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Locating Buried Electric Line

 
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Old 04-29-2019, 10:32 PM   #1
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Locating Buried Electric Line


We always do the digtess / 811. I am talking about a private electric line that the utility company won’t locate.

We have some work to do in an area where an electric line for the homeowner’s waterwell is buried - somewhere. Due to the layout of the house, driveway, etc it is really hard to guess which way it is run.

I am guessing the waterline and electric run in the same trench so I really want to avoid hitting them and making a big mess. Is there anyway to find these?
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Old 04-29-2019, 10:46 PM   #2
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Re: Locating Buried Electric Line


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Originally Posted by bdog1234 View Post
We always do the digtess / 811. I am talking about a private electric line that the utility company won’t locate.

We have some work to do in an area where an electric line for the homeowner’s waterwell is buried - somewhere. Due to the layout of the house, driveway, etc it is really hard to guess which way it is run.

I am guessing the waterline and electric run in the same trench so I really want to avoid hitting them and making a big mess. Is there anyway to find these?
If you have an Irrigation supply house around you they may have one of these you can borrow, it's called a valve locator, also called a wire tracer. technically it's called a null detector. You attach the red lead to one end of the un-energized wire and the black lead to a good ground, dial up a good current into the red lead and you can follow the wire underground anywhere by where the sound "isn't" in your headphones and on your meter on your handheld.
If you want any tips on how to use it. I have 25+years with those, you can call me, I'm a master with those.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...qmxxJpf_5CW8Rz

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Old 04-30-2019, 08:40 AM   #3
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Re: Locating Buried Electric Line


Don't assume that.

I did an addition in a rural area, and there was a trench for the water, a few feet over a trench for the power, a trench for the sewer, and in a long sweeping curve that I've never been able to figure out, a different trench for the fire suppression water. Even though it ran the EXACT same place as the sewer.

Those locators are pretty good. You can usually hire an outfit that has them. There are some where they can put a wire into a water line, and trace those out as well.

Another option is to uncover the pipe where it leave's the well house, and see which way it goes. Do the same at the residence, and you "might" have an idea of how it runs.
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Old 04-30-2019, 03:25 PM   #4
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Re: Locating Buried Electric Line


Quote:
Originally Posted by Seven-Delta-FortyOne View Post
Don't assume that.

I did an addition in a rural area, and there was a trench for the water, a few feet over a trench for the power, a trench for the sewer, and in a long sweeping curve that I've never been able to figure out, a different trench for the fire suppression water. Even though it ran the EXACT same place as the sewer.

Those locators are pretty good. You can usually hire an outfit that has them. There are some where they can put a wire into a water line, and trace those out as well.

Another option is to uncover the pipe where it leave's the well house, and see which way it goes. Do the same at the residence, and you "might" have an idea of how it runs.
"Might" is an understatement lol.
I put up a garage for my mom last spring, didn't think there was any way we would hit the underground electric, even cheated the garage away from the house a little bit just in case.

Well I cheated it right on top of the electric, drilled right through it on the second post hole
The line took a long sweeping turn for no apparent reason still can't figure out why it was out that far.

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Old 04-30-2019, 04:47 PM   #5
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Re: Locating Buried Electric Line


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Originally Posted by mrcat View Post
"Might" is an understatement lol.
I put up a garage for my mom last spring, didn't think there was any way we would hit the underground electric, even cheated the garage away from the house a little bit just in case.

Well I cheated it right on top of the electric, drilled right through it on the second post hole
The line took a long sweeping turn for no apparent reason still can't figure out why it was out that far.

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Are you new to this or something? Long sweeping turns allow the electrons to flow easier.
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Old 04-30-2019, 05:35 PM   #6
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Re: Locating Buried Electric Line


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Originally Posted by B.Johnson View Post
Are you new to this or something? Long sweeping turns allow the electrons to flow easier.
Well I didn't think it had to be THAT long and sweeping for ease of electron flowage.


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Old 05-01-2019, 07:04 AM   #7
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Re: Locating Buried Electric Line


I use all fashion way 2 bent copper wires to locate anything, electric, water, sewer, gas... never fails works better than the trace tools utility company use. Tested 100 times against them, never failed.

For the newer installations, they are more accurate because now you have an attached trace-wire along the run... but older installations they always off.

Just a few months ago I was doing an estimate and the guys next door were trying to repair a sewer line, the guy was spot digging trying to find the pipe which had a bend in it to avoid the cleanout in the driveway. When I got there I walked into the house they were already looking for it when I was leaving about 30 min later they still spot digging... So I took the wires I have in my truck and outlined the whole sewer run for them and I left.
I ran into excavation guy about a week ago in a plumbing supply store and he gave me $10 said the coffee on me because I saved them a lot of time and grief.

