We believe that our copper water line is embedded in the concrete (and rebar) basement floor. We would like to excavate a hole to install a sump pump. We don't want to hit the copper line which we think is in the vicinity.

Is there any way to detect that copper line?

We've tried finding his line already with with 2 different metal detectors.

  • 1
    Is it the water main or an internal pipe you're worried about? You can get the utility companies to mark the main up to the point it enters your home. – BMitch Jun 5 '11 at 18:37
  • What types of metal detectors are you using? – BMitch Jun 5 '11 at 18:49

This a is a very interesting question. I must assume, hopefully not wrongly, you are talking about a main supply line from the street. I can see no reason for an in house line to be embedded in the floor unless it feeds an out building or the like. In any case, an in-house line could be tracked back to some point of source and rerouted if necessary. As for a street supply line, Mitch is correct in that the utility or a good metal detector can follow the line to the point where is enters the foundation. Usually it would follow a fairly straight path to the meter/main shut off from that point. That would give you a good guess where the line is routed. It will be very difficult to detect this line in concrete with rebar. The rebar will show on the detector and mask the copper. If you can find the point of entry, and follow it to the meter, use a placement for your sump pit far from this assumed line. As a precaution, I would be tempted to have the main water supply shut off while the sump pit is opened up. If you do hit the line, you won't have water gushing in at 70PSI. If you're unlucky enough to find the line and damage it, then you can at least carefully work around it, clean up the line on either side of the damage and repair it in the sump hole.

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  • 1
    A neighbor of mine had theirs running from the garage, with the water heater, through their foundation to several interior rooms. I never understood why they didn't go through the ceiling, especially considering how much it cost them to find a hot water leak. But since then I don't assume much. – BMitch Jun 6 '11 at 10:49
  • Maybe Nancy can give more details. – shirlock homes Jun 6 '11 at 19:46
  • Hopefully, but until then, +1 for the great answer. – BMitch Jun 6 '11 at 20:00
  • Sorry folks, I neglected to say that we are on the farm and that a poly line runs underground from a well/ pressure system across the yard to the house where it hooks up to copper which is probably under the cement. It's obvious where the pipe come up out of the cement, but no way to tell where the copper and poly meet. – Nancy Maurer Jun 7 '11 at 4:17

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