Step 24 – Connect Utilities

Now that the interior walls are finished, I can start attaching things to the walls like light fixtures, switches, plumbing fixtures, appliances, etc. In order for them to work, I need to connect electricity, water, and septic to the house. This is a tricky step because all of those utilities are currently connected to the trailer next to the house that I’m living in. I will need to transfer all of them to the house without inconveniencing my living situation.

Excavating a trench for the main electrical and water lines

I rented a mini excavator to dig all the trenches for the utilities. The first trench was a direct line from the corner of the lot where the water meter and power are located to the side of the house where the main power panel and main water pipe will enter the house. The second runs from that same corner to the back of the house for internet. The third runs from the main electrical panel to the front of the house where the septic tank is. The last one doesn’t really have to do with utilities at all, but I had been waiting until I had the excavator to get it done, and that was to run the gutters for the house underground. The excavator made quick work of the trenches, but there were some areas I had to dig by hand so I wouldn’t destroy any existing pipes or wires. I also had to dig by hand the trench from the house main sewer line to the septic as it was too close to the house and septic system for the excavator.

Trench for wires to bring power to the septic pump

With the digging complete, the first utility I tackled was water. I placed a 3/4″ PEX line in the bottom of the trench, which was 30″ underground. I disconnected the existing water line for the trailer and hooked up the new line. I connected the other end to the PEX line coming out of the house. Then I attached a hose connector to the trailer PEX line and hooked it up to one of my yard hydrants. The next one was power. I moved 6″ of dirt over the top of the PEX and then laid USE (underground service entrance) cable down. The cable has to be 24″ underground for protection. I left one end exposed near the temporary power pole and ran the other end to the main electrical panel. I called the power company and they came by a few days later to disconnect the temporary power pole and remove the meter, move it over to the house, and connect the power to the house. I then plugged the trailer into an exterior receptacle of the house.

Feeding through the main power line from the panel to the street

For the septic power, I had left two UF (underground feeder) cables in a conduit buried underground coming out of the main electrical panel. I simply dug up the conduit and then ran the cables to the septic alarm panel, disconnected the existing wires coming from the temporary power pole, and connected the new ones coming from the house. Now that the septic was powered back up again, I could connect the house to the septic. I dug up the main sewer line coming out of the foundation of the house and attached it to a cleanout so I would have an access point in case there were any issues in the future. Then I ran the ABS pipe to a wye fitting. I disconnected the trailer sewer line from the septic tank and connected the wye fitting, and then attached the trailer sewer line to the other leg of the wye fitting as the house.

You can see how the gutters go underground, passing underneath the cleanout

For the gutters, I ran both of them down underground into 4″ PVC sewer pipe and then ran one side underground to attach to the other side. Then I used a wye fitting to run them together and ran them 30′ or so downslope away from the house. I also used a wye fitting to attach a drain for one of my exterior yard hydrants, and added in a cleanout just in case.

The last utility I installed was for internet. I ran a long “six pair drop” wire from the house to the street, and then hooked up the house side to the communications box given to me by the internet provider. You can see how the six pair drop wire comes in on the top and then the CAT-6 wire goes out the bottom and continues inside the house. Once the box was wired I attached it to a pressure treated 2×4 next to where I will be installing the heat pump.

Advice? Questions? I'd love to hear your feedback or help you out in any way I can!