This is an old trick I learned from an old timer excavation guy he said this trick never failed him and me also.

Good luck

P.S Someone made a video about that
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Old 05-01-2019, 03:56 PM   #8
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Re: Locating Buried Electric Line


Between being on my own and working for my dad, that amounts to over 50 years in the excavating business.

Witching is like calling California psychic

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Old 05-01-2019, 04:15 PM   #9
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Re: Locating Buried Electric Line


Quote:
Originally Posted by mrcat View Post
..........The line took a long sweeping turn for no apparent reason still can't figure out why it was out that far.

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99 out of 100 times, it's due to a pile of dirt or lumber or someone's truck that won't start in the way when the guy with the trencher shows up.
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Old 05-01-2019, 05:06 PM   #10
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Re: Locating Buried Electric Line


I've seen guys do it but, I don't trust in it.

I've never had any luck trying it, I must have too much negative energy.

The Seektech SR-20 works pretty darn well though.
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Old 05-01-2019, 06:13 PM   #11
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Re: Locating Buried Electric Line


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Originally Posted by B.Johnson View Post
Are you new to this or something? Long sweeping turns allow the electrons to flow easier.
Only when it goes into the house, does not work if you want to sell power back to the grid
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Old 05-01-2019, 06:56 PM   #12
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Re: Locating Buried Electric Line


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Only when it goes into the house, does not work if you want to sell power back to the grid
That's half true. When the AC cycle changes the next 1/120th of a second, it's false.
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Old 05-01-2019, 09:03 PM   #13
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Re: Locating Buried Electric Line


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Originally Posted by tgeb View Post
I've seen guys do it but, I don't trust in it.

I've never had any luck trying it, I must have too much negative energy.

The Seektech SR-20 works pretty darn well though.
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Old 05-02-2019, 02:51 AM   #14
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Re: Locating Buried Electric Line


I can witch water, but not electricity. Probably a genetic deficiency.

I did one last month with a metal detector. It was aluminum wire leading to an out building. Was able to find the wire with no problem and even tell how far underground it was.
One place it was only 1" deep.
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Old 05-03-2019, 12:13 AM   #15
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Re: Locating Buried Electric Line


Quote:
Originally Posted by greg24k View Post
I use all fashion way 2 bent copper wires to locate anything, electric, water, sewer, gas... never fails works better than the trace tools utility company use. Tested 100 times against them, never failed.



For the newer installations, they are more accurate because now you have an attached trace-wire along the run... but older installations they always off.



Just a few months ago I was doing an estimate and the guys next door were trying to repair a sewer line, the guy was spot digging trying to find the pipe which had a bend in it to avoid the cleanout in the driveway. When I got there I walked into the house they were already looking for it when I was leaving about 30 min later they still spot digging... So I took the wires I have in my truck and outlined the whole sewer run for them and I left.

I ran into excavation guy about a week ago in a plumbing supply store and he gave me $10 said the coffee on me because I saved them a lot of time and grief.



This is an old trick I learned from an old timer excavation guy he said this trick never failed him and me also.



Good luck



P.S Someone made a video about that

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AW_xDXDtDmc
I bet you believe in the Easter Bunny too...

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Old 05-03-2019, 02:56 AM   #16
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Re: Locating Buried Electric Line


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Originally Posted by Inner10 View Post
I bet you believe in the Easter Bunny too...

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Old 05-03-2019, 05:51 AM   #17
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Re: Locating Buried Electric Line


Witching = random chance.
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Old 05-03-2019, 08:02 AM   #18
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Re: Locating Buried Electric Line


Just start digging, you'll find the line where you least expect it.

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Old 05-03-2019, 09:35 AM   #19
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Re: Locating Buried Electric Line


They give you a mark-out based on within 2' of the line on each side.

So you have a 4' path where utility should be located.

You hit something within the 4' it's on you, you hit something on the outside of the 4' it's on them. That's the rule for the entire country I think.

I use the wires to double check and never been wrong.

The trick is to hold the wires the right way and apply the right amount of pressure yet allowing them to move freely.

Happy digging
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Old 05-03-2019, 10:32 AM   #20
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Re: Locating Buried Electric Line


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Originally Posted by greg24k View Post
They give you a mark-out based on within 2' of the line on each side.

So you have a 4' path where utility should be located.

You hit something within the 4' it's on you, you hit something on the outside of the 4' it's on them. That's the rule for the entire country I think.........:
18" and 36".

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