Meter Box Cover Buyers Guide
We stock a variety of round meter box covers and can order many more that we don't stock. When your water meter is in an underground meter box (sometimes called a meter pit, meter crock, you may need a replacement top cover or cover and frame or ring. Here is some of the terminology and other information you need to select the proper fitting lid or a lid compatible with your meter technology transmitters or antennas.
Meter box cover or lid - This would be the top openable removeable cover to access the underground meter box.
Meter box Frame or ring - In most cases, the meter box has a round ring or frame that sits on the meter box itself. A round meter box is typically a large vertical round pipe in common dimensions of 15", 18", 20", 21", 24", 30", 36" or larger. The frame cold be Iron or a polymer. We carry polymer frames to fit 15" to 21" diameter round meter boxes. The depth of the meter box is normally to a depth below the frost line in your region to keep the meter and pipes from freezing in winter. Frame and frame with cover shown below.
Insulation - Some frames have a second inner lid to create a dead air space for better insulation of the meter from surface temperatures. These are typically called double lid covers with a deeper frame to hold the inner lid. Foam insulation disks can also be used to help protect meters from freezing.
One Piece Flat cover - In some cases a one piece flat cover is used rather than a frame and removeable cover. In this case, it is usually flat to the ground and not locked into place, held down only by gravity and the weight of the lid. It's a less expensive way to cover a meter, but being loose means it could be displaced by a mower or person and either be a danger to someone walking over it, or allow in cold air in the winter.
AMR or AMI - AMR is Automatic Meter Reading where the meter has a radio transmitter and the utility drives by to get the reading. AMI is Automated Metering Infrastructure where a permanent infrastructure of collectors and and towers receive the meter radio signal daily or more often thought driving by. For both of these, a radio signal won't work well deep in a meter pit, under water in the pit, or though a solid metal pit lid. Metal lids normally need a hole for the antenna to protrude, but the preferred lid is polymer which allows the radio signal to penetrate. For either an industry standard hole 1.75" to 2" diameter is provided for the antenna. A polymer lid can also have an under lid bracket to hold the antenna or transmitter near the top of the plastic cover. Brackets and adapters are available for most brand of transmitters/antennas.
Counterbore or recessed antenna hole - Because some antennas or transmitter adapters can stick up and be a tripping or mower damage hazard, a recessed area around the hole can be provided to keep the antenna flush or below the surface of the cover. Make sure you have the correct diameter and depth of the lid compared to your device before ordering. Neptune brand meters have a offset hole in the counterbore and will require a specific lid made for that.
Touch Read - Touch read pads are an older technology where the meter box cover has an inductive module in the lid. The meter reader touches the module with a reader to get the meter read. With touchpad modules, the under lid bracket won't work. The module must use a through the lid hole mounting.
Traffic Rating - All meter box covers are designed to hold the weight of people walking over them or a typical lawn mower or tractor. If the meter box is in a driveway, parking lot, or road, it may need to hold a car or truck and would need to be "Traffic Rated" and tested to hold a specific weight. "H-20" would be a minimum rating, but there are lids that are rated to 20,000 lbs, 40,000 lbs, and even $50,000 lbs. for semi-truck traffic.
Lid Types (A, C, W, X, etc.) - Meter boxes were originally invented by Ford Meter Box, so most manufactures use their lid model terminology for types of lids and ring combinations.
Type A Cover - A "type A" cover is a single lid cover where the top cover sits flush within the frame. If used in a paved surface this keeps the lid from sticking up above the walking driving surface.
- Type W Cover - The "type W frame uses a Type A lid but has a deeper frame to include an inner lid if needed for better insulation
Type C Cover - A "type C" cover has a top lid that sits on top of the frame opening. This type is mostly used in yards where the thickness of the lid won't be a trip hazard.
Type X Cover - A "type X" cover has a top lid with the ability to hinge on one side opposite the locking nut and stand up when open.
Cover Diameters - Two dimensions are important when ordering a meter box cover. The top outside dimension is the maximum diameter across the top. it will either fit on the top of the frame or within the top lip of the frame. The bottom section also must fit the clear opening of the frame and is a smaller dimension. A Type A lid for example has a top dimension of 12-1/8" to 12-1/4", with a bottom dimension to fit an 11" clear opening in the frame.
Locking Lids - Most meter box covers have a way to lock them in place. In most cases, this is a pentagon shaped brass nut on top with a worm gear on the bottom. One or two turns of the pentagon nut secures the cover to the frame. A pentagon shaped meter box key/wrench is used to open the lid. Meter box keys are designed with an internal notch to capture the nut when loose so the lid can be lifted with the key itself. We sell keys of several sizes and types including hand keys and long handle keys. The longer are generally called curb keys and are also slotted to be able to turn a meter shutoff valve or curb valve.
There are two common sizes of pentagon nuts designated standard and large. The standard is the most common. Mueller also has a proprietary size nut that may take a different key and has a tab on the outside to lift the lid with. All of our stock meter box covers have the standard small pentagon head. Others can be obtained by special order. We stock meter box keys to fit all sizes.
In the south, a key style lock is often used. It's not used in the north because the key hole would let in cold air in winter. We don't stock the keyhole style.