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Are you a Do-it-Yourself kind of person? To some degree most people are and I encourage homeowners to learn the basics of maintaining their homes plumbing systems. One of the more important things to know is where to turn off the water supply to your house. This is one of the first topics I cover during the experiential learning classes I offer twice per year to local community members & homeowners.
It's not always easy to find the main water shut off, especially when you are in an emergency or urgent situation. Newer homes are built to codes that require the main water shut off valve to be properly identified and accessible. When I enter an unfamiliar building to provide service, one of the first things I want to know is where to find the water main shut off. A common answer is "at the meter"; which is never a good sign. Using the municipal water meter as a means of turning off the water supply should be a last resort. Why? Well for a number of reasons;
-the meter is the property of the water purveyor and if you damage it, you are liable for the costs to repair the damages.
-turning off the valve at the meter requires a
tool, commonly know as a "meter key". This tool is readily available at most hardware stores., but most homeowners don't have one.
-even with the proper tool the meter shut off can be very difficult to turn. I have seen tools break and injury occur.
-And then there is the "Widow Facotr"!!!
This is what will stop most people dead in their tracks. The water meter box is a favored nesting place of one very dangerous and common spider; The Black Widow.
I can tell you from experience the Widow loves the hang out in the cool, dark, moist environment of a water meter box. I find them at every time of year, in 95% of the meter boxes I open. Some of the largest widows I have ever seen were tucked up, chillin in a meter box just waiting for somethin tasty to visit their lair. I have seen them as small as a pencil eraser and larger than my thumb nail. I have encountered as many as 8 adult widows in the same 18” x 30” meter box. How many do you count in the photos above? I took this photo on 8/13/2012; as you can see the widow is not bashful and they don't always scurry away when exposed suddenly to daylight.
I have been careless enough to believe they were not present, only to reach down into a box and then see them tucked up under the rim. In general I don' fear spiders but It's pretty unsettling indeed to find yourself upside down in a cramped space and come face to face with a Widow spider.
I am happy to say I have never been bitten. I do know several folks that have endured the wrath of the Widow and it is NOT something I care to experience or would want an unsuspecting homeowner to experience. So here is my fare warning to all of the do it yourself-ers out there; Never reach into a water meter box without first thoroughly checking for the presence of The Widow.
Happy to finally post our first blog entry. Not much to brag about but we'll continue to improve our site and provide useful information. We do things differently here and our mission is to build relationships based on trust and mutual respect. I will provide tips and "How To" information that can save you money, time and help you improve the maintenance of you home.
Till the next time,
A Good Plumber llc
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