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How to Trace and Locate Buried Electrical Wires/Conduits in Yard

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How to Trace and Locate Buried Electrical Wires/Conduits in Yard

Undoubtedly, buried electrical wires or conduits permit you to hide the unsightly wires conveniently, thus, bringing power and enhanced aesthetics to your property. However, the sole problem with such buried electrical wires or conduits is that one must locate them before you plan to dig out your yard. This way, you will be able to prevent damaging the electrical wires or conduits and prevent them from harming you.

So, if you are struggling to trace and locate buried electrical wires or conduits in your yard, stress no more. We have curated the step-by-step guide to allow you to dig up your yard either for buried electrical utility lines or the ordinary property’s electrical wiring without causing any damage to the property, self, or the underground utilities.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Locating Underground Utilities in Your Yard


Seeking Support of Common Ground Alliance Services Representatives

  1. The simplest thing you can do is to call the common ground alliance services designated for locating underground utilities in your area and ensuring that no damage is done to the underground electrical wires or conduits during the construction projects.
  1. All you need is to call the operator and tell them your name, address, the intention of digging, the desire to get the utility lines marked, and the time when you plan to dig up your yard. Based on all the credentials provided, a company representative will visit you to mark the power lines buried in your yard at no charge.
  1. The next step is to enquire about the depth of the marked lines for the different underground utilities. It would help if you wrote it all down somewhere. Also, remember that the depth of buried underground electrical wires or conduits varies greatly in areas.
  1. Afterward, you need to sketch on graph paper your property. You must continue measuring the outdoor areas around your property and mark them all on graph paper. You must include trees, flowerbeds, driveway, house, streets, etc., and mark them on graph paper. Try to incorporate the color-coded lines and draw everything on the graph paper.
  1. The last step is the application of the following colored markers on your sketched graph paper. It includes:
  • Red color for buried electrical lines.
  • Orange color signifies buried cable television lines.
  • The blue color signifies buried water lines.
  • Green color for the sewage lines.
  • The yellow color shows the underground gas lines.

In addition, you must write down the depth of the different underground utilities on the same graph paper for future references.

Locating Underground Utilities Using a Metal Detector

This is another simple and effective method that you can perform yourself to locate the underground utilities. A metal detector is a tailor-made device that can efficiently trace and locate buried electrical wires and conduits in your yard.

It sends signals that penetrate the plastic conduit and easily detect the internal metallic wires. Its operation becomes much simpler when the conduit is made of metal only.

The steps involved in utilizing this high-quality and tailor-made underground wire tracker are as follows:

  1. Begin with roughly estimating the location of the wires and conduits in your yard.
  1. Turn the metal detector on. Keep the discrimination settings at the lowest. While maintaining stability, keep the detector’s sensitivity at the highest level.

However, when the wires carry current, you must keep the sensitivity at the lowest to give enough time for the detector to stabilize.

  1. Ignore small and choppy signals and keep swinging the detector loop on the estimated area until the underground utilities are detected. Once you locate the buried wires or conduits, the detector makes strong and repeated sounds. Now, you must keep swinging the coil while moving ahead to trace the path of the buried wires.
  1. Now, starting from the estimated area of origination of buried wires to the following path with strong and repeated sounds from the detector, you need to mark the entire path with spray paint. This way, you will get the continuous path line of the buried utilities.


Whether you seek help from a professional or purchase an underground wire tracker to do it yourself, spotting the buried utilities is of utmost importance. So, you must ensure to locate the buried utilities in your yard before starting the digging project.

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