PDA

View Full Version : Valve Box Locks


ed2hess
12-06-2006, 06:06 PM
Has anybody run across a way to lock a 9" valve box? This HOA is using a lot of the Rainbird Easy Rain and they along a major street with a lot of foot traffic. It is a lot of money in that one box...

SprinklerGuy
12-06-2006, 06:30 PM
Drywall screws????

Wet_Boots
12-06-2006, 07:28 PM
Some boxes have been made with a molded-in brass nut, and a place for a bolt to be installed

jerryrwm
12-06-2006, 07:33 PM
AMC should have the locking Ametek boxes.

PurpHaze
12-06-2006, 09:44 PM
The old adage, "Locks just keep honest people honest" is quite true. We haven't found a plastic box that has a good locking mechanism. We bolt some of our boxes and have gone as far as getting the type of bolts that need a special tool to remove them. People just come along with a good shovel and break the lid by forcibly prying it up.

PurpHaze
12-06-2006, 09:46 PM
Some boxes have been made with a molded-in brass nut, and a place for a bolt to be installed

A lot of companies have stopped using the brass nut and switched to a nylon type nut. The bolts would eventually freeze from rust into the brass nuts.

Dirty Water
12-06-2006, 10:01 PM
I thought you just buried your boxes and then used to your Super Irrigation sixth sense to find them Hayes?

Wet_Boots
12-06-2006, 10:02 PM
Stainless steel bolts are the preferred option to go with the brass, I think. I don't worry about them too much. I'll often break out the locks on the Ametek rectangular boxes.

PurpHaze
12-06-2006, 10:06 PM
I thought you just buried your boxes and then used to your Super Irrigation sixth sense to find them Hayes?

You must be speaking of my witching prowess which is exquisite because of the Seminole blood running through my venous plumbing. :laugh:

Actually, valve boxes are set to grade unless they are on a sports field. In that case they are buried and measured exactly and indicated on a CAD plan. I'm still looking into getting that marker ball setup and then we'll just bury them all. :)

PurpHaze
12-06-2006, 10:11 PM
Stainless steel bolts are the preferred option to go with the brass, I think. I don't worry about them too much. I'll often break out the locks on the Ametek rectangular boxes.

Problem is that when the "lock area" of a box is broken then the retaining tab is often also broken. Then if there is an excess of water in the area the lid will float creating a safety hazard or the lid can be flipped by a mower hitting it just right. The newer double tabbed lids that we use with a tab at both ends actually work a little better than bolting the lids down. We have to use our lid pullers to pop the lids because they snap into the box rim so tightly.

We do not use the "T" shaped lids that have the lip that goes over the outer part of the box rim. We use insert lids only.

PurpHaze
12-06-2006, 10:25 PM
Of, forgot... don't get me started on plastic round boxes. Their manufacturing changes so much and the suppliers change so much that it's hard to find the correct lid replacement. I've never seen a round plastic box with a lid that will withstand a large mower or sits right on the box even if bolted down. Round boxes for us are concrete Christy G-5 or F-8 boxes with cast iron lids and are solely used for isolation valves. Round boxes disappear from overgrown grass so the cast iron lids allow us to take our metal detector and find them fast. If we find a round plastic box it's replaced ASAP.

Wet_Boots
12-06-2006, 10:39 PM
Problem is that when the "lock area" of a box is broken then the retaining tab is often also broken. Then if there is an excess of water in the area the lid will float creating a safety hazard or the lid can be flipped by a mower hitting it just right.Of course, the lids on boxes 'in harm's way' have to keep their locks, but most of ours are in shrub areas, and never run over.

I actually like round Ameteks in a lawn, where I use a mainline design, because the covers don't stand out so much.

PurpHaze
12-06-2006, 10:45 PM
I actually like round Ameteks in a lawn, where I use a mainline design, because the covers don't stand out so much.

I figure if exposed rectangle boxes in grass areas are good enough for the "Mouse House" then that's good enough for me. :laugh:

Dirty Water
12-07-2006, 12:14 AM
We use the 6" round quite often for single valves. I hate the 10" round ones that carson makes.

The lids stay down once you slide them over to lock them, but its hard to pull them back up with a gloved hand.

Hank Reardon
12-07-2006, 12:35 AM
We use the 6" round quite often for single valves. I hate the 10" round ones that carson makes.

The lids stay down once you slide them over to lock them, but its hard to pull them back up with a gloved hand.

The Carson 10" is a PITA to open with gloves, no doubt. But the 6" gets lost in turf too easy. On properties we maintain (landscape), we trim around the valve boxes every spring. I'm Pro-valve box. I put ISO's in a 10" (and quick couples) and nothing in anything smaller than a Standard (3 valve max; 4 get a Jumbo). On "busy" landscapes we will work with the landscape contractor to help hid them with the plantings. You can never have too many :) .

As for plastic vs. steel, I had one of my maintenance crew guys suck a plastic water meter lid up with a mower last year. (The City of Bellevue water purveyor replaced it with a steel lid.) The good news was the mower was fine. Not so for a mower this year. The operator was mowing at a lower height (fall season) and dropped a wheel in a hole. This time a bent crank from the impact on the corner of the concrete vault with steel lid. $350 later for the new crank...

PurpHaze
12-07-2006, 08:05 AM
Hank... Sounds more like the hole's or driver's fault than the vault's fault. :)

Hank Reardon
12-07-2006, 08:51 AM
Hank... Sounds more like the hole's or driver's fault than the vault's fault. :)

The plastic one was sucked up (I know of the box and it's quite recessed). As for the metal one that did the damage, completely operator error.

Wet_Boots
12-07-2006, 08:54 AM
Oh sure, blame the hole. I'm not sure I've ever had any of the cover-lifting tools. A big pair of slip-joint pliers usually works for the various Ameteks I've used.

Hank Reardon
12-07-2006, 09:08 AM
Oh sure, blame the hole. I'm not sure I've ever had any of the cover-lifting tools. A big pair of slip-joint pliers usually works for the various Ameteks I've used.

I didn't know there were special cover-lifting tools. The slip-joints are my ticket as well.

PurpHaze
12-08-2006, 08:14 AM
I didn't know there were special cover-lifting tools. The slip-joints are my ticket as well.

It's basically a 3' rod (with rubber handle) with a flattened/curved piece of steel welded onto the end. You slip the end into the lid's hole, pull up and pop the lid out.

Wet_Boots
12-08-2006, 11:09 AM
It's basically a 3' rod (with rubber handle) with a flattened/curved piece of steel welded onto the end. You slip the end into the lid's hole, pull up and pop the lid out.Ametek has two specific tools for their boxes. The first is for the snap locks on the rectangular boxes, and the second is for the round box.