Water Tracking

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by reb12, May 9, 2007.

  1. reb12

    reb12 LawnSite Member
    Male, from Florida
    Posts: 93

    I have to find some hydraulic valves, probably under 12" of crushed rock. No wires run to these so I can't use my progressive. Anyone know what plumbers charge to track running water in pipes? I have to find 3 valves. Can you rent this equipment? Thanks, Rick
     
  2. Remote Pigtails

    Remote Pigtails LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 581

    Wow, I feel for you. I didn't know plumbers could track running water in pipes. Why do you need to find these valves? I assume this is a TORO system.
     
  3. reb12

    reb12 LawnSite Member
    Male, from Florida
    Posts: 93

    It's an old hydraulic valve system. Quite old. One of the diaphrams is acting up and I have to find the underground valve, without the aid of any wires running to it. The ground it totally rooted and there is a lot of crushed rock. No way would I trench and add new electric valves. Easier to find and repair the existing ones, I believe. I suppose I could snake a wire into one of the zone pipes and see where that leads me with my wire tracker. This could be a costly job @ $50./hr.
     
  4. Remote Pigtails

    Remote Pigtails LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 581

    Unless somebody has a technique I know nothing about digging the tube up and/or digging up tees to guess the direction I don't know of another way. I will tell you this but I took it with a grain of salt. We have a long time service guy in town who claims to be a water witch expert. Anyway he says that he puts a nail in the tube (tube has water in it) hooks up his 521 to that and has tracked it. Claims the water acts like copper wire. I've never tried it. I do have respect for this guy and he runs a good business.
     
  5. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799


    Perhaps if he added a good dose of sodium to it first.

    I've seen a water witcher find a pipe perfectly.

    However, I doubt they could pick out where a valve is.
     
  6. Dennis Spencer

    Dennis Spencer LawnSite Member
    Posts: 108

    Reb check this out locator for underground plastic pipe . At Radiodetection.com Under Products , RD500
     
  7. pclawncare

    pclawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 991

    There is a guy here in town that can water witch any main line that has water in it i have seen it with my own eyes i thought he was full of **** when he told me he could do it and he is a nice guy and kind of has mentored me in some things. It is crazy i have seen him do it 4 or 5 times dig stright down and there is the line.
     
  8. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,781

    Its just to bad there is no way to snake a wire down the control tubing :( Hydraulic systems are a royal pain. And if your a good enough tech to work on them, they find you. Doesn't matter how much you detest the work, they find you and will pay you because the other options get much much more expensive. Don't sweat the hourly except to "heads up" your customer. A plumbers snake down the pipe and then connected to the locator will save you some digging. Unfortunately, pot holing is the only answer to hydraulic systems. I've never had the misfortune of having to look for one installed by someone who didn't do a good job. Mains and laterals are usually fairly straight. If the site is the same for structures/features as when it went in, look for the valves to be on a line that can be duplicated. i.e. along the same line as the foundation, or a patio, etc. Most of these guys made maps and the refrence points can be duplicated. Even if you don't have a map, imagine installing the system with the idea you were going to MAKE a map when you were done, AND you wanted to be able to find that valve in 10-15 years. the instructions on the map would read something like.........parallel with north foundation 3' off set, 20' from nw corner. I know this only provides a vague (very vague) point if you don't KNOW the refrence points, but it might help. Good Luck. and may you not cut any tubes you don't want to as you pot hole :)
     
  9. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    I can witch using two bent flag rods. I can't find water but it works on the principle of "voids" for me. The rods cross when there is a void and I can follow lines within about 12". They open up when you hit a bisecting void like a tee or valve box. Problem is when there are a ton of different lines in an area as it gets very confusing. I'll use dots to indicate what I've found and then try and assemble it into the most logical pipe routing made years before.
     
  10. pclawncare

    pclawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 991

    Thats what he uses is two bend flag rods with the flags taken off. He finds water in any line. Main to the house or main for a system he says anything thats full of water he can find and i believe it.
     

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