As the weather warms and the ground thaws out, construction season begins again. Whether you're talking about new construction, building an addition to your home, or anything that requires digging into the ground, you have to think about which utility lines may be buried where you are about to dig.

Even if you're pretty sure where the gas, electric, sewer, water, and phone lines are, there's a phone call you have to make before you dig. No joke, it's the law.

According to Central Hudson, it's called the Dig-Safely Hotline and it's toll-free at 811. This will connect you with a regional or state-wide call center, who will then notify any utility companies who may have lines where you'll be digging. Utility crews from the impacted companies will come out and mark their locations for you, at no charge.

photo courtesy of Central Hudson

Since this may take a few days to coordinate, it is recommended that you call the Dig-Safely Hotline at least two to 10 days before digging. While this may see like an inconvenience, it's there to protect you and your neighbors. Besides, any guesses as to how costly it will be to pay for damages caused by you digging first without checking?

Be safe, be smart. Call before you dig, at 811.