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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
View attachment 679909

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 · (Edited)
(Location removed) a house with history being owned by:
  • ~1940-1970 (removed), an antiques dealer that furnished Winterthur museum
  • ~1970-2003 (removed), owner of some company and I’ve been in touch with his son Rodney Scott.
  • 2003-2021 a member of the (removed) 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 · (Edited)
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: (removed, USA)

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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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
CHIMNEY LINER:

I am currently looking to figure out what size chimney liner to install in the ~20 foot tall chimney. I understand the appliance that gets used makes a difference, but I am looking to run a wood stove or fireplace insert. This post is mostly about that topic.

I finally got access to the power bills for the house, and while I believe the tenant of the house is far from efficient with her power consumption, the natural gas consumption is high. So I definitely need to add to the efficiency of the house. It’s to the point that it’s not just being green that I worry about, but finances too (for times when I will be covering the bill). Natural gas is used for the:
  • heater (not used in summer)
  • TWO ~50 gallon water heaters
  • gas cooking
I saw a summer baseline usage of 0.2-0.4 CCF per day, and a total of 13-15 CCF in the summer months. But it’s gone up over 400 CCF in the coldest months.

I believe that going to a 95% efficient mod-con boiler will save at least 10% over the current 83% boiler. I like my current triangle tube solo and recently ordered parts (preventatively, never had any issues with it) for it which only took 2 days to arrive. To avoid even that shipping time, I am seriously considering installing a combi boiler sized for the house into the garage to match one for the house. I’m going to look more at the sizing and heat load calculations, but with a 175k boiler in the house know that a TT Combi 199 with 184k BTU output will suffice. The using that size boiler in the garage might make it possible to even heat the pool if desired.

So I’m not going to be using the chimney for heating. That frees up the chimney to be used for a wood burning stove.

Using my philosophy of “spare parts are good, having a complete working duplicate is even better”, I’ve got two old 1981/82 Vermont Stove Company fireplace inserts. One is spare parts in my garage while the other is used in my fireplace. I have to assume the insert will fit into the fireplace in the house, and it’s cheaper than buying one or even two new units. I believe the financial benefit of leaving the insert in my house will be limited. So I think I should move them to the newly purchased house.

So there’s no “fireplace” in the garage, but I assume it will be pretty easy to build a completely custom housing for my fireplace insert. I may keep my eyes peeled for something better, but in either case, lining the chimney and piping a connection for a wood burning device is top on the list.

BTW: Trench digging for utilities is supposed to start Feb 27.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Some things are getting mucked up due to what I’m going to assume is a contractor that had no idea what he was getting into, and a materials supply chain issue that will prevent upsizing the electrical service on the house. There’s a lot going on in the house for a 200 amp service I think, but I realized in the last few days that I DO have 240v going into the garage with a tiny breaker panel with two 20 amp circuit breakers. There’s also a small fuse box too. I’m going to leave that be at the moment while I work on the other systems. Maybe we can get a 200 amp underground service wire done by a more reputable electrician and the digging done by my plumber that’s done lots of digging for me in the past.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Trenching from the house to the garage and telephone pole for power is going to start tomorrow I believe. Things like this are things that I’d love to be able to control, but understand that the diggers need to get their job done and I don’t have the time to do that all myself. Gotta trust the pros. The plants and landscaping are something I honestly don’t even really know what I’ve got with things blooming in multiple seasons, some great mature landscaping. I’m hoping to save as much of it as possible.

The new electrician company on the job hasn’t given me a quote yet, but offer an option for me to have the conduit, or even conduit and wire laid. It sounds like pulling the wire through the conduit will be about $500 or so worth of labor, so it sounds smart for me to run the wire through the conduit as it is dropped in the ground.

So I’m off to Home Depot and Lowes on this Sunday to at least do some price checking, if not buy the stuff knowing Home Depot and Lowes let you return just about anything.

Oh, I guess I better measure a little too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Mighty hectic day today. Trench from the house to the garage was dug and it includes natural gas and water. Tomorrow a second trench will likely begin for the electric that will go to the garage and to the telephone pole behind the garage.

But on the other side of the house, tear off of the porch / addition first floor roof began, and rot was no surprise, but the plywood over top of wood shake certainly was a surprise. There’s going to be more decking work than expected, but my roofer seems like he’s going to handle it all for me with zero additional costs.













It’s nice when a contractor doesn’t try to push every single unexpected cost on me, like my plumber did this morning when he claimed he needed another $2000 because he didn’t plan on pulling a permit. Then additional costs tossed at me for a total of $2700 unexpected in costs. He apparently decided not to read anything I wrote him about what I actually wanted done in this project, and decided to turn the screws on me today only after I’d given him a $4000 deposit.






 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That doesn't look like shingles over plywood over shakes. I think I see tongue and groove?

