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Old 06-26-2011, 01:08 PM   #1
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Water Shutoff Access Panel Stuck - Need Advice


Hello everyone.

I'm having an issue getting the water shut-off access panel open. It's been over a year or more since the panel was last opened, but I don't remember any issues. The panel is about 8 inches square and is located in a section of drywall near my kitchen. I've removed any paint that might have dried around the seams of the panel. The issues seems to be with the lock/latch. I will try and attach pictures later, but the the lock/latch has an one inch wide slit where you can insert a screwdriver and twist to release the latch. This slit is only about a 1/16th inch deep. When I use a screwdriver or other items to try and twist the latch, nothing happens. There is no movement either way I twist it. Do any of you have an idea of how I can open this without ripping out drywall or tearing up the panel?

Thanks in advance.

Matt
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Old 06-26-2011, 01:15 PM   #2
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Water Shutoff Access Panel Stuck - Need Advice


Sorry. I am having trouble visualizing this. From your description I see a 1" slit looking not unlike a coin slot. The slit is 1/6" deep and the deal is you press on a tab with a screwdriver or something wider like a putty knife to release it from something? I don't get how you would twist a slit that long and shallow to free the cover. I guess I don't remember seeing an access panel like that described.

Pics showed up so will just continue this post.

Shouldn't the panel come free twisting the slit quarter turn either clockwise or counterclockwise? Usually these things have a winged catch that twists to hold them. I guess if that catch got bent inside there it could be causing you problems. Will the slit turn at all or is it binding up on you? Might try tapping the screwdriver or a little cold chisel along the slit to see if it frees anything. Don't pound it. Is the screwdriver still able to bite enough of the slit or do you need something with a wider blade.

You did say you took a blade of some sort to all the edges that could have been painted shut. Leverage under the edge near the latch doesn't help? I would try a drywall knife or something.

Weird it worked a year ago but will not now. Suggests something has fallen out of alignment. This, if true, helps you not at all though! Sorry.


Last edited by user1007; 06-26-2011 at 01:25 PM.
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Old 06-26-2011, 01:21 PM   #3
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Water Shutoff Access Panel Stuck - Need Advice


In essence its like a key slot, but is only about 1/16th deep. I assume you would need to twist a screwdriver/putty knife like you would a key, to release the latch. I've haven't tried to just press in the slot like you described, but will try. When I attempted to pry the panel open around the edges, there was no give near the locking mechanism.

Yeah its odd and frustrating that it won't open now, but I'll figure something out.

The slot doesn't turn at all, so not sure what happened. The building is only 3 years old, so not sure if some settling or something cause it to get jammed up.

Thanks for the help by the way.

Last edited by Aaladc; 06-26-2011 at 01:25 PM.
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Old 06-26-2011, 01:31 PM   #4
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Water Shutoff Access Panel Stuck - Need Advice


OK, I was finally able to get in. Used a pair of vice grips on a screwdriver to give me some extra leverage. Thanks again.
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Old 06-26-2011, 01:47 PM   #5
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Water Shutoff Access Panel Stuck - Need Advice


Obviously you should not have had to strong arm it so much so hope you can source what was causing it to bind on you?
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Old 06-26-2011, 06:03 PM   #6
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Water Shutoff Access Panel Stuck - Need Advice


You should replace it with the spring loaded panel.
Can pick one up at your local HD or plumbing supply house.

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