Thursday, February 19, 2015


Apparently not every main water shut off is inside the house. I didn't know that and I had never known a home to be any other way. Sometimes they are outside, under the ground, this is a wonderful place to put something that you might need to use some day! Burying something useful sounds like the water company is run by pirates.

I installed a new mini bar sink and since the last guy had no clue what he was doing and messed it up royally, I had to do a lot. Long story short, I needed to shut off the main water supply to the house so I could hook up the hot and cold water to my new sink. The first problem was finding it.

I looked everywhere, in every room, in every closet, in every space, in the attic, in the garage, on the outside of the house, and finally I was just plain stumped. (I realize how looking for it in all those places makes me look stupid because as we all know it should only be in about 2-3 different places but when it wasn't in the obvious spots, I could only assume it was somewhere else).

I asked the neighbor if he knew and he explained that it is under the ground by the curb in front of my house. How convenient! This was new for me because where I grew up every single house has a main water shut off on the inside, you don't have to go outside or open up a cover to find it under ground, it's usually just in your basement or where your water heater is located.

Getting this cover off was as easy as......well it wasn't easy at all! It took forever and I actually had to go buy a special tool just to do it. Even after I had the tool it wasn't easy. Now we come to the point of this whole blog (FINALLY!) I looked high and low for things on the internet on how to open this water meter cover, and I didn't find anything. Specifically it will help those of you in North Texas, Dallas area, Carrollton to be exact.

This cover is made to stay on and you'll need a special key to open it. How convenient! Not for you, but the water company. I think that is why it is like this, so they can control the main water line to your house. I guess if you don't pay your bill they can come out and turn it off which makes perfect sense but since it is the one and only shut off when someone needs the water to shut off when doing work inside the house, let's say for example putting in a new sink, it becomes a ridiculous hassle and pain in the *swear word of a body part goes here*.

You can call the water company anytime, as they told me when I called them, and they'll come out and take off the cover and turn the water off for you but let's face it, that isn't very practical. So get this special key so you can do it yourself anytime you want. Besides, it is your water, your house, you should be able to turn it off if you want without the water company's say so. 

Getting his key wasn't easy either. Home Depot had it but Lowes didn't because they were sold out! I guess a lot of people want to shut off their own water....imagine that. This key tool fits directly into this special shaped hole. TRUST ME, you can't get it off by sticking screw drivers down there. (I tried) You can also order this key online. I think it only cost 3 dollars and some change in the store but you'll have it for life so why not?

Well I make a special trip to Lowes then had to go to Home Depot and finally got my key. Getting the right key feels like a scene from the Legend of Zelda. It really essentially is the same thing, I had never experienced this in real life before, maybe on small scale when you're opening a door and have 10 keys and you're trying every one and then you get the right one and you're like, YES!!! This feeling was like that only to a greater extent.

FINALLY, I can open up the cover and get into that pesky shut off valve. NOPE. My key wouldn't work and I had no idea why. It was the right shape and it fit in and even turned but it just plain wouldn't open this cover. Now I was mad. I called up the water company and demanded that they come out and open up this stupid cover immediately! (not how actual phone call went) They were really nice about it and sent a guy out and in 15 mins. he was here.

I hate to say it but I really wanted to be a smug jerk and have him NOT open this cover, the same way I wasn't able to, just to make myself feel better. I really prepared myself for when he couldn't open it to squat down to his level, point right in his face and scream out, "HA!!!" Well the water company man bent down on one knee, entered his key, (looked identical to mine) and I squinted my eyes and smirked, he turned his key, (just as mine turned in the hole) he lifted and, THE COVER CAME OFF. My jaw dropped to the ground and I wanted to smack him. I didn't understand what I did wrong. He turned off the water and said to call him back when I wanted it turned on again.

I couldn't let him get away and I asked if he would try MY key because I couldn't open it. He said sure and I got my key and gave it to him. Sure enough try as he might, he couldn't open it either! I felt so much better. He looked at it and scratched his head and tried it again and took out his key and looked at it and scratched his head and finally he found the problem...

Look at the very specific shape of your key. If it does not work, as mine did not, you have to shave off the edge so it is in this shape and THEN it will work. I used a variety of files to shave down this corner to where it needed to be. Luckily I had a bunch of different files to choose from, if you don't it's ok, but it might take you a little longer and yours might not look as good as mine but if it gets the stupid cover off, who cares?!?!

Now the key fit and turned perfectly but the cover remained locked. I had to pull the key to the side and THEN it worked. Just play around with your key and you'll get it too, use it like a joystick. Once off it becomes much simpler! UNLESS...that is of course, you don't have the next important tool. I am rolling my eyes people.

This next tool is very handy and it makes things simple, if you don't have it you can use a wrench. Simply turn off the main water supply to your house. Turn on your facets and let the water drain out until the pipe is empty and you are ready to go to work! In my case it was cutting off the pipe and installing a new valve.

I then turned the water back on and closed up the cover WITH MY OWN KEY. I called the water company and told them I wouldn't be needing them to come back to turn on my water. Yes, partly to be courteous but mostly to be a smug jerk that didn't need their help. (Although I had already gone crawling to them for help earlier in the day).

I hope this helped someone because the last I checked there is nothing else on the internet like this. So if you're having the same issues, perhaps this helped you.

No comments: