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Thread: Mapping heating system

  1. #1

    Default Mapping heating system

    I rehab houses in some marginal neighborhoods. Recently, some copper was stolen from a multi-family house...basically the connections to side-by-sidef furnaces. I have to determine from what little copper there is remaining in the basement, which pipes go to which furnaces and which apartments. Here's something I am considering and invite comment. You know, something like "good idea" or "you're nuts!"

    I'm thinking of putting an electrical charge into the stubs of copper sticking out of the basement ceiling and seeing if I can pick up the current with a voltmeter in the matching apartment.

    What do you think?

  2. #2
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    200 miles south of Little Rock


    What about air and water?

    Putting air to a line would first help identify its return, then either hot or cold water could be felt on the other end.

  3. #3
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    San Diego


    I think they have a room waiting for you here: http://www.dmh.cahwnet.gov/Services_...on/default.asp

  4. #4
    Jack of all trades frenchie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Brooklyn, NY and Fire Island, NY


    Jokes aside - if you used a battery, ran just 2 or 3 volts? It'd show up on a tester. Have to ground the other lead, but that's not hard, just wrap a wire around a supply pipe in the apartment, walk around with it as you check the rads...

    The only real problem I can think of, is if those pipes are touching others, somewhere in a wall, you'll get false positives.

    Pretty clever, actually.

    If you didn't mean with a battery, and were thinking of using a receptacle, or something... then yeah, you need to go commit yourself.
    Master Plumber Mark:

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    Just so everyone's clear: I'm the POODLE in the picture ("french", get it?) The hot woman is my wife.

  5. #5

    Default Pioneers are often misunderstood...

    My wife and kids think I'm nuts, too. Frenchie, I would be using low voltage so there would be no risk.

    This idea, incidentally, comes from the electrician's trade. The idea is to run low voltage current through electical lines in order to map the system. It requires a very sensitive voltmeter and can save enormous amount of time trying to plot out a replacement and repair strategy for derelict houses. Using it with exposed pipe should even be easier.

    Thanks to all...

  6. #6
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    Default tracing

    Unless your time is very cheap, I would contact a professional pipe locatorl. They have the equipment and expertise to do the tracing much faster than any makeshift procedure.


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