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Hidden water pipe
Posted by: mikebw
Date: July 03, 2018 03:05PM
Suppose you had an outdoor water spigot on the side of a house but when you opened the valve no water came out.

Now suppose you looked everywhere you could in the basement for some kind of a shutoff, but could not see one, most likely due to the finished walls on that side of the basement.

There is however another spigot on the other side of the house that is functioning and has a shutoff inside that is accessible from the unfinished portion of the basement on that side.

How would you go about getting water back to that non-functioning spigot? First I would want to determine if it is even connected anymore.

Mention of a FLIR camera in another thread got me thinking about all this, but if there is no water in the pipe (or there is no pipe) then I assume nothing would show up. Seems like I would need something that could detect changes in density, like a studfinder but I have never used a studfinder that really did a good job at finding a 2x4, much less a 1/2" pipe buried even deeper.

My best idea so far is to try an electrical continuity test from the outside to a water pipe inside- if there is continuity then there is a metal pipe connected, but perhaps with a closed valve. The trick would then be to find that. But if there is no continuity I cannot be certain if there is a pipe or not as there are some sections of plastic water pipe in place elsewhere that I could not rule out being used for that spigot.

Any other ideas?


EDIT:

I just found this - Walabot. [www.amazon.com]

Supposed to give a visual of what's inside walls. Anyone here used this?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/03/2018 03:11PM by mikebw.
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Re: Hidden water pipe
Posted by: Ammo
Date: July 03, 2018 03:08PM
Run a snake through the dead faucet to see how far it goes? (I know, that doesn’t really tell you much)



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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/03/2018 03:10PM by Ammo.
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Re: Hidden water pipe
Posted by: Schpark
Date: July 03, 2018 03:10PM
My house has the same thing but the shutoff is near my water heater with a blue handle



"Without death, life would lose much of its meaning. My goal is to live in such a manner that I alter world in some fundamental way before I'm gone. As I get older and watch my son grow I realize I've already achieved my goal." - Ztirffritz
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Re: Hidden water pipe
Posted by: Carm
Date: July 03, 2018 03:10PM
Could there be a shutoff hidden underground somewhere? My sprinklers have a shutoff valve underground somewhere, we found it when we were removing bushes, but forgot to mark it. It’s lost again.
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Re: Hidden water pipe
Posted by: mikebw
Date: July 03, 2018 03:12PM
Quote
Carm
Could there be a shutoff hidden underground somewhere? My sprinklers have a shutoff valve underground somewhere, we found it when we were removing bushes, but forgot to mark it. It’s lost again.

Well, the pipe comes right out of the brick wall, so it would have had to go in somewhere else first.
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Re: Hidden water pipe
Posted by: MikeF
Date: July 03, 2018 03:20PM
Can you measure the exact spot on the outside to transfer to the inside and drill a small hole to look?

Otherwise:
[www.dewalt.com]

(You might be able to rent something similar; or buy it and become a dentist/doctor in your spare time)
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Re: Hidden water pipe
Posted by: billb
Date: July 03, 2018 03:23PM
sheetrock/drywall is fairly easy to patch
I would look (again) for a shutoff accessible in the utility room

one could assume if the same plumber installed both shutoffs they'd be in similar places respective to the outdoor faucet/sillcock.



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Re: Hidden water pipe
Posted by: Speedy
Date: July 03, 2018 03:28PM
See if you can borrow an endoscope when you next get a colonoscopy. Feed it through the pipe, measuring and noting direction at each bend until you reach the end.

Or just open all your valves.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/03/2018 03:29PM by Speedy.
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Re: Hidden water pipe
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: July 03, 2018 03:29PM
Quote
Speedy
See if you can borrow an endoscope when you next get a colonoscopy. Feed it through the pipe, measuring and noting direction at each bend until you reach the end.
Or just use a piece of wire. Heck, I've got a USB 'inspection camera' that will work.
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Re: Hidden water pipe
Posted by: Speedy
Date: July 03, 2018 03:37PM
Quote
cbelt3
Quote
Speedy
See if you can borrow an endoscope when you next get a colonoscopy. Feed it through the pipe, measuring and noting direction at each bend until you reach the end.
Or just use a piece of wire. Heck, I've got a USB 'inspection camera' that will work.

Wire would not give you direction although you might hear it as it snakes through your wall.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Hidden water pipe
Posted by: mikebw
Date: July 03, 2018 03:49PM
All valves are open that I can find.

