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How to find utilities on your property when building an ADU

Knowing the location of utilities on your property is required for regular home maintenance but also for construction. When you build an ADU, your contractor will be able to help you find the location of most if not all of your utilities. A professional contractor or utility company representative can mark the location of your utilities so that you can provide accurate measurements to your design team. Please let us know if you cannot find these utilities, we can setup a consultation to discuss how to help you get your ADU ready to build.

Electric and Gas Utility Locations

Electrical panels and the power meters are usually located on the outside of your house (image below left). (This is not the same as the electrical panel that is located on the inside of your house.) Look for the nearest overhead powerline with wires leading towards your home, this is a good indication of where your panel and meter will be located (image below center). 

Your overhead electrical service drop will look something like the image below, and this is the more common way of delivering electricity from the main power lines. Sometimes the electrical service line is buried from the power line to the house, but this is less common (image below right). Occasionally the panel and meter will be located on the utility pole when the lines are buried. Gas meters are located on the outside of the house with very clear shutoff locations (images in bottom panel). 

Electric Meters | Department of Energy Powerline utility tie-in

Underground utility trench

Gas meter shut off valve diagram Gas meter location


Water Utility Locations

Water meters and shutoff valves are typically located underground and close to the public road for homes on city water (images below). For homes on well water utilities are usually located around the well itself with a pumphouse or physical cover being good indications of locations. Wells often have separate electrical hookups. Call a professional before digging for any underground plumbing to verify the location. 

Reading Your Water Meter | City of San Jose Know Your Water Meter - On the House Show Notes : Know your water and gas meters and more - On the House

Sewer and Septic Utility Locations

Sewer and septic cleanouts are almost always located outside the house near the bathrooms or kitchen, and they often extend out of the ground (images below left and center). Sometimes the cleanout is fixed to the house (image below right). Septic systems will have a 2 foot diameter opening to the tank somewhere in the yard around the house, as well as a drain field or sand filter for water. Underground sewer lines will most likely run from the cleanout to the sewer main in the street or public right of way.