How do I dig a trench between my house without hitting utilities?


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Old 05-17-23, 10:21 AM
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How do I dig a trench between my house without hitting utilities?

Ok, so I've been waiting almost a year for fiber to be installed. When we bought this house, there was no internet option at all other than 4G. They told us we'd have fiber within 2 months of us moving in. Its been just shy of a year and it's scheduled to be installed next Tuesday.

Over the year, I've hodgepodged my internet. I work in IT and I work from home. We have a detached garage and I wanted Internet out there. The 4G signal here isn't the greatest. So, shortly after moving in, I put up a huge antenna that extends past the roof line with a 4G modem antenna pointing towards the nearest 4G tower. (When we bought the house, I first tested it with a little hotspot and it worked great. Must've been just a good day because signal with a hotspot alone was terrible after we moved in.)

Well, I have that antenna coming into the house and plugged into a switch and a router. I then have CAT 6 direct burial wire coming out of the switch running on top of the ground out to my garage. I've just had it on top of the ground for the last year. I didn't know where they were going to hook fiber up. I can't run hard wired internet within my house easily, so the easiest way to make sure that the garage is hard wired to the backbone of my home internet without any wireless jumps or complicated wire runs within my house is to wait for the fiber to get hooked up so I can then re-run the cat 6 from the house where the fiber is hooked up to the garage.

When they're out next Tuesday to hook up the fiber, they're going to have to drill through the house. I'm going to ask if I can sneak in my cat6 in with their fiber so I can then run it out from that spot. But, I have to get it out to the garage and I can't just leave it lying on the ground for eternity. The garage has power. The panel for power is right across the driveway and the house's panel is in the room other side of the driveway. Also, I guess I could go mess with the breakers, but I doubt they ran the subpanel in the garage off the subpanel in the house. I'm 99% sure they ran it from the panel you can see in the picture. So, I'm sure there's a hot 220 lines running under the ground. There's also a propane line, but the propane tank is in the side yard. I can't see exactly which way the propane line is going since it's underground, so I'm assuming a direct b-line to the garage where the furnace is at... although maybe not. It's also getting propane to the house's furnace too.

So, I have propane lines and electrical I need to watch out for. My driveway is gravel, so I can trench it.

Below are some pics to give you a visual. I marked the pictures up with hand writing to explain the parts I'm concerned with.

I don't think I can call 811... they'll only tell me the lines from the road to the house. They won't tell me lines that are from one building to another. That's the owner's responsibility to know or figure out.

I also wrote room with the modem. There is no modem there yet, but where I'm assuming I'll have to get them to run it. Where it's at now, if they went directly in, it would go into the dining room. I would've way rather them run it to the opposite side of the house, but I dont' think I'm gong to have a lot of luck convincing them of that.... only reason because I already have a CAT6 cable running over the ground. I've already drilled through the wall and already have a nice spot for all of the equipment in that room. It's where I work. But, doubt they'll do that.

Just got to thinking, there is water in the garage too... no idea where that line is running. Water heater is on the left side of the front of the garage. We have street water. I know the water comes in from the street on the opposite side of the house that is in this picture. But how it gets from the house to the garage, not a clue.


 

Last edited by dorlow; 05-17-23 at 10:52 AM.
  #2  
Old 05-17-23, 10:49 AM
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A touchy job there. Many unknowns.
One call / 811 will locate utility lines but not private lines.
They may be able to recommend a local locating service that could help you.
 
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Old 05-17-23, 11:07 AM
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Here's a google satellite view. The water runs on the left side of the house where I put the line. The water heater is in that area front corner of the house. Only reason I know the water line goes straight there is because we just had a water line break out in the yard. (Some reason a lot of people that work on our house have a story to tell about it... the guy that came out from the water department knew our property well and why they ran it down that side.) The utility pole in the picture has electric and fiber ran to it. Both are ran from the street to the pole aerially. The utilities are buried from the pole to the house.




 
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Old 05-17-23, 11:08 AM
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When in doubt go around, way around!
 
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Old 05-17-23, 11:14 AM
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Keep thinking I probably don't need to trench it to code depth, whatever that would be. A half a foot would be enough. Worse case scenario something splices and breaks it. It's low voltage CAT 6. Not going to kill anyone. Just a pain if it breaks. Maybe I could add a jack outside the house, so, if it does break, I can just pull it up and put another one in quickly by unplugging the cable, vs cutting it. Although doing that later too isn't a big deal.
 
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Old 05-17-23, 11:19 AM
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Problem is I'm not sure how to go way around. If they terminate it where I'm suspecting they will in one of the pictures, there is no way to to around it to avoid crossing a buried wire or pipe.
 
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Old 05-17-23, 11:23 AM
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Right now, I have a 4G antenna and it comes into the house on the left side of the pool area right now. I did that at the moment because it got me working so I could keep earning a paycheck and I've slowly branched off of that over the year. To run the fiber from that point would mean I'd need to either use a wireless jump between where it comes in or find a way to fish a wire from where they put it in to that side of the pool. The house is half crawlspace and half basement. It is crawlspace on the side towards the garage and basement half of the house on the left side of the pool. Running the line to the garage off a wireless bridge would be a big no-no. I originally was going to use a wireless bridge and antennas to get internet out there, but wireless sucks. Wired with reliability on the backbone is always the way to go. Wireless where it's unavoidable.
 
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Old 05-17-23, 11:24 AM
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In cases like your I only really worry about power and gas. I hand dig in the area where they may be present. Then everywhere else I just dig and let the excavator cut any water or drain lines. Then repair the damage. It's fast, easy and cheap to repair those lines and a whole lot faster than hand digging around them and usually faster than spending much time trying to accurately locate them.
 
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Old 05-17-23, 11:47 AM
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Maybe I'll just use my gas trimmer's edger attachment and edge as deep as it will go across the driveway and stuff the wire down there. It will get it a few inches deep rather than a trecher... Probably more than enough.
 
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Old 05-17-23, 01:36 PM
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I would highly recommend direct burial/gel filled cable.
 
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Old 05-17-23, 02:11 PM
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The cable I have is direct burial CAT6. Never heard of gel filled CAT 6. Not anything they taught us in IT school. Only choices you really have in CAT 5, 5e, 6, etc is STP and UTP. I guess we didn't discuss direct burial either.... I've never ran data outside professionally. 2 jobs ago, the cabling guys would do that and I'd come in after and program the switches, routers, servers, etc. I was never professionally a cabling guy.
 
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Old 05-17-23, 03:52 PM
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I buy it in a 1000' roll from my distributor. It's very durable. Hard to work with.
Heavy poly jacket and the gel gets on your hands.
I use it in PVC conduit underground as well as for aerial hardwired camera installs.
amazon sells it too..... Gel filled cable
 
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Old 05-17-23, 03:58 PM
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Just found my old purchase on amazon. This is the cable I bought...

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01JAVMYLM...direct%2B&th=1

Says the wire is wrapped in "water blocking tape."
 
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Old 05-17-23, 05:46 PM
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That's a newer version of water resistant cable. Price and features almost identical.
No gel so much cleaner to work with.
 
 

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