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How to Drill into Concrete without Hitting Rebar or Conduit

Core drilling into concrete is the process of drilling concrete using a specific tool to remove a cylinder of the material. Similarly, anchoring (fastening) to concrete involves drilling into the concrete with specific tools. These processes both run the risk of hitting a live electrical line – not only is this extremely dangerous, it can also be expensive. Shorting out a 110-volt conduit to a plug 100 feet away could cost ten times the meters cost to repair. It can mean work delays, emergency repairs of equipment and possible loss of production – none of which are conducive to keeping a project on time and on budget.

At Win-Sam, we are cognizant of such issues and strive to be proactive and stay abreast of technologies that help us run central energy plants more effectively. One tool that we have had success with is the Milwaukee SUB-SCANNER™ M12™ Lithium-Ion Detection Tool. The tool detects rebar conduit up to 6 inches deep in concrete, can differentiate between steel and copper or aluminum metals (ferrous and non-ferrous), and can detect the location of wood and metal studs. As we’ve seen, the tool greatly reduces the risk of drilling into rebar or conduit when core drilling or anchoring into concrete, and it is available at your local supply house for approximately $220.

When drilling anchor holes, it is typical to hit rebar (reinforcing bar) or conduit (channel of electrical wires) in one of four or five small anchor holes. If you do hit the rebar when core drilling or installing anchors, a few issues arise. Firstly, you compromise the structural integrity of the concrete. Secondly, you run the risk of ruining drill bits and ultimately having to replace them. The drill bit expense alone can nearly cost as much as your tool in some cases. Using a sub-scanner tool to detect rebar or conduit can help you avoid these issues and save you money in the long run.

For larger projects, other options are available, like X-ray. Although expensive, it is still needed for large core drilling to design the placement of a core drill to avoid as many rebars in the concrete as possible. But for smaller projects, the Milwaukee SUB-SCANNER™ M12™ is a wise investment and will pay for itself many times over. When drilling into concrete, you always want to uphold best practices to preserve the structural integrity of the concrete and avoid costly issues that can arise from hitting rebar or conduits.

We have a unique services solution that adds true value to our customers. This results in long-term relationships built on true, measurable outcomes.”

Rodger Commers, Current Plant Manager, Win-Sam Employee since 1975

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