Locators are a vital aspect of any plumbing repair since they improve safety and save time by reducing delays. They locate issue spots in plumbing infrastructure fast and correctly. They also locate other utilities that may be intertwined with underground plumbing to prevent accidents, say gas leaks. Granted, such benefits are pretty obvious when it comes to locating. Some other benefits, however, may not be obvious and only become important to you as a plumber when working. One of these is that locating gives you a greater sense of depth and direction. By knowing the direction and depth of a drain line, you can save time and avoid mishaps.
Even better, imagine using locators in conjunction with an inspection camera. This way, you can visually map out the drain line while a locator tracks the camera head or cable to see what’s going on inside pipes that would otherwise be unreachable. This takes your services to the next level, as you can address all root causes of plumbing issues comprehensively. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind for effective underground surveys:
1. Choose the Appropriate Locator
Your locating services will only be as good as your locator. As such, use a locator that is accurate enough to improve efficiency while also offering enough comprehensive information. This way, you can be confident that you have located your target utility whenever possible. For accurate measurements, ensure that they have tools with easily readable screens and a high-quality transmitter with numerous frequencies. Note that locators range from basic to complicated models, and it’s crucial to consider the kind of job sites you see most frequently when choosing the correct instruments.
2. Take your Sweet Time
It may seem self-evident, but many plumbers are in the habit of cramming too much work into short periods. As such, they are often pressed for time, making it easy to hurry through a job. When it comes to locating, however, it is critical to take your time and ensure that your equipment is in good working order and that you have identified the entire project area. You’d be shocked how often lines are misplaced as a result of an operator’s inattention, placing others in danger. Consider the “measure twice, cut once” principle to avoid incorrectly locating on a job site, which will save time in the long run.
3. Accuracy is Paramount
The accuracy of the gadget determines how effective locating is. Even if the tool was working properly at the last locate, it is vital to double-check its accuracy at the start of each locate session. Raise the locator a known distance and double-check that it is reading the correct distance. Placing the antenna on your boot or shoe, for example, is a simple approach to confirm accuracy.
4. Always Mark the Poles First
Start with marking your poles then move to the equator. This aids in determining the line’s direction, as well as the pitch and slope. Knowledge of these is crucial since it ensures correctness and, as a result, aids in the confirmation of the plumbing infrastructure’s subsurface map.
5. Know Your Surroundings
When it comes to successful locating, the job site environment is crucial. It’s important to note that finding a utility necessitates finding moving electrons on a conductor. The strength and accuracy of the field you must identify are determined by how effectively those electrons flow. In this sense, therefore, the presence and/or quality of far-end ground, as well as the conductor itself, all play a part. Pouring water around the ground stake, for example, can improve the circuit in locations with dry, sandy soil where it can be difficult to build a proper circuit. Using a larger grounding stake than the one included with most transmitters can also sometimes help enhance the circuit.
When carrying out your next locating session, implement these 5 recommendations to ensure a safe and successful repair. Remember, the time you put in up front will go a long way in improving your and your team’s safety, as well as the safety of the people around you. Don’t shy away from taking your sweet time, it will save you more time in the long run!