What Kinds of Cables and Pipes Might be Under my Yard?

Above ground, it’s easy to see obstacles like utility poles and cables that may cross over your property. But what sorts of mysteries are hidden beneath the surface, just waiting to cause you endless problems if you are planning on doing any digging or excavating on your property?

Getting a good ground penetrating radar service is the best way to investigate what is underground before you begin. If you aren’t sure that something like this is necessary, here are a few examples of the many things that could be underground on your property.


If you find pipes under the surface, they are likely going to be either water or gas. Damage to either one can result in a huge disaster, with the gas being the bigger hazard of the two. Thankfully, pipes are far more sturdy than cable and won’t be harmed by a glancing knock with a shovel. On the other hand, if you have a small backhoe doing work to dig for a swimming pool, they can easily break a pipe and create a leak.

Even if you are not planning on any digging, knowing about any underground gas pipes is a good idea to be on the safe side. Older pipes can be dangerous, and it can be wise to know your surroundings if gas lines cross near your home.

Not all water pipes are the utility kind either. A previous owner may have had a sprinkler or irrigation system in place that got forgotten over time.


Here is where things can be complicated and harder to sort out for the homeowner. In today’s wired world, there are many different kinds of wires and cables that are living underground. Trying to identify what they are is no easy task.

You might find cables for:

  • Electricity
  • Telephone
  • Cable television
  • Internet service

Unlike pipes, cables are more delicate and can be cut even with a sharp hand shovel. Thankfully, no dangerous leaks are going to occur when a cable is damaged. Of course, electrical lines are hazardous in their own way, and your neighbors may not be happy if you cut the telephone service for the whole block due to a broken line.

One important note, you should never assume that any certain kinds of pipes or cables couldn’t be on your property simply because you don’t have that particular utility or service. Fiber optic Internet cables may cross your property whether you use them or not.  Even if you don’t have cable TV currently, the previous owner may have and the lines are probably still underground out there even if you can’t see signs of them inside the house. Who knows what electrical lines may have been put out to bring service to a garage, shed, pool or lighting feature?

Now that you see all the different possible hazards of cables and pipes in your backyard, you must always remember to call local utilities before you do any digging. As mentioned, not all pipes are cables are utility-related so a radar sweep will give you the complete picture if you are concerned.


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