How safe is it to drill into concrete walls? If you are performing concrete drilling, it is easy to forget that it may not be safe to drill a hole without knowing what may be hiding behind the wall. Before you even decide where to drill it is important to find out where not to drill. For example, do you know if there are any electrical wires, gas pipes, or plumbing lines running through the inside of the wall where you plan to drill?
Drilling into one of these service lines can have dire consequences that could be dangerous and costly to repair. Do you know which areas are most important to avoid and that electrical wires usually run horizontally above a receptacle? You must also know how deep to drill into the wall to avoid hitting standard cables.
In this article, we give you some indications on where it is safe to drill into concrete walls and which areas to avoid.
Is it Safe to Drill Through a Concrete Wall?
If you are sure that it is just concrete with no service lines running through there is no problem. If not, drilling holes into a concrete wall can be a total stab in the dark unless you have as much information as possible to avoid accidentally drilling into electric wiring, plumbing, or gas lines. Holding your breath and hoping for the best is not a good approach so before you pick up a drill, here are some important guidelines to follow:
1). Check your Building Plans
Check the architectural drawings of your home to determine where the area you are planning to drill into appears on the plan. This will reveal the areas where essential service lines are located that should not be drilled into. Any drilling around areas such as light switches, plug sockets, light fittings, and electrical items should be approached with caution.
2). Avoid Pipes
Check if there are any wires where you plan to do the drilling. Using a plumbing inspection camera is the best way to ensure that the area is free of pipes and safe to drill into. Copper pipes are very solid and the chances of penetrating them are unlikely. The key is to slowly drill very shallow holes to start with and stop regularly to check for any signs that you may be hitting a pipe.
3). Check for Wiring
The most accurate and safest way to check for hidden wires is using a Cable Avoidance tool.
Another way to determine where the wires may be running behind the wall is to follow the line where they logically run horizontally from nearby sockets. This way you can estimate where they may be located. Although you can’t be 100% certain it will dramatically reduce the risk of drilling into wires. Most electrical wires run horizontally about two feet off the floor or close to the ceiling. One of the reasons for this is to limit the areas of concern when drilling.
Other areas to avoid most are where wires usually run horizontally 6 – 12 inches above a receptacle.
4). Using a Stud Finder and Voltage Sensor
Bear in mind that although wires typically run close to the floor or ceiling there are also cables that run up studs that are not always stapled to the studs themselves. That is why it is recommended to use a stud finder with a voltage sensor to be absolutely certain where cables are running.
5). Avoid Drilling Too Deep
Most standard cables run at least one inch deep into the concrete wall so be careful not to drill too deeply in suspect areas.
Although you can generally tell where service lines may be located, you never know exactly what is in the walls without actually taking a look inside with the help of some type of technology.
If you are not confident about drilling into unknown territory and need professional help, get in touch with Vic Sawing & Drilling specialists.
Our licensed concrete cutting experts are highly qualified in providing safe and efficient concrete drilling, sawing, and cutting services throughout Victoria. We have the right equipment and tools to tackle any project and work according to the OH & S Codes of Practice and Safety Standards.