Are your pipes traceable? Have you ever wondered what utilities can be located? It turns out not all utilities can actually be traced.

Private utility locating work generally by sending an electric signal down a conductive utility and following that signal. This means we can connect to any know point of a pipe or wire and send a signal down that which can be traced. For larger pipes with one open end like a conduit, sewer, or drain we can insert a traceable rodder like a sewer scope or fish tape and send the signal through that.

To do this the utility to be located must be metallic, or have a tracer wire. Rigid metal pipes like old water pipes or some gas lines can be traced by connected to the pipe at one end. Plastic pipes need to have a locate wire or tracer wire accessible that we can connect to with a pair of alligator clamps. Tracer wires which are totally buried underground are not useful.

In some cases an all plastic water pipe can be located but not always. See the highly artistic explanation below.

As you can see in the image, the ability attached an object to a working hose bib connection is need to perform this service. Hot water pipes can often be found via IR imaging. Metal pipes can be traced from a know spot. Plastic water pipes with no tracer wire can be traced when there is a hose connection on the line nearby. Large (4″+) water pipes can often be found with GPR.