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#51839 - 05/12/05 01:39 PM pipe locating tool?
royta Offline

Registered: 09/03/04
Posts: 136
Loc: CA
I have a customer who recently bought a house that has a PVC conduit coming out of the top of a pilaster in the front yard. There is no wire in the conduit. Unfortunately, I don't know where the other end of the conduit is. I pushed a fish tape, but can't tell which direction the tape is going. I'm assuming towards the house, but even then, I could spend an entire day digging up the front yard trying to find the end of the pipe. What electronic gadgetry is out there to help me locate the pipe? Does anybody have any experience with rental companies that may have this sort of piece of equipment?



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#51840 - 05/12/05 03:09 PM Re: pipe locating tool?
CanadianSparky Offline

Registered: 03/05/01
Posts: 86
Loc: Alberta Canada
What about a shop-vac or air compressor? Maybe you'll hear the air at the other end.

#51841 - 05/12/05 03:29 PM Re: pipe locating tool?
royta Offline

Registered: 09/03/04
Posts: 136
Loc: CA
I did think an industrial air compressor, like the type you use for jack hammer, would work well. I'd have to use a shop vac to suck out the standing water in the pipe though. You know, just in case the other end came up an interior wall or something crazy like that. One problem though. The engine would be louder than any hiss I might hear. Even a quiet electric compressor with a storage tank would need to have a perfect seal on the pipe in order to hear the hiss out of the correct end.

I don't think the pipe is coming out of the ground. My fish tape came up against something solid, so I'm guessing it could be capped off under ground somewhere. I am hoping there is something I can tie to the end of fish tape, and then locate that something from above the ground.

[This message has been edited by royta (edited 05-12-2005).]

#51842 - 05/12/05 03:43 PM Re: pipe locating tool?
Tom Offline

Registered: 01/01/01
Posts: 1069
Loc: Shinnston, WV USA
(with tongue in cheek) I've always found that backhoes are excellent at locating underground pipes, seems where ever they digm they always manage to hit something.

Have any friends at the gas company?They usually have a tracer that puts a signal on a wire so they can find their buried plastic lines. You could run your fishtape into the conduit, put the signal on the tape & trace it.

If you've got the bucks, General Electric has a rental program & they rent all kinds of electrical test gear.

Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.

#51843 - 05/12/05 03:59 PM Re: pipe locating tool?
Gregtaylor Offline

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 212
Loc: Boise, Idaho, USA
Um, this will sound wierd, but do you know anyone who can witch the trench? 2 coat hangers or better yet brazing rod will do the trick. I'd demonstrate but you're kind of far away.

#51844 - 05/12/05 04:13 PM Re: pipe locating tool?
kinetic Offline

Registered: 04/06/02
Posts: 158
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
A CO2 tank could do the trick. Huge amount of pressure to unblock the conduit if it is buried and very quiet so you might be able to hear it "pop." A welding supply place would have them for you. I use one when I am having trouble fishing a conduit or using a mouse with a vac. A birdie and a CO2 tank can get through anything.

#51845 - 05/12/05 04:22 PM Re: pipe locating tool?
e57 Offline

Registered: 05/27/03
Posts: 2837
Loc: S.F.,CA USA
Yep, inductive tracer, and a fish tape...
Recently traced out my terre cotta drains that way with an old fish tape. (Drain snake broke and needed to know where to dig for the plumber.) Hosed it off as it came back out, but I'm still weary of it... Man, I'm glad I'm not a plumber.

Anyway, an underground inductive tracer, many rental joints have them. Or any circuit tracer w/ a ground coil, and some power. Your phone toner wont cut it...

Pushing a fish in it might be risky, could come up in a panel. Have you given thought that it might not go anywhere?
Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason

#51846 - 05/12/05 04:47 PM Re: pipe locating tool?
royta Offline

Registered: 09/03/04
Posts: 136
Loc: CA
e57 - The first thing I did was pull the cover off the panel and saw there were no open conduits. Then I pushed the tape in the conduit and it went in about twenty feet or so.

Greg - Witching doesn't sound wierd to me. That's how all good water wells originate.

#51847 - 05/12/05 05:10 PM Re: pipe locating tool?
adamb Offline

Registered: 06/02/04
Posts: 26
Loc: Corinna, Maine, US
How about a steel fish tape and a metal detector?

#51848 - 05/12/05 05:20 PM Re: pipe locating tool?
maintenanceguy Offline

Registered: 12/02/01
Posts: 303
Loc: Southern NJ, USA
I was using compressed air to look for the other end of a conduit that went through a slab once. Found it when 4 or 5 gallons of water blew out of a box in a ceiling about 100 feet away.


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