There’s a reason why the water and sewage construction industry is worth an estimated $45 billion. Underneath our feet, there is a sprawling collection of pipes and sewer lines that transport water and carry away waste.
Unfortunately, this vast infrastructure of pipes can interrupt the potential building plans you have on your property. For example, let’s say you want to build a pool. How do you make sure you won’t be disrupting pipes when you build?
The answer: pipe locator technology. If you want to learn more about how this tech works and how to use it, then you’re in the right place. Let’s get started!
What Is Pipe Locator Technology?
Pipe locator technology is a utility tool that people use to detect the presence of pipes and cables underground. There are a variety of different types of pipe locators.
However, in their simplest form, most of them consist of two elements: a transmitter and a receiver. The transmitter is the part that’s used to produce a signal onto whatever pipe or cable is underground.
Then, the receiver is used to find the signal that is connected to the pipe. There are a few different methods for locating pipes. One involves direct connection or conduction. This method is achieved by plugging the connection into a transmitter output socket. Then, this is connected directly to the target line using an alligator clamp.
If the utility line is made of plastic, then a ring clamp is used instead. Passive radio power is another method that uses a sweeping method to pick up signals from the buried utilities.
With sounding, a sounding line is snaked into the pipe. Then the transmitter is used to pick up a more accurate signal. These methods are typically used when the passive radio power isn’t strong enough to pick up any signal from the pipe.
How Do You Use Pipe Locator Technology?
Some types of pipe locator technology work differently than others. However, most of them follow a similar principle when it comes to usage. To begin, divide the area you’re working on into an orthogonal grid.
Hold the pipe locator vertically and begin sweeping horizontally along the grid. When you get to the end of a spot, move up and continue to work horizontally. Eventually, you will likely detect the presence of a utility.
When you detect a signal, stop walking and pinpoint its exact location. Then, find the depth of the pipe or cable. You can do this by holding the vertical blade near the ground and rotating it.
Continue rotating it back and forth until you find the position with the maximum response. Then, move the pipe locator from side to side to pinpoint the area with the peak level of response.
Once you find this position, then you can mark the exact location of the pipe and continue sweeping for more underground utility lines.
Benefits of Pipe Locator Technology
There are a lot of benefits that come with using pipe locator technology. For one thing, it’s incredibly accurate and efficient at determining both the location and depth of most types of underground utilities.
The technology is also portable, which makes it convenient to carry from one site to another. Pipe locator technology is also simple to use and easy to teach others. So, if you need to train someone on how to use it, then it won’t take you very long.
The equipment also works in all types of soil conditions. As such, you don’t need to worry about certain ground types preventing you from finding pipes.
Finally, the relatively low cost of the equipment means that it’s accessible to both small contractors and large organizations alike.
Drawbacks of Pipe Locator Technology
Unfortunately, pipe locator technology isn’t perfect. As such, it does come with some potential drawbacks. The main problem is that the technology only works on metallic pipes.
As such, non-metallic pipes will require either access or a tracer wire to detect them. It can also be a problem when multiple lines are laid down next to one another. Oftentimes the pipe locator cannot distinguish between multiple targets in these types of circumstances. The pipe locator might not work in certain types of settings.
For example, in power plants, or sewage treatment facilities, there is often too much background interference to produce a strong enough signal to read.
In addition to this pipe locator technology can’t be used during bad weather, like rain, thunder, or snow. It requires a clear day to provide accurate readings. Finally, while the basics of the technology are easy to grasp it can take years of practice to fully master it.
Where Can You Purchase Pipe Locator Technology?
The best place to purchase pipe locator technology is through online retailers or manufacturers. This option is preferable because you can often find good deals on both new and refurbished locators.
You might also be able to find them at certain in-person power tool suppliers, though they might be hard to come by. This type of equipment tends to be pretty expensive, so if you’re trying to save money, then the refurbished option might be the best route to follow.
When shopping makes sure to keep in mind exactly what you’re going to be doing with the pipe locator technology. This will help you find the best product. For example, if your primary need is horizontal directional drilling, then the DigiTrak F5 transmitter is a great choice.
Want More Content? Keep Exploring
We hope this article helped you learn everything you need to know about pipe locator technology. As you can see, this non-invasive surveying method is essential for both utility workers and homeowners alike.
So, if you’re ready to finally know what’s going on beneath the ground, then purchase one today. Did you enjoy this article? If the answer is yes, then you’re in the right place. Keep reading to find more topics that you’re sure to love.