The plumbing pipes in your home and business are conveniently hidden away underground or in your walls and ceilings. And that’s a good thing. Except when you want to add an extra fixture or your are thinking about re-modeling and want to know if a pipe is near-by and if you have an existing problem with a pipe and want to know where the pipe is without guessing. Often, knowing the exact location of the pipes is the first step in diagnosing a problem.
In the past hidden pipes were found using the “best guess” method, often resulting in needless destruction to the home and a lot of wasted time. Today we use a wide variety of pipe locator technologies to find hidden pipes such as ground-penetrating radar, radio detection, infrared and X-rays.
Radio Detection is a method of locating pipes by inducing a radio signal into the subject pipe. This is done by either directly contacting the pipe with a transmitter or by an indirect induction method via a broadcast coil mounted on the surface. Once the signal is induced into the pipe, we are then able to map the pipe’s path with a hand-held receiving antenna on the surface.
This is a quick and efficient way to locate metal pipes hidden underground or in walls.
For non-metal pipes we place a small radio-transmitting probe into the pipe and follow along topside with the receiver as the probe is pulled, pushed or flushed down the pipeline.
Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) will locate pipes below the surface, under reinforced concrete, through reinforced concrete walls, under asphalt and sidewalks. GPR works in a fast and reliable manner. It is also very safe as it uses no radiation. It is often used to augment our other locating techniques.
A unique feature of the radar is that under some conditions, it can locate trenches where lines were buried as well as old building foundations and abandoned storage tanks.
As Coachella Valley continues to grow, so does the important infrastructure that we depend on which is buried underground. Just about anywhere you dig there could be an underground facility lying in “wait”. With this being the case, how do you avoid hitting them?
The easiest way, and the legal way, is to call Underground Service Alert of Southern California, a.k.a. DigAlert. DigAlert, is the One Call Notification Center that supports all of Southern California. Plus, it’s a simple process to help you avoid the costly error of cutting a fiber optic cable or to the hazardous situation of damaging a power line or a gas main. You are required by law to call DigAlert at 811 to get all public utilities located and marked. You need to call 2 working days ahead so that the various utilities can mark their lines.