How to Locate Water Lines in Your Yard

Do you know where the water lines are positioned on your property? Not many people do, and while some may have an idea of where they’re located, it’s easy to forget the exact positioning and depth. It’s essential to locate these lines before you start any major projects that involved digging or excavating. The pipes can easily be damaged and cost you a lot if you’re not aware of their precise placement. If you need to locate water lines on your property, it’s not a difficult process but it is a necessary one. Here is everything you need to know about how to locate water lines in your yard.

Why you need to perform a water line locate before digging

Home Guides points out that water pipes in your yard are the conduits that connect your house to local water mains. If you live in a rural area, they are still out there and connect your home to the well that provides water for running the house. If you accidentally dig into the pipes, you could cause damage that would be expensive to repair. For city dwellers, a broken or cracked pipe could leak large amounts of water underground. You may not even know that you’ve damaged the pipes until it’s too late. If you pay for city water, leaks can cost a lot in high volume water usage resulting in a utility bill that costs you hundreds of dollars or even more.

Other dangers of broken water lines include flooding of your home or other structures. Excessive moisture can cause damage to the foundation of a building. Water leaks can saturate the ground and seep into your basement, and cause damage to interior walls and materials. If moisture gets into the drywall or wood, it can lead to molding and deterioration which can cost you tens of thousands. It’s simply not worth taking the risk. These are the main reasons why it’s essential to locate water pipes before you start any kind of work that involves digging or excavation.

How to find your water meter

If your home is hooked up to a city water supply, there are a few different places your water meter may be located. The water meter is usually placed near the road so city workers can perform a monthly reading of water usage, however, meters can be placed in other areas. It could be located near the sidewalk or a parking area outside of your home. If you don’t know what a water meter looks like, most of them are housed underneath the ground with a metal cover over the top. You can lift the lid and see the meter that shows your water usage beneath. This is where the pipes for city water originate into your yard. If you have difficulty locating your water meter, you can call your local city hall to find out where the meter on your property is placed. This is the best place to start when marking your water lines.

How to find the water lines in your yard

In most cases, the water supply lines are laid between the water meter of your home or the well, and they follow a path to the house. Most lines are buried at a minimum of 3 feet below the ground, which makes them a little harder to find. Some are laid out in straight lines, but they may make a few jogs.

The best method for locating water lines in your yard

According to Hunker, the best way to quickly and easily locate water pipes in the yard is to use a pipe locator device. Locators are electronic devices that help to pinpoint the location of plastic and metal pipes underground. Before you purchase one, make sure that it is made to identify both types of pipe material as functionality can vary from one model of a locator to another.

Steps for using a water pipe locator

Locators come with a set of instructions on how to use them. Each is a little different so be sure to read all of the materials that come with the device you purchase. Walkthrough your yard with the locator and aim the sensor at the ground. The locator will give you an indication alarm when you are standing over the area where a water pipe exists. Some devices provide audio alerts and others show it visually on a screen. Be prepared to mark the position of the pipe with chalk or spray paint. It’s recommended that you follow the entire length of the water pipe to make sure that it does not make any turns or jogs. Go along the distance from the point of entry at the home to its origin at the well-house or the water service meter, whichever may be the case. Mark the path of the pipe to ensure that you don’t inadvertently damage it.

Final thoughts

Locating water lines in your yard is a necessary step to take before you undertake any kinds of activities that involved digging at a depth of more than 2 feet. Even planting new trees or rosebushes can lead to accidental breakage of water pipes. It’s always a good idea to know the approximate placement of the pipes so you can avoid digging in the area. It’s also a good practice to avoid planting over water pipes because the roots can grow down into the area and could potentially lead to damage to old pipes. The fastest and easiest way to locate water pipes in your yard is to purchase an electronic locating device. They’re not expensive, but you should take care to choose a model that locates both plastic and metal pipes. Take the time to walk from the water source to your home and make clear marks before you begin any digging projects to protect the integrity of your pipes, and give you an idea of where they’re located in the years to come.

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