There are 3 major utilities to get going: electric, water, and gas. Electric wasn’t that difficult to get turned on in the grand scheme of things. Gas has been somewhat trickier. Normally, gas isn’t a pressing concern for a project like this one, however, Dominion, our gas company, has a program in which they will give you a rebate for choosing to make energy efficient upgrades to your home. The electric company has a similar deal. In their case, you buy an approved item (usually Energy star certified whatchamahoosits), submit a form and a copy of the reciept or invoice, and they mail you a check. Dominion, it’s not that simple. You have to first have an energy audit done to your home. Then they create a list of things you can do to get a rebate. You don’t have to do all of them or all of them at the same time, but you do have to get the audit done followed up by an inspection to show you did the improvement. In order to enroll in this program, you have to have your gas service set up.
The initial serviceman who came out to turn on our gas pressure tested the lines and did a reading for leaks. For those of you that don’t use natural gas or have never seen this done to plumbing, it’s actually pretty neat. It basically involves a gauge and a pump similar to getting your blood pressure taken. You hook up the hand pump to the pipe, pump it up, then close the valve and see if there’s any drop in pressure. If there is, you’ve got a leak somewhere. If you ever buy a vacant property, you should always get existing plumbing pressure tested to figure out if it’s leaking before you fill it with water. When you set up natural gas service, it’s a commonly done test before they’ll turn you on. I was expecting the servieman to tell me I had a leak and needed a new line. Turns out my house system was just fine. Score! Unfortunately, there was a leak in the service line. In Ohio, everything on the service side of the meter up to the meter is the gas company’s responsibility. Dominion is really good about this fact and will not only replace everything as needed, but also bring in people to replace everything they have to tear up to get the job done.
After some scheduling issues, I was able to get the construction crew from Dominion to replace the line. The only lines are made of 2 inch cast iron piping. I thought it was going to be quite an ordeal to replace this stuff and might involve smashing into a basement wall or tearing up the porch. But these days they do something very cleaver. They run a plastic tubing into your house inside the existing metal pipe. They have to dig up the junction at the main line in order to fit the new pipe, but getting from point A to point B is super easy. So at about 10am, they showed up with a cute little backhoe, smashed up the sidewalk, and ran the new line. They also replaced the meter and all the service pipe inside the house. It took around 3 hours and was kind of fun to watch. The guy operating the tractor was really good at it and would dig inside the same hole the other guy was standing in, trying to manipulate a shovel. They assured me that contractors would show up in a few weeks to repair the sidewalk and tree lawn they dug up. I’m not sure what they’ll do to the grass in November, but I’ll be happy to get a new service line and a sidewalk put in free of charge.