Home Improvement

The Path of Pipes: How to Use a Sonde Transmitter

The first metal detector was created to try to save the life of President James A. Garfield in 1881. Metal detectors are great tools to find ferrous or magnetic piping but have no ability to find non-metallic piping. They work by creating an energized field that magnetic or conductive materials will interact with.

Since plastic piping doesn’t interact with electromagnetic fields, plumbing and other professionals must use a different tool. That tool is called a sonde transmitter and is extremely useful in finding depth, as well as the path of pipes.

Want to know how it works and how it can help your plumber find his way through your pipes? Keep reading to find out!

How A Sonde Transmitter Works

A sonde transmitter will help with pinpoint drilling and other digging work by sending a “ping” on a radio frequency. This is similar to a “ping” that a submarine will send to get distance readings using sound under the ocean. The big difference is that a sonde doesn’t use sound and instead uses radio waves.

A sonde is attached to duct rodders, fish tapes, camera assemblies, plumber’s snakes or other insertion devices. Most have a flexible spring on after the sonde, or multiple sondes. This helps it turn corners and navigate more smoothly.

Whatever insertion device is used, a sonde device can help plumbers and diggers to mark off non-ferrous or non-conductive piping on the surface as they go. They can even indicate depth if it’s a properly calibrated sonde.

When Do You Use Sonde Transmitters?

A sonde transmitter is used for situations you’ll be doing repairs on your pipe and need to know the layout. Before you start digging trenches randomly with your DitchWitch or other trench diggers, you need to know where the pipes are and how deep.

Getting to know the route taken to a septic tank may help trench diggers make a better route to the septic system. It could also help landscapers avoid fiber optic and sewer lines when making trenches or adding new trees to your property.

Any time you want to dig in your yard but don’t know the history of the piping or the location of anything else, it’s very important to know what’s under the surface first.

Almost all current water pipes are PVC, and it isn’t easy to find. In addition to sonde transmitters and receivers, they may use a combination of ground-penetrating radar and other methods.

Pathing Your Pipes

Using a sonde transmitter, ground-penetrating radar (GPR), or other methods of detecting pipes can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in repairs. Especially when pipes are non-metallic or non-ferrous.

Want to know more ways to save money and your yard? For more home improvement, landscaping, or technology news and advice, keep browsing!

About author


Hi, this is Hugh Hook. I’m here to share my insights on a wide variety of home improvement topics. I hope that my site becomes a platform for your inspiration on green living and DIY projects.
Hugh Hook
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