Brian Freeman: Hey, everyone. We’re out on a job in Ramona, California, specifically at a custom home we’re building. We’ve got our favorite utility contractor here, Mr. Bill Freeman. We will show you a few things that go on with installing utilities for a custom home today.
Installing Utilities in a Custom Home
All right, Bill will give you an overview of what we’ve been doing regarding utilities.
Gas Line Installation
Bill Freeman: I’m finishing up on the gas line. This is the last line that we have that I’m trenching for underground utility lines that we have to put in. So we installed the electrical cable from the telephone pole up to the meter, the low voltage, and the water lines. After installing the gas line, we’ll have all the utilities in and complete.
Brian Freeman: Cool. So we will show you something we did on a water line that’ll help you if you ever put any in on your house.
Water Line Installation
I’m standing over the trench, and this is where the water line’s running through. So you can see that we got a driveway behind us. In this driveway, the water’s coming down from the telephone pole through this trench. And we got concrete flatwork that’s going over the top of it.
1. Use a Sleeve for the Water Line
One of the things we like to do is to take in sleeve the water line in case there was ever a leak or damage to that line, and we needed to replace it. You can see this three-inch drain line we’ve put in here first. Then, we’ve put this Schedule 40 water line through the sleeve. If anything ever happens, if we have a leak or another issue, you can pull it out and replace it without having to cut your concrete and fix it. So it’s a big help in that fashion.
2. Put in a Tracer Wire
The other thing we like to do on the water lines is to put a tracer wire in. Doing so lets you tone out and see these things or find this line after installation. So instead of placing a thumper or a hose bib on and vibrating this line to locate it, you can charge the wire and tone it out if you call a company like CPL to get their underground utility locating services. The wire we used is 14 AWG, which will run the whole length of this pipe.
If you come over to the back, the wire is taped to the pipe so it maintains the same direction as the pipe. And we’ll do that every so often to help us as far as when we will install the water lines on these trenches.
Electrical Line Installation
Another thing I wanted to show you is the electrical conduit. Right in front of me, I got two one-inch pipes and another two-inch pipe coming out, although they have yet to be used. So these are actually for a future shop on this property.
Tying Electrical Lines with Mule Tape
We started tying Mule Tape, essentially rope, around these conduits. You may often see guys throw a stake in here to mark these, but this is in a traffic area so it will get run over and broken off, and you’ll never find it.
How often have you ever asked yourself, “Where did I stop that pipe?” when trying to tie onto it later?
During the construction phase, we decided to start tying these ropes off to these conduits so we could see them. And then we got this tied off to the rock right now to ensure it’s out of the way until we start backfilling utility trenches. That way, we can find these easily.
Tying Electrical Lines with a Tie Wire
Another trick is to tie a piece of tie wire on conduits that come up out of the ground with that. You can use a big old heavy one, bundle up your tie wire, let it stick out of the earth, and then use a metal detector to find that later. So it’s a cool thing.
A lot of times, we’ll do that on property corners too. So if they’re in an area that’s likely going to get buried or silted in, you can do that and find them fairly quickly.
All right, we hope you learned a few tricks about how we’re doing our utilities out here. If you’d like more information about building a custom home, building an ADU, or doing whole-house remodels, visit our website to request a project consultation. Please make sure you go to our resources section, too — we got a ton of information there on custom homes and ADUs, pricing, floor plans, etc.
We’ll see you again soon.