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View Full Version : Buying a House? Make sure there's no manhole cover


aceplace57
03-03-2011, 06:28 PM
Our street is getting the crap torn out of it. The gas lines are being replaced. Every house with a manhole cover is getting the yard torn up.

We have two houses per meter. So the manhole covers (with the water meter) skip every other yard. I feel so bad for the neighbors with those damn things in their yard. The guy two houses down has huge dozer tracks in his yard. Half his yard is ripped to shreds. I didn't realize until now that the Gas pipe follows the water.

Thank the Lord I lucked out and got a house that didn't have a manhole cover. I do have a sewer/storm drain manhole in the backyard along the fence. They come by several times a year to pump it out. But, that doesn't damage anything.

If you're buying a house. Pay attention. Notice if there's one in your front yard. Eventually, there will be dozers digging up the yard. You can kiss all your hard work on the grass goodbye. I pay chem lawn several hundred bucks a year for a nice yard.

Yes, the gas company will throw down some dried out sod. Guess who has to work his ass off watering it and trying to get it established? :D Yup, the property owner.

Musicat
03-03-2011, 06:44 PM
We have two houses per meter. Wow! Just 19 inches wide. Where do you put a twin bed?

KRC
03-03-2011, 07:13 PM
You think you got problems? Mine has a sinkhole and it's under the bedroom.

Goin' down now, goin' down down down.

Nunzio Tavulari
03-03-2011, 08:49 PM
I can't understand why anyone would buy a house with a manhole cover in the front (or back) yard anyway. I've never heard of that in my life; they belong in the street.

Ludovic
03-03-2011, 08:51 PM
My manhole is right out in the open with no cover, baby.

aceplace57
03-03-2011, 09:10 PM
You want the water meter reader to die? :eek: The meters are in the yard by the curb so they can be read safely. The cover is there so someone doesn't break a leg stepping in the hole.

Ours are different from my previous residence. At the old place, the water meter was covered by a rectangular cover about 12 inches x 8 inches. My current neighborhood had full size manhole covers about 2 feet in diameter.

I can't understand why anyone would buy a house with a manhole cover in the front (or back) yard anyway. I've never heard of that in my life; they belong in the street.

robby
03-03-2011, 09:11 PM
I can't understand why anyone would buy a house with a manhole cover in the front (or back) yard anyway. I've never heard of that in my life; they belong in the street.I work for a sewer utility. We try to put manholes in the streets, but this is not always feasible. The most important concern is ensuring that the sewers flow properly to the treatment plant with the least amount of pumping.

Peremensoe
03-03-2011, 09:15 PM
So the only lines being replaced are those on the supply side of the meters? No change to the lines from there into each house?

I'm confused by the two-houses-per-meter system. What's the point of a meter that serves two separate customers? Do they split the bill between you?

aceplace57
03-03-2011, 09:18 PM
Sorry, it's two water meters together in the hole. that way every other house has a manhole with the meters. Saves the meter reader time, since he gets two readings per stop. That's also my only shut off for the house. I've had to turn off the water there a few times for repairs.

Apparently they ran the gas lines in the same trench as the water lines. This is the first time they've replaced all the gas lines since I've lived here. I guess it's something they only do every thirty or forty years. The neighborhood was built in the 1950's.

Onomatopoeia
03-03-2011, 09:36 PM
This is a new one on me. I have never seen or even heard of manhole covers on one's lawn. Wow. Just when you think you've heard everything.

Caveat lector
03-03-2011, 10:28 PM
Are we talking a small cover (http://torranceca.gov/2162.htm) that you lift off and there is a meter under it or honest to goodness manholes that someone can go down? Because I think you mean the first and people are picturing the latter.

Heyoka13
03-03-2011, 10:31 PM
In the last 6 months;

we've had a gas leak in the back yard

we've replaced our well pump

we've had to replace the line to the septic tank

the water softener guy has been here twice

the water heater guy has been here once

the air conditioner guy has been here once, and needs to come back before it gets warm out

the furnace guy has been here twice, (but found no problem the first time)



Oh, the joys of home owner ship in the country!

ZipperJJ
03-03-2011, 10:34 PM
My parents have an honest-to-goodness manhole in their front yard. We used to stand on it to wait for the school bus. There also used to be a sign next to it on a rusty metal pole. Just a little white rectangle with a red line across it. I think it was there to warn snow plows to be careful.

They also have a natural gas access thing in the ditch behind the manhole.

I don't think their lawn has ever been torn up due to them having a manhole. It is about 3" from the street tho so maybe the street gets torn up? I honestly don't remember.

