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Power Upgrade #3: Trenching Adventures!

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Blog entry by Nate Meadows posted 02-11-2013 01:41 AM 1092 reads 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Trenching Part 3 of Power Upgrade series Part 4: Hand Trenching »

So I did call USA DIG and had all my lines marked and had the utilities come out. However, being an old house I guess I should have expected some adventures! I have no idea where one of these two lines goes, but I just forgot that the old Ag Well (our third well) was going to have power. But since it is not operating I did not think its power was live. It was!

Power

Then right after that I hit my gas line!!! Part of it was my fault. You are not supposed to operate a trencher within 6 feet of a line. I was lazy. I did not want to chip through the frozen top so I lowered the cutter to 12in and cut the path. The gas line was only 6 INCHES under the surface! The chain wrapped the black iron pipe up like it was a Twizzler.

Not Code, and Lazy

GAS

Thankfully there was no spark or it would have been Iraq all over again with much worse results I think! I jumped off the tractor and scrambled for the shut off, which I had no idea where it was…piss poor planning on my part!

So now I just doubled my work load:). However, we wanted to move the tank anyway so it works out. That, and since the line was only 6in under ground it wasn’t to code anyway.

GAS

Then, not three feet later I cut right through the current shop feed.
This on really got to me. What you are looking at is the power line (12gauge romex!) that not only feeds my shop but then goes on to feed the big barn and Theresa’s Glass Shop. No wonder we were constantly fighting with each other for power. Also, who puts a line two inches under the surface? So now I am completely reliant on generators until the upgrade is complete.

Shop Power :(

Shop Power Gone!

I have about 100 feet total left to hand dig. Then it is off to laying pipe and line. There are trenches everywhere now:).

The Maze

More to Follow….

-- "With a little bit of faith, and some imagination, you can build anything!" Nate



16 comments so far

View crashn's profile

crashn

519 posts in 1182 days


#1 posted 02-11-2013 02:14 AM

wow, that could have been disastrous! Glad you were not hurt in the process!

-- Crashn - the only thing I make more of than sawdust is mistakes

View Nate Meadows's profile

Nate Meadows

1077 posts in 923 days


#2 posted 02-11-2013 02:16 AM

Thanks Crashn,

Yes, I felt like a total idiot when I calmed down…still feel like it:). Your right it could have been really bad! Thank God is was not. Thanks for your kindness!

Nate

-- "With a little bit of faith, and some imagination, you can build anything!" Nate

View grizzman's profile

grizzman

7148 posts in 2020 days


#3 posted 02-11-2013 02:27 AM

sorry nate, i have to add this LOL….ok now back to oh man, what a wild ride you had, i thought they marked where the lines were, would that not include the one going out to the shop…just a question, im glad you were not blown up or hurt, but glad you rented the trencher, there is no way you could dig that amount by hand, im not sure you will survive doing 100 feet by hand, i would last one minute and my back would be shot,but your a more able bodied young man…your currant medical problems noted…..:)...i watched the video, like a broncin bronco…...i hope you had some where to lay and rest after all of that…lol…well your upgrade is a good thing, your right about the 400 amp, im the same way, get more then you think you need and it there when you need it later…..my shop has a 200 amp service..so i have plenty in case me or someone else later down the road needs the power, its there…well my friend, good luck with the rest and i look forward to seeing the rest of this…be careful, i think you have cut anything there was…lol…grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View grizzman's profile

grizzman

7148 posts in 2020 days


#4 posted 02-11-2013 02:33 AM

oh i meant to say you have a big beautiful place, i love the views you have, and that barn is so nice and big, you sure you dont want the whole thing for your shop…lol..heating that would be a pretty big bill…maybe a wood stove would be best…but what a great place, how many acres do you have…bob

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Nate Meadows's profile

Nate Meadows

1077 posts in 923 days


#5 posted 02-11-2013 03:07 AM

Bob,

Thanks for the encouragement. I do love our place. The worst part about it is that it is right off the freeway. But that really doesn’t bother me. We own 12.5 acres.

Yeah, I am not looking forward to the 100 feet left to dig. It will take me awhile, especially since I cannot push my PB to hard.

