Building our new house:
Utility lines and tanks in
Our house uses a pressurized septic system: waste water from the house
flows into a 1,000-gallon septic tank then into a 750-gallon pressure tank with
a sewage pump in the tank. From there, the waste water is pumped through
4-inch PVC pipe to the septic drain field that's located 500 feet behind the
We are using propane gas for some of our utilities: gas cooktop in the
kitchen; propane gas furnace backup for the heat pump; and, our standby
generator is driven by a propane engine. To supply the propane we buried a
500-gallon propane tank in the back yard.
Here's a picture of the back yard showing the utility installations.
Looking at the house from the front yard. The round black object is the
lid of the 750-gallon pressure tank. Behind this lid you see another black
lid -- that's the lid for the 1,000-gallon septic tank. In the right
center of the photo is a 2X4 sticking out of the ground. This is where the
500-gallon propane tank is buried. It has a black lid similar to those on
the other two tanks because we have to open the lid to refill the propane tank.
To the left of the ladder is a piece of white PVC pipe sticking out of the
ground. This opens into the sewer line from the house to the septic tank.
We have to fill the tank with 1,000 gallons of water, then, we'll cut this line
off to ground level and put a screw cap on it to allow clean-out access to the
This photo is taken looking from the house toward the rear of the lot.
Notice the black lid in the ground next to the 2X4 -- that's the lid for the
propane tank -- lift this lid and you can read the meter showing how much gas is
in the tank, and, you have access to the refill valve. You see two more
lids farther back in the yard -- the closer of the two is the lid to the septic
tank, the last lid is for the pressure tank. The water line comes in from
the rear corner of the lot and is buried on the backside of the pile of dirt in
Here is a photo of the corner of the house where the utilities enter and
leave the house. The muddy green object leaning at an angle is a
temporary door over the crawl space entrance. To the right of the crawl
space entry is a black wire coiled up -- that's the electric cable for the
outside a/c unit. The square gray box is where the electric meter
will be mounted. The coiled wires to the left of the meter box are
wires for the sewer pump. The white wires coiled to the left of the
corner carry electrical power to the garage and shed. To the left of the
coiled white wire is a black cable -- this cable goes to the generator --
we are mounting a 12KW propane-powered generator that will start automatically
when the power goes out (as it does here on the Northern Neck) to provide power
to critical circuits in the house. Below the black cable is a copper
pipe sticking out of the ground -- this is the gas line that runs to the
buried propane tank. Finally is a piece of white PVC pipe with a cap
sticking out of the ground. This is the sewer line clean out that was
visible in the first photo on this page.
The main electric cable from the electric company will come in underground
from the bottom right corner of the photo and will run through a piece of
conduit up the wall into the meter box. We'll install electrical power in
about two weeks (after first of May).