Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The "Mini-Excavator" -- Underground Plumbing and Electrical

A task that has been on the "to do list" for a while now was the connections of the water well to the house, hot and cold water between the house and garage; and natural gas from the house to the garage. I understood that Bob Tolsma would dig the trench for these connections with a "min-excavator" that he shared with another plumbing contractor. Well, this morning, Ben from Bob's company showed up along with Ken from Hoekstra Plumbing and Mechanical. Ken brought the "mini."  Apparently my mental picture of "mini" was somewhat out of scale. What I had in mind probably would have to be called "micro" because this was a bigger piece of equipment than I had expected.

The first excavation they made was between the garage and house for the gas line and water lines to the garage. I had stood among the landscaping last weekend with Bobbie discussing where best the "mini" trench could best be cut. It turns out that that was a unnecessary conversation. The bucket is about 3 feet wide and the treads must be 5 feet across. Not much of the greenery at the south west corner of the garage is left. But we will have brand new 21st century service to the garage.


The first underground utility pipe to be laid in the trench was the gas service. The connection at the house will be in a location that I didn't expect. But when Ben explained the rational, I bought in to it. It will exit the house along the south wall and enter the garage [where it does now] along its south wall.


Next, they trenched along the east wall of the cottage. In this trench will be 1) the water supply line from the submersible pump to the house, 2) the electric power line to power the pump, 3) the hot and cold water lines to the garage, 4) electric service wires to provide power to the garage, and 5) electric wires to allow the control of exterior lights on the garage from the house.

PEX pipe handles the water supply. there is 3/4 inch diameter in white from the well to the house and  1/2 inch diameter that provides water to the garage  -- red for hot and blue for cold.  A three conductor  cable [plus ground] with #10 wire will provide power to the garage. And two #14 wires will allow lights in the garage to be controlled from inside the house.

All of the pipe and wire is in the trench along the house.
The water lines entered the house through holes drilled in the foundation.
First PVC sleeves were inserted and mortared in place.
Then the PEX pipe was passed through and sealed with silicone.

The B&L crew fed the electric wired for the garage
through a sleeve that entered the house above grade.
While at 3283 today, the B&L crew also removed the old electric meter box and pulled the wires from the mast that passed through the roof. When the roofers come to replace the existing roof, they can simply pull the mast and fill the hole.

About a week ago we discovered that the sewer line connecting the house to the septic tank was very, very shallow. Just a few inches in many places. In order to protect it from freezing and from being damaged if [when] it is driven over we decided to install a double pipe -- a pipe within a pipe. Ken and Ben went to work trenching [if you can call something only a foot deep a 'trench'] for and installing the nearly 200 feet of sewer line.

This is the depth of "trench" at the septic tank.
The 4 inch pipe is installed inside a 6 inch pipe.
The line was installed on a wide curve from the tank to the house.

The sewer line needs to exit the house through the basement wall. Bob chiseled a hole through the block wall and fitted the PVC drain pipe through it and into the portion of the drain previously installed in the basement.


Ben continued working outside. He was back filling the trenches and doing his best to smooth out the grade in the yard. The mini-excavator has a blade besides the bucket. Its purpose is to backfill trenches. There are better tools to bring rough grading to shape.

Bob used the remaining time in the afternoon inside the basement. He sealed the opening in the wall around the sewer pipe with hydraulic cement and began to re-plumb and install the pressure tank.


More plumbing tomorrow. I hope they will reach a point where we just need to have electric power to the house and thus to the pump before we have a fully functioning water/waste water system at 3283. But, the bad news along those lines is that Consumers' Energy will NOT be connecting us up this week....and now next week is only a "possibility."

I am getting very anxious to get out of this hotel room and begin sleeping at 3283.
I'll update again tomorrow.


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