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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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This garage appears to have once been servants quarters with full steps at the back to walk up to the hardwood floor second floor which is otherwise completely unfinished. Maybe it was just an attic, but…

  • there’s a chimney with a ~4” hole for a boiler exhaust.
  • there’s a wall mounted radiator on the first floor
  • there’s a sewer line that’s apparently been filled with concrete on top, but the floor drain is working (and leads to the house, even flooded the basement floor when pumping the pool out into the garage floor so I have some sewer line cleaning to do, but it looks like the sewer line is functional).
  • there’s a water line that’s no longer functional
  • pool pump and filter etc are inside the garage (was damaged but got it all working again).
  • front and back windows on a-frame roof.
  • pretty sure I’m not doing dormers bc no changes to the envelope are allowed without a variance since it’s only 2.9 and 2.1 feet from some property lines and 3 or 8 feet are a minimum.
  • for the above reasons, the space can not officially be living space, but I see no reason that I can make this garage sort of a “pool house” hangout for the kids with a bathroom in it, maybe a kitchen on the first floor where cars (classics?) will be stored.
  • dimensions are ~20-21x24-26. Walls are masonry up to the top of the first floor.

Up first:
  • trench from the house to the pole just behind the garage for a new underground power wire to the house (safety with power line directly above the pool), eliminate the power line to the garage (getting 220-240 V into there instead of the current single breaker from the house that is fused in the garage), and also get new water line (repair) plus a natural gas line into the garage.
  • with the above project, I am planning to run wires for a power driveway gate.
  • since the asphalt roof on the garage is showing it’s age, I have looked into, and gotten plans for a Tesla Solar Roof. We are in a neighborhood on the national historic register, and this would be the first solar in the neighborhood. Thinking we are unlikely to proceed with this, but I want to keep my options open in case better options come around.

Let’s get a picture of the garage in here. Tapatalk failing me. :(

I have lots of projects with this house, and not a tons of questions at the moment, but am still wondering if we should move the power meter to the garage, close to the pole. There’s a few reasons for this, but saving wire and needing less trench width is one.

The power company also told me no water should be in the same trench as the power lines. That seemed interesting to me because that was definitely part of the plan. Maybe the water and gas can go in the hole deeper, like 36”, and then be filled up to the 24” level that the power should be laid.
 

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Start first by telling where you are, general area, US or Canada? Then see if you can't post a picture or three. From the sound of it you are in a Hysterical District with all the um, blessings attached. You've got a house with an detached garage/servants quarters? (I'm tempted to think human occupancy could therefore be "grandfathered" in). And a pool, (lucky you! that's sarcasm, by the way. Bren there, dun that, don' wanna go back🫤). And you want to renovate and bring the wiring into the 21st century.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wilmington, Delaware a house with history being owned by:
  • ~1940-1970 David Stockwell, an antiques dealer that furnished Winterthur museum
  • ~1970-2003 Harlan Scott, owner of some company and I’ve been in touch with his son Rodney Scott.
  • 2003-2021 a member of the duPont family from which I purchased the home, much below its potential value IMO. Pool was a swamp and the house had been vacant for 3+ years, and the pool looks like it hadn’t been used in a decade or maybe 15 years.






 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Start first by telling where you are, general area, US or Canada? Then see if you can't post a picture or three. From the sound of it you are in a Hysterical District with all the um, blessings attached. You've got a house with an detached garage/servants quarters? (I'm tempted to think human occupancy could therefore be "grandfathered" in). And a pool, (lucky you! that's sarcasm, by the way. Bren there, dun that, don' wanna go back🫤). And you want to renovate and bring the wiring into the 21st century.

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Location: Wilmington, Delaware

Exterior of houses on national register, and I’m actually on the architectural committee hoping to find ways to do solar that don’t vastly alter the appearance of the homes with steep pitched roofs.

Grandfathered? Maybe but the key is to not alter the exterior envelope triggering the need for a variance for: (a) a garage
Wiring: well the entire garage wiring isn’t much now, three lights with 2 switches and two outlets. There’s a fuse box and timers for the pool equipment.

The house is another story entirely, and I’m not even tryin g to get into that.

I’m looking to get bug work done in March. It’s too cold right now to be digging into this. So this will be a long term thread with slow action.

Power trench first.

If I put in conduit for the gas and water lines, can I put them underneath power lines (which will also be in conduit)?
 

