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Dusty 10-14-2006 11:51 PM

digging a trench for electrical...direction?
Okay, upfront, I am not liking this job and I am trying to do as little as possible.

I have an old house with an old detached garage. While I've been upgrading the electrical, the electrician tells me the city will insist the garage also be done. I'm not argueing since the insurance folks also mentioned it. Right now I have knob and tube that is bare wire going out there above ground. The electrician told me to dig an 18" deep trench to the garage since I guess above ground wiring isn't approved anymore.

Now, where the wiring would come out is about 2' to the right and 10' away from the garage. I started a trench running from the corner of the garage to where the wiring would come out, a diagonal if you will. Then I found an old gas line (not connected anymore) in my digging and notice it shoots straight out from the house then does a 90 degree turn to the garage to cover that 2'.

So, can I stick with my original trench (diagonal) or does electrical require the same straight line the gas had? I can't reach my electrician being the weekend and all so hope one of you folks can tell me.

mdshunk 10-15-2006 01:30 AM

No, just dig your trench as you planned. Any direction is okay. It is a little odd that the electrician didn't tell you exactly where he wanted it.

Speedy Petey 10-15-2006 06:04 AM


digging a trench for electrical...direction?
Uhhh...down. :laughing:

I agree with Marc. The electrician should have pin pointed the spots you need to dig from and to.

mdshunk 10-15-2006 01:19 PM

As an interesting side note... I try to do everything in my power to get a homeowner to dig his own ditches. A shovel hardly fits my hands, if you know what I mean. If you want to pay me electrician rates to dig, I can do that, but I won't be the happiest guy you ever met. When needed, I try to sub out ditches. I mark them up too, and make decent money on them. I have a backhoe and a small ditch witch when plans A and B fail. Underground work is my #1 most hated electrical task. I'd rather run pipe for weeks 30' in the air then work one day in a ditch.

Dusty 10-15-2006 02:30 PM

Gee you're just like my electrician only he didn't even mark the ground, just told me to do a trench 18" deep between the house and garage. Unfortunately a backhoe won't fit in this area or it could have been done in 10 minutes. There is no such thing as available labourers in this city (building boom, labour shortages in all areas) so I have no choice. I also can't use a shovel very well because of a bad back so I basically broke the ground/lawn with a shove and am clearing it by hand while I sit on the ground (hence my really not wanting to start changing direction after already doing half of it).

The whole thing is a royal pain considering the garage power works just fine and to me this is an exercise in unnecessary expense and some real physical pain. But no, here if you upgrade part, you have to do it all whether it needs it not. Sorry, rant and whinning over.

J187 10-16-2006 02:44 PM

Dusty, make sure you inform your insurance carrier of the upgrade once the K & T is gone. Your insurance may go down a fair amount. MDSHunk, Couldn't agree more. underground work just plain sucks. Even small, simple trenches just seem to suck. WHen I bought my house, there is a large flagpole in my backyard located approx 200 feet from the house. There is a gorgeous outdoor light that illuminates the pole aimed up at the flag. I can't imagine

A. How much it cost.
B. How many times whoever dug that hole wanted to off themselves in lieu of finishing.

According to my next door neighbor, The former owner had the electrician do everything. Ouch, that must of been a frightening bill.

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