Nate

-- "With a little bit of faith, and some imagination, you can build anything!" Nate

View getlostinwood's profile

getlostinwood

224 posts in 1319 days


#6 posted 02-11-2013 03:21 AM

Well Nate, no ones going to call you a quitter. Sounds like you hit every utility except the water. Generators are livable, having to explain to the wife she wont be flushing the toilet for a week, that is not something you want to do without protection

-- The basis for optimism is shear terror

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

11345 posts in 1407 days


#7 posted 02-11-2013 03:22 AM

Nate, Been there, done that myself. I had all the stuff flagged when I put in my new road and dug up my neighbors water line 2 minutes into the digging!. Who buries a water line 6” deep? Then I dug up their “invisable dog fence”. Not sure why either of these were buried on my easement. Just wanted to let you know that you’;re not along in digging “adventures”! I’m just glad the gas line didn’t ignite!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Nate Meadows's profile

Nate Meadows

1077 posts in 923 days


#8 posted 02-11-2013 03:24 AM

getlost,

You are so right! It was a marriage “war zone” when I told her what happened! I worked very hard not to hit the water. But I did scare her. I ended up turning of the well circuit when I turned off the other ones so when she got in the shower the water ran out. She was PISSED to say it nicely. It was quit a day.

The storm waters are calm now, so its all good.

Thanks for the encouragement.

Nate

-- "With a little bit of faith, and some imagination, you can build anything!" Nate

View Nate Meadows's profile

Nate Meadows

1077 posts in 923 days


#9 posted 02-11-2013 03:27 AM

gfadvm,

Thanks for that. It can be a stressful job! Really, some homeowners really cut corners don’t they?

Thanks for coming along side. Its nice to know I am not alone!

Nate

-- "With a little bit of faith, and some imagination, you can build anything!" Nate

View GrandpaLen's profile

GrandpaLen

1574 posts in 989 days


#10 posted 02-11-2013 05:44 AM

:-) Nate my friend, it was just meant to be.

The existing lines wouldn’t have passed inspection in my area either. How unfortunate you weren’t able to follow your original plan schedule but, this way all codes are met and you will be back in step in no time.

No doubt your Angel was ridin’ shotgun with you on that Trencher.
Had you hand dug those lines to see where to trench, you may well have kicked a shovel right thru that live power or gas and that may have had serious repercussions.

My Grandfather would have reminded me that “Good Judgement comes from Experience, Experience comes from Bad Judgement”, but I think the Jury is still out on your decision, could have been a lot worse.

Best Regards for the rest of the installation.
Work Safely and have Fun. – Len

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View LittlePaw's profile

LittlePaw

1571 posts in 1795 days


#11 posted 02-11-2013 06:04 AM

I learned so much from your experience, Nate. Thanx for sharing!

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

View lanwater's profile

lanwater

3094 posts in 1651 days


#12 posted 02-11-2013 06:38 AM

That’s a lot of unexpected incidents. I am glad no one was hurt.

On the bright side you get to re-route the gas pipe and the electrical wire correctly and their location will be known to you.

I cut through a water pipe when I was taking out some cracked concrete joint with a diamond saw.
It never occured to me that the pipe would be just under the concrete.

Good luck with the rest of the work. 400Amp, that’s a lot of power!

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Nate Meadows's profile

Nate Meadows

1077 posts in 923 days


#13 posted 02-11-2013 05:23 PM

Len,

Yes, it would have sucked to put a shovel through that line:). I am sure my angel is wasted. Thanks for the encouragement!

Nate

-- "With a little bit of faith, and some imagination, you can build anything!" Nate

View Nate Meadows's profile

Nate Meadows

1077 posts in 923 days


#14 posted 02-11-2013 05:24 PM

Paul,

Thanks for your kindness. That is how I feel when you show your car

-- "With a little bit of faith, and some imagination, you can build anything!" Nate

View Nate Meadows's profile

Nate Meadows

1077 posts in 923 days


#15 posted 02-11-2013 05:28 PM

Thanks Ian,

I agree, I am looking forward to doing it the right way!

That sucks about your water line!

Nate

-- "With a little bit of faith, and some imagination, you can build anything!" Nate

showing 1 through 15 of 16 comments

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