Most utilities such as water, gas, electricity and communications are piped into homes and other buildings with a network of pipes, cables or wires, all buried underground so that they do not take up too much space above the ground. Therefore, if there is any necessity to repair or relocate any of these pipes or cables, it is important to know where exactly they are buried underground. This will help avoid vital pipe work or cables, when you need to repair or replace some other pipe. To learn how to locate a buried pipe, read through the following steps.
Reading blueprints and plans. This is perhaps the easiest way to find out the location of hidden pipes and cables. Before any construction or project for laying down pipes, there will be detailed blueprints prepared and the placement is usually done as per these plans. Obtaining a copy of these plans, should be helpful in locating the placement of each and every piece of pipe or cable.
Ground radar. While aboveground radar is quite accurate in pinpointing objects above ground and in the air and is very useful in navigation, it can also be adapted for underground use. But the technology is complex and expensive, hence, can be used only on very large scale projects and not for everyday small jobs.
Imaging. Another method for locating objects is to use infra red imaging which distinguishes between different objects by analysing their respective temperatures. In the case of pipes and cables, their respective ambient temperatures will be usually different from the surrounding earth.
Dowsing. Dowsing is an old, traditional method of locating things underground. The downside is that it may not be helpful in locating non-metallic objects such as plastic pipes or wires.
Electromagnetic radiation. This is the most widely used method of locating buried pipes and cables today. By creating an electromagnetic field around the buried object and any signals from an alternative source can be captured with the help of a radio receiver. Once you're able to locate the right frequency on which the alternate signal is being received, by honing in on that point, until the signal is extremely strong at the point where the pipe is buried.
Based on your requirements and the money you have on hand, any of these methods should assist you in locating buried pipes. One important fact to remember, before you go hunting for buried cables and pipes, is to consult the appropriate authorities managing the utility. In fact, it makes sense to have them do the locating, since they will have the necessary equipment and experience at their disposal.