Under slab cast iron and copper pipe detection

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PP_

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Hi All,
For a 1969 home (Nashville, TN), I have Cast Iron sewer line that has occassional issues
clogging up. I am in the planning stage of what could be done to replace my CI. In order to
get an idea of how the drain pipes are laid out, what "Pipe detectors" can I use in order to
trace the sewer pipe under slab. My water lines (copper) are also under slab. My local HD/
Lowes don't have pipe detectors in their rental section.

Thank you!
 

Tuttles Revenge

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There are 2 ways that we do it.

One method and most common, would be a camera / radio beacon that gets sent down. Then from above a receiver is used to interpret the radio wave pattern to pinpoint location and depth.

The other method I've used is a ground penetrating sonar machine. The tech interprets a bunch of squiggly lines on a screen to determine location and depth.
 

PP_

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There are 2 ways that we do it.

One method and most common, would be a camera / radio beacon that gets sent down. Then from above a receiver is used to interpret the radio wave pattern to pinpoint location and depth.

The other method I've used is a ground penetrating sonar machine. The tech interprets a bunch of squiggly lines on a screen to determine location and depth.
Thank you! Could you comment on the price range for a camera /radio beacon and receiver? Any recommendation for a budget friendly unit? Thanks
 

John Gayewski

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Thank you! Could you comment on the price range for a camera /radio beacon and receiver? Any recommendation for a budget friendly unit? Thanks
Usually you would hire a local sewer cleaning company or ask around to plumbers in the area and see who they use.

I haven't looked, but normally these systems are pretty expensive for a one time use. Much better to pay someone to lay out your system.

Your likley not going to find someone who can do it with the copper lines.
 

Tuttles Revenge

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Inspection camera systems range from $3-10k.

This is a hire an expert kinda job. Which in our area ranges from $175 to $500 or more depending on the level of service you're asking for and locating and recording. Always get a recording with some form of time stamp that proves they are showing your sewer and not some nightmare sewer video to get a repipe job from.
 
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PP_

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Usually you would hire a local sewer cleaning company or ask around to plumbers in the area and see who they use.

I haven't looked, but normally these systems are pretty expensive for a one time use. Much better to pay someone to lay out your system.

Your likley not going to find someone who can do it with the copper lines.
Thank you, John! Are there any options to find copper lines under concrete?
 

Jeff H Young

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Sometimes an old school approach is to look at the job and decide what is the best way to do a total repipe and the hell with how it was originally plumbed. unless you want to leave the 60 year old stuff alone and just do some minor work one project at a time. Not saying locating services arent very useful it depends on the scope of work the can be well worthg it or not
 
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Tuttles Revenge

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There are location devices for them but they are not popular here. You'd have to call around to find out
Is that the same as the locators that they use to find the tracer wire that is buried along plastic lines? They put an electric charge to the wire and use a radio (or something, I've never seen it done) reciever to trace that output?

I was going to try to hire someone to do that in a building when we lost a cable down a drain on the 13th floor.. They couldn't guarantee it would work because there would be too much interference. Might be the same interference under a slabs rebar or mesh. But might work too.. dunno.
 
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John Gayewski

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Is that the same as the locators that they use to find the tracer wire that is buried along plastic lines? They put an electric charge to the wire and use a radio (or something, I've never seen it done) reciever to trace that output?

I was going to try to hire someone to do that in a building when we lost a cable down a drain on the 13th floor.. They couldn't guarantee it would work because there would be too much interference. Might be the same interference under a slabs rebar or mesh. But might work too.. dunno.
No. I worked with a well service guy once and he had been looking at a sound locator made for water pipes. Also mainly for outdoor underground water lines. We couldn't locate a water service and he was gonna go ahead and pull the trigger on a system he was looking to buy. I'm not sure how it works if there's a 90° fitting in the system. I didn't end up going back to that job, someone else did.
 
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