I suppose running a snake in could at least tell me if a nearby valve is closed.
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Re: Hidden water pipe
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: July 03, 2018 03:56PM
tap on the pipe with a hammer (you can 'hire' the little guy to do this, he will enjoy it) and walk around in the basement listening for the source.
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Re: Hidden water pipe
Posted by: space-time
Date: July 03, 2018 05:10PM
speaking about hidden pipes: my friends bought a business (dental office) and the water bill was extremely high! after several months, during some renovations, they found out that one pipe was going to the next door business which (if I recall correctly) was a laundry cleaning business. Go figure. Since they corrected the problem the water bill dropped significantly.
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Re: Hidden water pipe
Posted by: 3d
Date: July 03, 2018 06:37PM
I have two outdoor faucets (hose bibs) on my house. One on the driveway side. And one in the backyard. They both have a shut-off valve and a bleed valve within one foot of where the pipe enters the house for easy winterizing. It might be a good place to start your search.
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Re: Hidden water pipe
Posted by: neophyte
Date: July 03, 2018 06:44PM
If the finished basement has a drop ceiling, poke your head up above a panel for a look-see.
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Re: Hidden water pipe
Posted by: Sarcany
Date: July 03, 2018 07:18PM
Quote
cbelt3
tap on the pipe with a hammer (you can 'hire' the little guy to do this, he will enjoy it) and walk around in the basement listening for the source.

agree smiley

Yep. At least to start with.



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Re: Hidden water pipe
Posted by: testcase
Date: July 03, 2018 10:28PM
Connect an airline to the faucet in question. Start pumping in air. If the compressor doesn't shut off, the air has to be escaping somewhere. Start listening for escaping air. If the compressor shuts off relatively quickly, you'll know you're dealing with a closed system/loop. Shut the water main off; then depressurize the system by opening a faucet. Close said faucet and, while the line is pressurized, start opening valves until you get some spurting. Eventually, you should be able to identify what supplies the faucet in question.
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Re: Hidden water pipe
Posted by: Carm
Date: July 04, 2018 02:19AM
Can you remove the hose bib? Or it is flush against the brick wall? By removing the hose bib you can eliminate the valve or blockage right behind the valve as a possible source of your problem. FWIW- There are no additional shutoff valves before each of my hose bibs. It’s just one main water shutoff. Concrete slab foundation in SoCal. But I know different areas have different plumbing for winterizing and plumbing codes.
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Re: Hidden water pipe
Posted by: space-time
Date: July 04, 2018 08:09AM
Connect an airline to the faucet in question. Start pumping in air. If the compressor doesn't shut off, the air has to be escaping somewhere. Start listening for escaping air. If the compressor shuts off relatively quickly, you'll know you're dealing with a closed system/loop.

This is a very good idea. Not only that, but based on how long it takes for the compressor to shut off, you can guesstimate how long the pipe goes.

Suppose you had an outdoor water spigot on the side of a house but when you opened the valve no water came out.

My guess: the valve is stuck, even though you seem to open the valve, the valve is actually not moving. is that even possible?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/04/2018 08:10AM by space-time.
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Re: Hidden water pipe
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: July 04, 2018 03:03PM
Since they corrected the problem the water bill dropped significantly.

I wonder how this affected the laundry/cleaners, and if the owner of that business owned the dental office.

My grandfather worked for PG&E years ago. He ran a cable from before the meter, under the house, presumably to the fuse box. It paralleled the run from the meter so there was always a bill, but it was small.

It would have been nice if your friend could have or did have the correction done surreptitiously, with no mention to the cleaners. They could wonder why the sudden increase. (Yes, that says too much about me.)




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Re: Hidden water pipe
Posted by: mikebw
Date: July 17, 2019 11:36AM
Not sure if I ever posted an update, and probably nobody will see this but here goes-

I found the location of the hidden shut off valve and the water now flows to the outdoor spigot! This involved cutting a few small holes in the drywall inside the house approximately where I thought the pipe would be, and then poking around with a coat hanger until I could hear metal on metal. Once I had that I did a continuity test between that and the cold line pipe on the other side of the house, just to make sure they were connected. Turns out there is a lot of continuity going on as the hot water pipes and the steel I beam all completed the circuit. RollingEyesSmiley5

Anyway, I decided that was good enough to prove the pipe was connected, but I still had to find the closed valve. I went back to the small holes and used my coat hanger wire to "feel" along the pipe until it hit a protrusion, which I assumed to be the valve and upon cutting a larger hole at that location I could see that it was.

I opened the inside valve and went outside to see that spigot with a slow drip. I assume a previous owner decided to just put up the new wall and not fix the outside spigot, since that would cost more time/money? I mean yeah I guess so, but come on! At least put a note or something.
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