Below ground level water meter protection

My new house has a water meter out front that is about 24 inches below ground level. The problem is that there is little-to-no freeze protection. It is simply at the bottom of a hole dug in the dirt, The hole is over 24 inches diameter at the top. There is a flat round piece of metal plate that is supposed to cover it. It does not fit tightly, and if it is a little off-center then there is also a gap. I have seen this happen because the meter readers are not careful in replacing it.
Low temp here last year was eight below zero, fahrenheit. Is there anything I can do to protect the meter and the PCV pipe leaving the meter, which is exposed? I thought of placing a trash bag filled with plastic peanuts in the hole, but then realized that would freeze to the dirt and get ripped. Whatever I use has to allow the meter readers to get access.
Thanks for any ideas. -dan z-
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On 10/19/2016 2:04 PM, slate_leeper wrote:

...
I _presume_ there's more than just the hole but is a piece of drainage conduit or somesuch? Otherwise, over time it's going to collapse and then it won't be a problem... :)
I'd modify the lid to have registration so it does fit as a first step. How much does the meter output location they've got to see extend above the bottom? You could fill that part semi-permanently with foam cut to fit and likely that'd be all you'd need. Could also attach as part of the first part there 3-4" of solid foam to the bottom of the lid so it serves both purposes simultaneously.
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Unfortunately, no, there is no liner of any type on the hole, which is why the steel plate does not fit tightly on top. My current house does have a concrete liner and a fairly tight fitting steel cap on that.
-dan z-
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Where I live, the city utility department owns the meter box.
That means if it is installed wrong, they will tell the builder to fix it.
It also means you are not allowed to mess with it.
In fact they'll tell you you're not supposed to have a shutoff wrench for their valve, but they can't enforce that. In my neighborhood the houses were all built without internal main supply shutoff valves, so we all own that wrench and keep it handy.
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Yea, you could break it..... But what happens when your basement is flooding and there is no way to turn off the water. I saw this happen in someone's home. By the time the water utility finally was able to shut off the water, by bringing in a lot of equipment to dig up the lawn, that basement had 4 feet of water in it, and everything down there was ruined. Furnace, washer/dryer, water heater, and lots of stored stuff.
Soak that valve with PB Blaster daily for several weeks, then carefully turn it a little at a time. OR, pay a plumber to replace it NOW. That will still be cheaper than having a flood.....
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wrote:

Have a machine shop cut a piece of similar metal that DOES fit. Then cut some foam insulation (like that pink stuff used on walls), that fits fairly tight, under the lid, and glue it to a piece of treated 1/2" plywood. Install a handle to it, so the meter readers can easily lift it out. You could also get a short heat tape to wrap around meter and pipes, and leave the cord where you wont cut it off with the lawn mower. (like attach it to to a wooden post, next ot the hole) Then if you get a severe cold spell, run an extension cord and plug it in.
Also, check what neighbors use.....
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On 10/19/2016 4:12 PM, snipped-for-privacy@unlisted.moo wrote:

Meter reader? Most meters are read by a guy driving down the street getting information from a transponder. In 35 years, only once has anyone been in my house and that was to install the transponder.
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I know they did that in some big cities, but do they do it everywhere now? I have a well, so I dont know.... I'm surprised they dont just run the readings thru the internet now, so they dont have to drive anywhere.
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This is rural east Tennessee. We only got remote-reading electric meters about five years ago. Water department has not caught up.
-dan z-
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Consider installing an insulated, thermoplastic, water meter box. If you are in a really cold environment, you can stuff some insulating foam rubber in the box and then replace the cover.
A Google search will turn up some options for you or you can call your water company and ask if they have some recommendations.
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On 10/19/2016 2:04 PM, slate_leeper wrote:

Actually, an idea that came later is that this is an issue the builder should've fixed. Since it's new, lay the onus on them to correct it.
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I guess I should have made clear that the "new" house is new to me. My current house is for sale, and the "new" house is where I will be moving. It was actually built in the 80's.
-dan z-
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On 10/20/2016 6:45 AM, slate_leeper wrote: ...

In that case, it must not have been much of a problem up to now...
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I presume because it was occupied and so water was running through the pipes often enough to prevent the freezing. It was unoccupied all last winter. I shut the main inlet off in the house. The line coming in is buried quite deeply and the only exposed part is in that meter hole. Now I have an underground water leak in that pipe, and I am presuming that it actually froze near the meter but the pressure caused the leak elsewhere at the weakest point.
-dan z-
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On Thursday, October 20, 2016 at 7:46:04 AM UTC-4, slate_leeper wrote:

Then it's even more clear that the meter box is not yours. It belongs to t he city, Public Works or Utility Dept or whatever they call themselves. If you do some half baked DIY construction to "protect" it, they will probabl y rip it out and charge you a service call. Don't do anything without thei r approval.
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Done that. They said they will send out an inspector next week.
-dan z-
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This might be workable. I have an extra large plastic garbage can that is tapered. Thanks for the idea. I could probably even make it so that the garbage can lid would still be usable on top, if I can get the cut off can anchored well enough so that it doesn't pull out with the lid.
-dan z-
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wrote:

That may work, or get a plastic sump pump pit, and modify it to fit in the hole. They come with a lid and everything.
First, see if this is your responsibility, or if the water company is responsible. What you have sounds like a real mess. If the sidewalls are just dirt, that meter will be buried in no time, and the meter gone. I'd think the water company would want that fixed, and maybe fo it for you.
You could also build soemthing with treated lumber, or even pour concrete around a large pail.
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