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Understanding Utility Connections For New Homes

January 12th, 2024

By Sofia Alonso

4 min read


One of the most complex and often overlooked aspects of building a new home is establishing utility connections on that property. This process, encompassing water, gas, electricity, and sewage, is more than just a technical necessity—it's the lifeblood of your future home's functionality and comfort. For many homeowners, the challenge lies in navigating the maze of options and requirements for these essential services. The myriad decisions, from choosing between public water and a private well to determining the best sewage disposal method, can be overwhelming.

How do you ensure that your home is well-equipped with reliable and efficient utilities while also adhering to local regulations and managing costs?

At AV Architects + Builders, we bring over two decades of expertise in designing and building new homes for our clients in Northern Virginia. Our deep understanding of the utility landscape in Northern Virginia, combined with a commitment to sustainable and practical solutions, positions us to adeptly navigate these complexities. We recognize that each home is unique, and so are its utility needs. Our approach allows us to guide our clients to selecting the right options for their new home in terms of utility connections that align with their lifestyle and environment.

In this article, we promise to explain your options to establish utility connections for your new home. We will explain the various options for water, sewage, gas, and electricity, discussing their implications and guiding you through the decision-making process. Our goal is to equip you with the knowledge and confidence to make informed choices that will lay a solid foundation for your new home's functionality and comfort. With AV Architects + Builders, you can rest assured that your journey to a perfectly connected home will be as smooth and stress-free as possible.


Connecting to Utilities for Your New Home

Building a new home involves a multitude of decisions and processes, with utility connections being a vital component. These connections, which include water, gas, electricity, and sewage, are foundational for the functionality and comfort of your new home. The type and availability of these utilities vary based on your property’s location and condition, making it crucial to understand each option and its implications for your construction project.


Water Connection: Public Water vs Private Well


Public Water

When it comes to water services, connecting to a public water supply is a common choice for many homeowners. This option usually requires an accessible water pipe from the street, which needs to be extended to your new property. The process involves not only the initial connection fee but also ongoing charges for water usage. The reliability and quality of public water supply can vary by location, so it’s important to research the local water services. Additionally, some regions may have water usage restrictions or additional regulations that could affect your decision.

In Fairfax County, the public water provider is Fairfax Water.

In Arlington County, the public water provider is Arlington Water

In Loudoun County, the public water provider is Loudoun Water.


The Process of Establishing a Private Well

For properties where public water is unavailable or if you prefer a more independent approach, opting for a private well can be a viable alternative. This option entails drilling a well on your property and conducting a Well Test to assess its performance. The Well Test is crucial in determining the well's yield and suitability for various uses, ensuring that there's adequate water for both household and irrigation needs. An engineer's input is often necessary to ascertain the best location for the well, considering factors like ground composition and proximity to the house. The long-term maintenance and potential treatment of well water should also be factored into this decision.


Sewage Connection: Public Sewer vs Private Septic Systems


Public Sewer

The disposal of sewage is a critical aspect of new home construction, with two primary options available: public sewer services and private septic systems. Public sewer services, typically offered in urban and suburban areas, involve connecting your home to the county's sewage system. This option is generally less maintenance-intensive for homeowners but may involve usage fees and restrictions. 


Septic Systems

On the other hand, private septic systems are used in areas without public sewer access. These systems rely on your property's soil to treat and dispose of sewage and require regular maintenance and careful planning. A Perc Test is a vital step in this process, ensuring the soil's ability to handle the planned sewage output, especially considering the size of the home.

new home Gas Supply: Public Natural Gas vs private Propane


Natural Gas 

For heating, cooking, and other energy needs, homes typically use either natural gas or propane. Natural gas, where available, is supplied through a connection to a municipal or private gas line. This option necessitates a connection fee and ongoing payments to the gas company but is often preferred for its convenience and efficiency. 

In Northern Virginia, public natural gas is provided by Washington Gas.


Propane Tank

In areas without natural gas infrastructure, propane tanks are used. These tanks are installed on your property and require regular refilling by a gas company. Both options have their benefits and limitations, and your choice may depend on availability, cost, and personal preference.


Establishing Electricity in Your new home

Electricity is another crucial utility for any new home, and the process involves coordinating with the local electric company. The cost of connecting to the electrical grid varies based on your location and the distance of your property from the nearest power lines. It's important to budget for these costs as they form a significant part of the initial site development expenses. Additionally, you should consider the reliability of the local power supply and the potential for alternative energy sources, such as solar panels, which can supplement or replace traditional electricity sources.

In Northern Virginia, electricity is provided by Dominion Energy



The Importance of Strategic Utility Planning for Your New Home

Planning for utility connections is a critical aspect of new home construction. Each utility option—whether it's water, sewage, gas, or electricity—comes with its set of considerations and costs. Understanding these options and their implications is key to ensuring a smooth construction process and a comfortable, functional home. Working with experienced professionals like architects and builders can provide valuable guidance in making these important decisions. By carefully planning and considering all aspects of utility connections, you can build a home that not only meets your current needs but also anticipates future requirements and possibilities.

With AV Architects + Builders, our expertise in the Northern Virginia region equips us to simplify these complexities, guiding you through each decision with ease and ensuring your home is well-equipped with reliable and efficient utilities.



9903 Georgetown Pike Suite 201
Great Falls, VA 22066
(703) 865-5065