the arrow is pointing to. If the arrow on the right hand dial is not to or past the zero yet, the reading on the original dial is the number before the one the arrow seems to be pointing to.
  4. Find out how your electric company reads the last dial. Some companies round up to the next highest number. Other companies record the number that the arrow is closest to. If you are interested in calculating your kilowatt hours on your own and getting a calculation close to what the electric company does, it is beneficial to know how the company reads this last number.
  5. Check for K-10 or K-20 markings on the meter. These meters read by the tens or twenties of kilowatt hours. To get a calculation, multiply the reading by ten or by twenty, depending on the number on the meter.
  6. Calculate your kilowatt hours used. Most electric companies do not reset the meter to zero after every reading. This means, to calculate the number of kilowatt hours you have used, you need to keep track of consecutive readings. Subtract the current reading from the last reading to get the most recent kilowatt hours used.

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Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Read an Electric Meter. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Choosing Lighting- Room By Room

How to Choose the Right Lighting for Each Room

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit
Lighting is one of the key elements that helps make your house a home. The proper lighting enables you to perform tasks easily, makes you feel safer and more comfortable, and allows you to enjoy your home at its full potential. Each room however, has specific and unique General and Accent lighting needs. We’ve laid out some tips and ideas to consider when planning your lighting needs for each room in your home. If you are uncertain about what type of lighting fixture you need, or you're just looking for inspiration, take a few minutes to browse through this guide!

