3 Underground Utility Locating Equipment You Should Know

3 Underground Utility Locating Equipment You Should Know

Utility locating not only requires years of experience, but you also need the right tools or equipment to do it successfully. This is true whether you’re a beginner or a veteran searching for utility locations before you dig.

While you’ll probably hire professional utility locators to unearth buried utilities for you, it’s still worth learning about the tools they commonly use to detect utility lines. That’s why we’ve broken down the three basic types of utility locating equipment below!

To truly understand what happens during utility location, take the time to read about magnetic locators, pipe locators, and cable locators that utility companies use.

1. Magnetic Locators

Locating a single point, such as a rebar corner pin or a water pipe, is the primary function of a magnetic locator. Its name refers to its ability to detect objects in underground facilities that would attract magnets.

A magnetic locator is sensitive enough to find even a single ferrous object like steel property pins, manhole lids, and water or gas valves. However, magnetic locators are not recommended for locating underground utilities; rather, a pipe and cable locator should be used for this purpose.

2. Pipe Locators

During utility location, detecting buried pipelines can be a real headache when you don’t have a pipe locator. This nifty tool locates pipes by emitting an electromagnetic frequency that travels through the earth.

That frequency would then ricochet off of any pipelines or similar materials that might be buried underneath. The device is usually attached to the main water valve or hydrant and is used to trace water lines before digging or excavation begins.

3. Cable Locators

Similar to a pipe locator in terms of function, a cable locator is a utility device used to pinpoint the exact location of underground cables or signal lines before you dig.

To estimate the location of subsurface lines and cables, the device also emits electromagnetic frequencies. Most cable locators can be utilized for both direct-connect or inductive-coupling approaches.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there anything about utility locating services that you don’t understand yet? Just in case, we took the time to answer some questions that you may have. Check them out below:

What is underground utility line locating?

This is the process of finding and marking the locations of underground public or private utilities.

How much is private utility locating?

It depends on how large or complex the location is. Private homeowners may pay a few hundred dollars. For larger facilities, though, the costs might reach thousands of dollars.

What is Ground Penetrating Radar?

GPR equipment is used to search for objects under surfaces like concrete and asphalt through the use of radio waves. It’s preferred by many as it’s a non-destructive method. 

Get Professional Services For Locating Underground Utilities

With years of experience and state-of-the-art technology, you can rely on Util-Locate for your utility locating and mapping needs.

Learn how we can help you when you email us at info@util-locate.com or contact us at 1 (866) 638-1075 today!

3 Reasons to Call In Utility Potholing Services

3 Reasons to Call In Utility Potholing Services

Before an excavation or construction project begins, it is necessary to perform potholing for utilities. Professional utility potholing is a non-destructive method of determining the exact placement of all underground utility lines. 

This utility location method is usually carried out by excavating carefully-planned areas around and above utility wires using a portable vacuum excavator that removes dirt and debris. During potholing, utility crews may come across gas, water, electrical, and sewage lines. 

Small test holes may also be created in the earth for finding underground utilities like sewer pipes and utility lines. Potholing techniques eliminate risk by informing builders of the precise location of utilities before breaking ground.

Why Do You Need Professional Utility Potholing Services?

To give you a better understanding of potholing services and why you need them, we’ve broken down three benefits below.

1. It Helps Prevent Damages in Utility Lines

While digging, there’s a huge possibility that you may damage underground utilities. That will require a lot of labor and money to fix, not to mention the service outages that will inevitably occur in the digging process. You can be proactive and easily prevent service interruptions through utility potholing and utility maps.

2. It is Required in Many States

Many states prohibit the operation of heavy machinery within a certain distance of buried utility lines. Doing so exposes employees to a multitude of dangers. That is why most businesses must hire utility potholing services before the excavation starts.

3. It Ensures the Safety of Your Business Location

Understanding and maintaining your work site begins with potholing. Whether you’re laying new foundations or rerouting existing utilities and underground lines, you must know how things stand with your underground infrastructure.

Most Popular Potholing Technique

There are two popular potholing methods commonly used in the construction industry.

Hydrovac Excavation

Hydro excavation is the preferred method of many due to its accuracy compared to other methods. This potholing process moves the soil carefully using high-pressure water and a hose. The excavated material is then dumped into a debris tank.

Additionally, hydro vac excavation is advantageous because it uses water, which serves as a non-conductor. This becomes all the more critical when considering the safety of crew members while working with live electrical wires.

Vacuum Excavation

Another method of potholing is vacuum excavation, also known as air excavation. This technique uses a portable and pressurized device that utilizes air to extract soil via high-speed suction. Once the dirt is removed, it is either dried out or stored in a holding tank until it may be reused later.

An excavator’s fuel tank capacity can be anywhere from 100 to 1,200 gallons. Some potholing professionals believe this is the most secure means of excavating near utilities since they use low-pressure air.

Need Reliable Potholing Services For Your Construction Projects?

In every construction project, safety comes first. That’s why before you even think about digging or potholing utilities, you should reach out to Util-Locate first!

Through game-changing technology and years of proven expertise, you won’t be disappointed by our utility potholing services.

Contact us at 1 (866) 638-1075 or via email at info@util-locate.com to find out how we can assist you today!