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Locate Water Lines in Your Yard Efficiently and Safely

locate water lines
April 20, 2023

If you’re planning on doing some landscaping or plumbing work in your yard, you need to know where your water lines are located, what material they are, and how deep they are buried. If you don’t, you run the risk of damaging your lines and losing your water supply until they are fixed.

Locating water lines can be a tricky process, and it’s important to do it efficiently and safely. When you know how to find the water main in your yard, you can preserve the water supply to your water heater, washing machine, sinks, and more.

4 Steps for Locating Water Pipes in Your Yard

There are several steps in the process to underground pipe locating that should be learned if you want to know how to find water lines on your property. Identifying the pipe material, choosing the right underground locating tool, and knowing the general location of where to start looking are all important. 

1. Determine the Pipe Material of your Plumbing System

There are several different materials used for underground water pipes, and knowing what material yours are made of will determine what water line locator tool to use. The main plumbing materials used for residential water systems are PVC, PEX, copper, and ABS materials. 

Nowadays, water pipes installed underground are more often than not made of PVC or PEX materials. They are known for being corrosion and rust resistant, and can handle large amounts of pressure. Copper pipes are still used for this purpose, but they are less resistant to corrosion and can have functional issues in certain soils.

2. Find the Correct Underground Pipe Locator Tool

Once you have determined the material of the pipe in your yard, you can choose the right utility locator for the job. There are several types to choose from: Electromagnetic Conductivity (EM), Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), and Acoustic Methods. 

The two major methods used today are EM and GPR. The EM method of utility tracking is primarily used for electrical lines, but it can be used to track metal pipes as well. This is because the electromagnetic signals can only identify conductive materials. 

If you are looking to learn how to locate PVC water lines in your yard, GPR is the way to go. GPR is not limited to metallic materials, and can locate underground just about any type of piping, including PVC pipes. It can also reveal important information about how deep the line is.

3. Locate and Track the Water Line

To begin, you should try to obtain an old property inspection report to find some indication of the water line’s general location. If you do not have this information, you can find your water meter for a good starting place.

Once you have an idea of where to begin, you can set up the utility locator. If you are using a water pipe locator rental, you most likely can get directions on how to set it up from the rental service.

Once the locator is set up, you can begin walking in a straight line from your starting position. The locator should either indicate audibly or visually on a display if you are standing above the pipe. Small flags or spray paint can be used to mark the path as you go.

4. Map Your Utilities and Never Wonder Again

Nowadays, advanced technologies allow for the mapping of utility lines, including water lines, during the water pipe locating process. GIS technologies, or Geospatial Information Systems, provide highly accurate location information and can integrate different types of data into your personalized map. This includes pipe material type as well as line depth.

GIS-based maps can be valuable for you and future owners of the property if water lines need to be maintained, if you want to construct something new on the property, or if you want to do extensive yard work. 

Utilisource: Private Utility Locating and GIS Services

Utilisource is here to take care of all your water pipe locating needs! Whether you are looking for a simple one-time mapping job or a long-term partnership, our team of experts is committed to providing the best solutions. We also offer advanced GIS mapping services to take your project to the next level. Take advantage of our private utility locating services today and enjoy the benefits for years to come.

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