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Good eye. Yes,
  • wood shake is on top of tongue and groove (where there was no addition).
  • thin plywood was on top of wood shake.
  • tar paper and asphalt shingle was on top of plywood.

There was a hole in all of it.

This is really unrelated to the garage project, but contributed to my hectic day.

Today the plumber told me the electrical trench and plumbing (and it’s filled trench) is all done (except for the plumbing trench), but the tench for the electric is only 17” or less in many some places. The guys doing the digging are all so nice, and I was told this was a lot more digging than expected, but there’s still so much more digging that needs to be done to meet the requirements of this diagram and run multiple lines.



 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Got through the walls, and have 1.25” conduit going through the basement wall, and also the garage wall.


Now to connect all the 1.25” conduit and run the 4 wires through them. Today is a snowstorm, so I couldn’t pick a muddier day for the job. Maybe it’s time to sit at my desk and do some of the 9-5 work and wait for tomorrow to connect all the PVC conduit. Still scared of the difficulting in pulling this wire from the basement to garage or vice versa, I figure maybe I should do the cutting and at least glue the straight runs, and also make sure I don’t glue a leader rope of clothesline to the inside of the pipe.

I’m now wondering if it’s necessary to drill holes on the conduit to drain water if both ends of the conduit is indoors, one end in the basement, the other in the garage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I got the garage side of the conduit done for the 1.25” and the spare 2” conduit will get a rope in it, but I know I need to be careful not to glue the rope into place inside the conduit. It sounds like the holes in the conduit really are not necessary, and if water gets into the conduits, the wires are rated for wet locations, and should be ok.

I have been thinking more about exactly where the new electric panel will go in the garage and will have my electrician out soon for the new house service wiring. So he can give me some insight when he sees what I’ve got going on.

I’m excited to hopefully soon have no need for any overhead wires, 240 V in the garage, and water and natural gas too. I will probably miss the season where heat is required in any way, but have been looking at the house boiler and do see reason to upgrade it. My plan is to match the boilers in the 4150 sq ft house (5575 if you count the unfinished basement). The garage is ~26x22, so even if I count both floors there, it’s only ~1150 sq ft. The idea is to have an identical boiler in case the house heater needs parts. Plus, the additional heating capacity on the garage unit could be used for pool heating and/or driveway loop, etc. heck, that makes me think / wonder about a shared loop between the house and garage. Hmm…

Oh, thinking about the concept of stealing parts from the garage boiler, I did setup the garage water supply so it could be drained inside the house basement laundry room.

Everything is a complete mess right now. I’m still using the hammer drill to make holes where needed and trying to think ahead on both the house and garage. Electrical outlets on both the house and garage are about as far as I’ve gotten, but maybe some extra hose spigots would be nice too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
So I was told that I should run bigger conduit with fewer turns and it scared me that maybe electricians would have trouble running the wires through the conduit. So the only one that I think might get wire in later is pretty oversized and I also put a rope in it. I read about someone flying the rope in there accidentally and also that the type of wire I am using needs to be fully in conduit, and also the insulation could react to pvc glue. So my method of sliding pieces of pvc on and gluing them is dangerous. Because the pvc is often nearly impossible to remove once it’s put together, I thought this gluing method would be acceptable for conduit.

Slip the conduit together a bit, so the leading edge of the male piece has no glue on the tip. Then put glue around the outside of the male and outer edge of female, and slide it together. I tested this with the rope. I think it’s good enough. Maybe the NEC is going to come after me for improper gluing methods, but the poco recommends drilling 1/2” holes in the conduit for drainage. I did that on the opposite side of the print so I can install them and just have the print facing up.





I wanted to fill in this trench the day we dug it. It’s now been over two weeks since it started I think. The 1.25” is into the garage. The 2” with 200 amp service wires to the pole is in place with 35 feet rolled up at the base. I’ve got the empty conduit and the 1.25 up to the house, and drilled the hole for the 1.25 into the house. I decided I better not glue and put that in place especially the 1.25” with the wires in it until I get the main service wire in place. That one is the most important, and I need to make sure I’ve got the space required for it. Hopefully I can get to that tomorrow. Then begin filling the trench after taking videos and measurements of everything for the inspector. Then fill to 8” below the surface and at the red warning tape with tracer wire in it. I had to buy a 1000 foot roll of that stuff even though I don’t even need 100 feet.

Then onto other house projects and to basically close the garage now that it has water, natural gas, and a 240 v electrical wire to the house. Even the electrical will probably get tabled, but I do want to get the upstairs floor of the garage finished which requires 240 v apparently. Maybe I could just find a different floor finisher.

Lots more to do in the house on this rush of work. Painting the exterior is getting critical.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I’m at the phase where I’m now considering what electrical panel to install. There’s no rush. Maybe I will wire up the cable and data wires in an attempt to get the last service wire that runs over the swimming pool out of there.

Also considering the concept of installing the dormers to flatten the roof. No rush. Little progress.
 
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