What to Expect with Home Underground Utility Locating

July 21, 2017

Our analyst performing underground utility locating services

When you started your home project, you didn’t imagine that you would need our private underground utility locating services. To ensure that you don’t hit any utility lines, it is important to scan the area first. Damaging utility lines can result in loss of that particular utility. It can also cause injuries for you or the workers hired to do the cutting, trenching, or digging.

Homeowners need private utility locating where 811’s utility locating services don’t apply.

For home owners, utility locating can be a first and only experience. This means that it can be hard to know exactly how to proceed. The first step would be to contact 811‘s Call Before You Dig service, the nationwide public utility locating service. They can locate all public utility lines, from the street to the meter only. If they can’t locate what you need, that’s when we, a private utility locator, come in.

Other reasons for needing private utility location include:

  • Already hit a utility. 811 is a public utility locator. They can locate all utilities from the street to the meter. Any utilities in your private property would need to be located by a private utility locator.
  • Previous scan attempt was unsuccessful. This scenario goes hand in hand with the reason previously mentioned. Sometimes our clients do scan. However, the company they selected didn’t provide accurate markings and the client struck a utility as a result. Our analysts complete extensive utility locating training. They are trained to properly mark your site, provide written reports, and to provide you with the best service.
  • Home improvements. It is always important to locate all utilities before doing any projects that require digging or excavating. This includes, but is not limited to: landscaping, fencing, pool installation, installing a mailbox, deck installation, among others.
  • Water leaks. A lot of our clients suspect that they are dealing with a water leak. While we can’t locate the water leak itself, we can help you locate the water line and look for signals of wet soil that may indicate the location of the leak.

What should you expect when you call a private utility location service?

When you call Penhall Technologies or request to quote, it is best to be prepared with essential information regarding the project. This will allow us to provide the best service and accurate pricing. It is important to know the measurements of the area, the type of surface (dirt, asphalt, concrete), and the location (indoors or outdoors). If possible, provide the utilities we may be looking for (water, gas, electrical, sewer) and how many utilities may be running through the area. We will also ask how many locations you need scanned, and what is the private line locating in preparation for.

Example of utility markings at a home

Once the analyst arrives at your home, they will be up to date with the needs and specifications of your project. They will bring two types of equipment to offer you the most accurate reading. A benefit of choosing Penhall Technologies as your private utility locator is that we carry various types of equipment. This is in case one method is not enough to find underground lines. In rare cases, the reading can be inconclusive and show highly congested results.

After the analyst completes the scan, he/she will mark the approximate utility locations with varying colors of spray paint, flags, or both to highlight that location.

Equipment screen showing utility locating data

Before the analyst marks the utilities, the display screen of the equipment won’t mean much to the common eye. Our expert analysts will be able to identify lines and to differentiate between them based on the data and on physical cues, such as a meter. Now with the analyst’s markings and field report, you can make an informed decision of where to cut, trench, or dig. By deciding to scan first, you will safeguard that your home project is completed safely.


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