Foyer, Halls, and Stairways
  1. The foyer conveys the first impression of a home's interior. Center a traditional chandelier, contemporary pendant, or transitional close-to-ceiling fixture in your hallway to provide basic illumination and create a welcoming atmosphere.
  2. Make sure to size the decorative fixture to the space. Not all foyers can accommodate a large chandelier, so make sure the size proportions are correct. Likewise, if you have a larger space, you'll need a larger fixture. If you'll be able to view the fixture from above, make sure to select a foyer chandelier or pendant that looks attractive from second story viewing.
  3. Remember that stairways and halls must have good general lighting for safety. To prevent accidents, stairs should be lit from top to bottom with switches in both places. For safety in hallways, place lighting fixtures every 8 to 10 feet. Tie in the fixtures you choose by matching your foyer chandelier or pendant with close-to-ceiling fixtures for hallways and smaller chain hung fixtures for stairways.
  4. Use matching wall sconces to complement the hanging foyer fixture. Always mount a sconce above eye level (approximately 66" from the center of the fixture to the floor) so that the lamp source is not visible
Living Area
  1. Enhance your room's ambience, dramatize wall textures, accent artwork, or just provide general illumination for your den, living room, family room, playrooms, or bedrooms. A variety of different types of lighting fixtures will work for both your general lighting and accent lighting needs.
  2. Use recessed lighting to light a general area. This is preferred because the light source is concealed. Close-to-Ceiling Fixtures, Wall Sconces, and Interior Lamps are also excellent choices and provide ample lighting. These fixtures are not only decorative pieces, but are ideal sources of task lighting for reading or playing games.
  3. Try recessed lighting or track lighting to make a room come alive by accenting artwork, wall washing, or grazing. Interior lamps are also a great choice.
  4. Try CFL Lighting to get more value for your money.
Dining Room
  1. Your dining table is in place, chairs are pushed in, and the table is set. The only thing remaining to complete the picture is the center piece, your light fixture. This lighting fixture is the focal point of your room, so it needs to express your own personal style, while still satisfying general lighting needs. Whether your dining and entertaining style is casual and laid back, or is generally more formal, choose a fixture that reflects you.
  2. Use a chandelier or pendant for general lighting. Both fixtures are excellent sources of lighting and are sure to set the tone of your dining room. Recessed wall washers can also provide additional light while helping to create an illusion of a larger room space. When hanging a chandelier, make sure that the chandelier is 6" to 12" smaller than the narrowest side of the table. The bottom of the pendant or chandelier should be approximately 30" above your table.
  3. Add adjustable halogen recessed fixtures aimed on the table and chandelier. This will provide additional light on the table, and will also bring out the brilliance of the chandelier. Consider companion sconces on either side of a china cabinet or hutch.
  1. The kitchen is often the busiest part of the house. Not only are your meals prepared here, but your family and guests gather here as well. Sufficient and adequate lighting is a must for performing all your culinary needs, helping your kids with their homework, and reading the paper.
  2. Go with decorative fluorescent fixtures centered over a workspace. Kitchens less than 100 square feet require a two lamp fluorescent, up to 250 square feet will require supplemental lighting. Down lights mounted 18" off the edge of the cabinets, and spaced 3' to 4' on centers is an excellent way to create additional general lighting.
  3. Use undercabinet lighting to help prevent shadows on the counters, while adding critical light to the workspace. Fluorescent undercabinet fixtures are also a cost efficient lighting source. In open areas over sinks use recessed downlights mounted directly over the sink. Mounting mini-pendants 18" to 24" above the work surface is an ideal way to light up a breakfast bar or counter dinettes, a pendant on a dimmer, hanging 24" to 30" above the table, is ideal for task lighting. Size the fixture to roughly 12" less than the diameter of the table.
  4. Illuminate your special home objects, architectural detail, or food presentation areas with track or recessed lighting. Use undercabinet lighting in cabinets, valences, and toe spaces and create drama while also supplying additional light to navigate around your kitchen in the evening.
  5. Choose fluorescent lights to provide that missing ambient lighting. The ambient light provided by fluorescent fixtures will fill in your kitchen's shadows, reduce contrast, and light vertical surfaces to give the space a brighter feel.
Bath and Vanity
  1. Bathroom lighting is probably the last place people want to invest time and money. Mirrors go unlit, and oftentimes one ceiling fixture is used to light up the sink, mirror, and shower. However, as whirlpool tubs become larger and steam showers are added, more and more time is spent relaxing in the bathroom. Since you begin and end your day in the bathroom, why not spend a little extra time considering which fixtures and lights would work best?
  2. Use several recessed down lights or decorative surface-mounted fixtures for areas over 100 square feet. Add companion close-to-ceiling fixtures to supplement bath wall brackets in larger bathrooms. Companion close to ceiling fixtures supplement bath wall brackets in larger bathrooms.
  3. Mount one fixture over the mirror to light a bathroom, but realize it can cause shadows on the face. If using recessed lighting, avoid creating shadows by not mounting them directly over the mirror. Adding wall brackets to the side of the mirror is one of the best way to eliminate shadows on the face. For mirrors under 48" wide use vertically mounted wall brackets and position them 75 to 80 inches above the floor. If the fixture uses exposed lamps, do not use a higher wattage than 40 watts. Fixtures with clear or well diffused glass use nor more than 75 watts. Color corrected fluorescent lamps should be used when fluorescent fixtures are desired. In the shower, use recessed lights or a ceiling mounted plastic unit.
  4. Try a small recessed light directed at a piece of decorative art work or a beautiful powder basin creates an extra layer of lighting. Angle a recessed shower fixture and highlight nice tilework or make your shower fixtures sparkle.
Exterior Lighting
  1. Whether your goal is to enhance the beauty of your home, or provide additional security, you have numerous lighting options to light up your home's exterior. These lights are both functional and fun! Extend the hours you can spend outside, or create a festive environment!
  2. The selection of lighting fixtures is of two primary types: decorative and functional. Decorative fixtures are used along pathways, on walls and posts, and entrance foyers. The design of these fixtures should complement the look and feel of your house and landscape while providing sufficient lighting for safety, security, and functionality. When installing a wall lantern, size the fixture to the door and surrounding space. Wall lanterns should be mounted slightly above eye level at about 60" to 66" from the center of the fixture to the floor. Post-top lanterns can be selected to match the style of the wall lanterns. Large post top lanterns make a better impression when used in large open space.
  3. Be mindful, however that most lantern-style fixtures are glaring light sources. They spill light in all directions and can be a cause of light tresspass (onto others' properties) and distracting glare for drivers. Many lighting designers forego lantern style lights entirely and instead use lights with hoods (that shield the glare) and lights that are positioned within plant material so they are hidden completely.
  4. Hidden lights are of the second type - functional. They are strategically positioned around the property to selectively illuminate plant material and architecture. A skilled lighting designer positions fixtures so only the effect of the illumination is seen, not the lighting fixtures themselves.
  5. Add landscape lighting, deck lighting, and step lighting to not only bring out the beauty of the home at night, but also add extra security and safety.

Sources and Citations

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Choose the Right Lighting for Each Room. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.