How To Detect An Underground Gas On Old Farm Land Pipe Before You Dig

Buying an old farm house to fix up and live in can be a challenging experience. If you are planning to dig up the yard to put in a new leach field or a geothermal system to help heat the house during the winter, you'll need to know if the previous owner ran private gas lines under the yard to supply gas to a structure on the property – even if that structure might not exist anymore. You need to know where the old gas lines might be before you excavate the backyard to avoid rupturing one and causing an explosion while you are digging. Here is how you can determine where underground gas lines are located underground.

You Will Need:

  • Pipe Locater
  • Spray Paint
  • Little Flags
  • Pipe Wrench

Utility Companies

You should call your local utility companies to come out and mark where their lines are located. However, this will not be a definitive solution, especially since farmers tend to do a lot of things on their own. If the previous owner ran a gas line from his house to another structure, the utility company may not know where the lines are and you'll have to find them yourself.

Rent a Pipe Locater

The easiest and most efficient way to locate unknown underground gas pipes is by using an automatic pipe locater. You can normally rent a pipe locater at most major hardware and contractor rental stores.

How to Use a Pipe Locater

Pipe locaters are typically hand-held devices that have a monitor screen. They work in a similar way that metal detectors do, except that the locators are more powerful than the average metal detector and can detect metal further down into the ground.

Turn on the locator and set it to find the utility pipe. Walk across the yard until the monitor alerts you to the presence of a utility pipe underground. The monitor should also tell you the approximate depth the pipe is located underground. Stick a flag in the ground at that spot, or shoot a blast a spray paint on the ground to mark the spot.

Move back and forth and side to side to determine which way the pipe is running underground. As you move in one direction, mark the location of the pipe every few feet until you get to the end of the line.

Walk across the entire area you intend to dig up to make sure there aren't any more pipes underground in the area.

Check Pipe

Locate where the pipe ends. Dig down to the end of the pipe and visually inspect it to see if it has a cap on the end. Take off the cap to see if there is still gas in the line. If there is no gas, this is a dead line and it's nothing to worry about.

However, if you find that the line is still active, you'll need to locate the point of origin for the line and disconnect the gas flow before you can safely dig up your yard.

For more information and assistance, talk with local excavation and prepping companies, such as Haas Construction.