There are no sorts of meters in my parents' manhole (heh heh heh)

gotpasswords
03-03-2011, 11:41 PM
I've seen neighborhoods where they buried the overhead utilities as a retrofit, and I'm not convinced trading wires on poles for a mushroom forest of metal boxes in the front yard was a good idea.

They tried to balance it out so everyone had just one, but for every person who had a cable TV "pedestal" (a cylinder about the size of a loaf of bread) someone else had either a power transformer bigger than a clothes dryer or a manhole cover on a raised concrete ring. "So they'd be easier to find when it snows" was the reason I'd heard.

aceplace57
03-04-2011, 12:34 AM
I think it's a standard size manhole cover. I know it's a bitch lifting up when I have to kill the water to the house. It could take off a couple fingers if it smashed down on them. Underneath are the two water meters. You can't go down inside it like one in the street. It's only a shallow pit that's maybe 15 inches deep. Just enough to keep the meters from freezing.

The house I rented years ago, had one like your picture. That was very easy to open when I needed to kill the water to the house.


Are we talking a small cover (http://torranceca.gov/2162.htm) that you lift off and there is a meter under it or honest to goodness manholes that someone can go down? Because I think you mean the first and people are picturing the latter.

corkboard
03-04-2011, 09:00 AM
Our water meters have always been inside the house, in the basement. In the house I grew up in and in my own first house, the guy would come every month, go downstairs, and read it. In my current house he reads it remotely, from the street. I've never heard of a meter in the yard, under a manhole.

johnpost
03-04-2011, 10:33 AM
that is a warm climate thing. where i've been in ground freezing winter climates the water lines were below frost depth and the meters inside the houses in the basements.

CCYMan
03-04-2011, 01:02 PM
Wow! Just 19 inches wide. Where do you put a twin bed?

My thoughts exactly! At first I thought "whoa, the OP must be Barbie or Ken." It took me several readings to finally get that aceplace57 meant meter as in the thing that measures usage.

NinetyWt
03-04-2011, 01:10 PM
that is a warm climate thing. where i've been in ground freezing winter climates the water lines were below frost depth and the meters inside the houses in the basements.

So the meter reader goes in your basement to read the meter?


OP: You are not talking about manholes. You are talking about meter boxes.

A manhole is an access point to the sanitary sewer.

A meter box holds the meter for your drinking water.

Not the same. It's called a "manhole" because a man can climb down into it. You can't climb down into a meter box.

ETA: I hope that wasn't too terse, I don't mean to be snippy. :)

Dag Otto
03-04-2011, 03:10 PM
So the only lines being replaced are those on the supply side of the meters? No change to the lines from there into each house?



The meter is the usual point of demarcation between the utility's property and the homeowner's property. Everything downstream of the meter is owned by the homeowner and replaced onthe homeowner's dime.

It would be a good time to replace them though - the lawn is already torn up, and if the pipe is steel and 50 years old, they probably need replacement.

ZipperJJ
03-04-2011, 04:47 PM
So the meter reader goes in your basement to read the meter?


I think they have some sort of responder that sends the info out to the street, if modern enough. I've got a meter in my basement and I've never had a meter reader come inside in the 5 years I've been here, but I've had several bills that say the reading is "actual."

Snickers
03-04-2011, 05:27 PM
that is a warm climate thing. where i've been in ground freezing winter climates the water lines were below frost depth and the meters inside the houses in the basements.

Ah. Thanks for the clarification - I was all stymied too. My water meter's in the basement; a couple of years ago my city had a technician install a new radio transmitter thingie so that they can just read it from the street automagically.

NinetyWt
03-04-2011, 05:39 PM
Corkboard answered my question before I posted it, actually.


Our water meters have always been inside the house, in the basement. In the house I grew up in and in my own first house, the guy would come every month, go downstairs, and read it.

What happened if you weren't home? Did they just estimate that month's usage, or come back later?


Our meters are in small boxes. You'd hardly notice them. (http://irrigationtutorials.com/sprinkler03b.jpg)

Here is a cute graphic showing placement of the meter box in the front yard. (http://savingwater.org/waterconnection/images/meterbox.jpg)

dhkendall
03-05-2011, 11:47 AM
No manhole cover in the yard, but we do have a fire hydrant in the front yard. Handy as a landmark and (God forbid) if our house should ever catch fire (there was a (seems like) small fire in the house kitty-corner from us once, though, when it was used).

But it also means that in the winter time, city crews who clear the streets always drive their dozers on my front lawn, ripping up the neat path I make to the street, leaving densely packed snow that's hard to walk on, so that there is easy access to the hydrant and that it isn't buried in snow.

(Parking, thankfully, is on the opposite side of the street, so we can still park in front of the house (well, I guess technically, in front of the house across the street from us, but close enough!)

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