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Here, in Florida, at least at one time water and electric in sperate conduits but in the same ditch was accepted practice (weasel words) I do not know if it is now.
I can certainly see that because of your locale (physical and otherwise) you would need to adhere to the local building codes and circumstances (another weasel word).
For a carefully considered opinion I have to offer this - some regulations are not the most practical nor cost effective. However they are. In your shoes I would have to take the "Caesar's wife" route and study the local code enforcement. In many ways this puts you into a "here comes that pest again" scenario. But it is one way to learn and one way to avoid any sense of impropriety.
We are in county and about 7-8 miles out side of town in a semi-agricultural area and I just went through a similar decision process. Water and electric to a small horse barn. I elected to keep them separate even though it most likely didn't matter. The bottom line, deciding, factor was that I'd rather keep the two separate. But that's me.

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the advise @ChuckTin . A handyman I know suggested that if I was to have a problem with the water line, I wouldn’t want to have to dig around the power lines, a good practical reason to keep them in separate trenches. So if going into the same trench, I sure as heck better only use a flexible water line inside a conduit, so if I ever needed to run a new line I could just pull it through instead of having to dig around a power line. So conduit gets used for the water line, no doubt about it. I will study up on the regulations. Thanks for that suggestion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ok. So I think the plan is to have all the digging done the first two weeks of March, stating Feb 27 actually. Electrical switchover supposedly can be scheduled the last two weeks of March.

I have decided that I will run separate conduit for a gas line and a water line. The water line should have the ability to be drained inside the house where the water originates to assure there no fear of freezing lines when the garage is not heated.

whether separation of trenches is required or not is TBD.

Should the lines be marked in some way with tags that are tied to the line and not moveable so it will be abundantly obvious if someone attempts to dig in the future?

I’ve been investigating upgrading the heating for the house (4200 sq ft 3 zone hydronic) to a mod-con, maybe a combi boiler.
With the radiator on the wall of the garage, it’s tempting to consider a hydronic heating system, and maybe fill it with anti-freeze or something like that, but I guess maybe a forced air system that could double as an air conditioner might really make the most sense. A mini-split is probably the easiest thing, but I really hate them. I think they are hideous. Plus, I think that window air conditioning would be sufficient. I don’t think that a THIRD outdoor condenser on the property is something I could justify.

I guess I should look at the AC options a little more carefully. Central air would be nice for the feel of a real in-law suite, but the frequency I would want to use it really wouldn’t make sense. I think just having the garage attic well vented might be sufficient. There’s a swimming pool right there to take a dip any time you get overheated. That’s the kind of place I think I’d like to make this garage.

Even a wood burning stove might be sufficient for heat, but I do plan to run the natural gas line. I guess the best of both worlds would be a wood burning stove that is also capable of being heated with gas AND could heat a radiator filled with anti-freeze. I guess if there were two heat exchangers, one in a wood stove, and one in a gas fired heater, the same circulating pump could run the anti-freeze through both heat exchangers.

I also need to address the issue of not having a walk-in door, only the large main garage door. I haven’t found a good place to cut through the masonry yet. The ideal place is probably where I’m currently keeping my 40 foot ladder, in front of the window that opens to the garden.

And as for the garage door, it is a nice heavy wooded door that rolls nicely with a single handle and lock on the left side. It is too close to the bead board ceiling of first floor of the garage to put in a conventional garage door opener. I’d like to install one but don’t yet know the type of system I should use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
So now I’m trying to figure what type of heating I should use. I shouldn’t forget that I’m hoping to have a bathroom in this garage and should prepare for the potential for whatever heater I install to not necessarily be running when we get freezing temps. So basically I need to plan ahead for freezing temps.

  • sewer line traps will need antifreeze (toilet, sink, shower, shop sink traps).
  • all water supply lines should need to be drained. This might be good reason to go with a tankless heater. Perhaps a small combi-boiler will be ideal. Then put antifreeze in the radiator pipes, and drain water before winter.

I’d also be interested in the concept of having a heated driveway with water (antifreeze?) loops under the driveway so I won’t have to shovel. I guess there’s really no reason this would need to be run out of the garage though. The driveway runs right next to the house. So maybe it would be more efficient to plan to have these pipe fittings come out of the house instead of the garage.

Well, it still might make sense to plan for this.

Now it’s ironic that I’m thinking of a combi boiler for the garage when this all started because the garage has a chimney. Well, maybe that will leave the option for a wood stove to remain an option.

Hmm…
 
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