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Locating your property markers is very important to avoid problems with neighbors. It is an imperative step before building a new home, installing a fence, a shed…
You can save money by locating them yourself using simple tools like a shovel and a metal detector.
The best metal detector to locate property pins is the bounty hunter 4. It is affordable and it does the job efficiently. In the following paragraphs, I’ll show you how you can use this device to locate your property markers in no time.
What is a property pin?
Property pins are metal pins placed at every corner of the property. They are shown in your propriety survey.
They are rebar 2 to 3 foot tall. They may be covered with a plastic colored cap with, sometimes, a number on it.
Over the years, they get buried under the ground. Since they are from steel, they can be found using a metal detector.
How can you find property markers?
Don’t waste your time swinging a metal detector all over the place and digging holes everywhere. You have to be strategic and look for the pins smartly.
Start by getting a copy of your survey plan. If you do not have one. Contact your local building department. They usually keep a copy.
You can also use the online tool created by your county assessor office. It is basically an interactive map that will show you your property lines.
Simply type your address or your parcel ID and you’ll find it. They are simple to use just like Google maps.
The survey plan will help you to know the approximate location of the property pin. Then use the metal detector to find it.
Once you have located the property pin using, it is digging time.
You do not have to dig a deep hole. Markers can be found usually 6 to 10 inches under the ground. You only need a simple digging tool.
And, by the way, don’t forget to call 811 before you dig. They will mark the utility lines for you so that you don’t damage them unintentionally.
It is a free service that is available all over the US. They will visit you a couple of days after your call.
You can know the approximate location of the markers using a measuring tape and a plat map. Locate the nearest maker to the road. It is usually 14.5 feet away from the curb. Then use the metal detector to pinpoint it.
Once you find the first pin, finding the rest will be easier. The dimensions of the property are displayed on the map along the lines.
Finding property markers is easy. You can do it yourself. If you couldn’t find them, you should call a professional licensed surveyor.
There are other two cases when calling a surveyor is mandatory. The first one is when you are asked to give an official document that describes your property.
The second one is when the marker damaged or removed. It could be hit by bulldozer or removed by a kid or bad neighbor. These things could happen.
The expert will find their exact locations and reinstall them. He will plant wooden stakes and wrap them with a tape so that they are clearly visible to you.
The duration and the cost of this task depend on many factors such as the size of the lot, its age, tree density, and the complexity of its shape. Regardless, the cheapest survey costs more than a simple metal detector.
For more details, you can take a look at this guide: How to locate your property lines – the ultimate guide.
Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker IV
The Bounty Hunter 4 is an affordable metal detector that can find property pins in no time.
It has an adjustable stem and it is lightweight.
The user’s interface is simplistic. You only have two nobs to adjust (sensitivity and discrimination) and a switch for mode selection.
You don’t have to care about ground balancing and tuning, which is great for a beginner. These settings are preset.
It can work easily in different types of environments. The coil is waterproof but be careful the control box is not. So do not use it under water.
Assembly is easy; you will find the user’s manual with it. It has a low battery indicator and a target strength indicator.
The latter isn’t really necessary. Audio signals are enough; you can use headphones or rely on the onboard speakers.
In this video, you will find out how easy it is to assemble this device and use it to locate a property marker.
Tips for starting
You may be tempted to use heavy-duty batteries. It’s better to use alkaline batteries instead. Avoid using Zinc-Carbon batteries.
Use it outdoors away from power lines. It is not to designed to be used indoors because home appliances emit an electromagnetic field that interferes with the coil.
You still can in some cases use inside the house but you need to turn the sensitivity to the lowest level. If the detector is still emitting a sound, turn the lights off.
Don’t test it by placing a coin for example in the ground, many types of floors contain metal. Keep the coil away from surfaces that contain metal and electric devices.
How to use a metal detector?
Turn on the Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker IV by using the sensitivity knob. Keep increasing the sensitivity to get more performance. But as you increase you may start hearing some noise. Reduce it until the noise disappears. In this article, you can find more details about sensitivity.
Don’t lean, stay upright in a comfortable position with your arm relaxed at your side. You can adjust the stem to fit you.
Make sure the search coil is parallel to the ground and distant about half an inch from it. Keep that height stays constant.
Swing the detector gently from side to side (not like a pendulum, but like an arc) and walk slowly so that you don’t miss anything.
This is a motion metal detector, which means that you need to swing it in order for it to work. Otherwise, it won’t detect anything.
When the Bounty Hunter 4 detects an object you will hear a beep (depending on the chosen mode). Stop walking and swing the metal detector over this spot while gradually reducing the amplitude of the swing from left to right.
Then swing back and forth. This will help you to pinpoint the metal object. Because the metal detector will emit a sound only when the center of the search coil passes directly above the metal object.
The items that you may usually find are: nails made of iron, coins, bottles cap, pull tab, jewellery…
To get used to the different beeps. Put the detector on a wooden table such that the coil is hanging on the edge. Swing different types of metal object and notice the tone. Do it many times so that you get used to different tones.
Discrimination allows you to ignore certain types of metal. You can choose between 3 modes by using the switch
*All metal (toggle switch to the middle)
All types of metal will be detected. The advantage of this mode is that the detector can find objects at a greater depth. But it will detect everything. This means that you will waste some time digging to find trash.
*Full discriminate (toggle switch to the left)
Unwanted items will be rejected. This means that the detector won’t emit any sound when detecting these objects as if they are not there. You can use the nob to the right to adjust the range of discrimination.
*3 tones mode (toggle switch to the right)
You will hear three different sounds; each beep indicates the presence of a type of metal. This way you will be able to know which type of metal is buried underground.
Tap on the toggle switch to the right and place the discrimination nob on the 12:00 clock position. You will hear a low tone if the device detects gold or nickel. A broken tone will be emitted when you detect pull-tabs.
You will hear a high tone when the detector finds copper, silver or brass. If the device detects the presence of iron, it will not emit any sound. Do not forget to bench test so that you get used to the different tones.
Locating property markers is important to avoid legal issues with neighbors. Doing that by yourself instead of hiring a professional surveyor can save you a lot of money.
Putting into a consideration that it is a simple task. You need nothing more than a survey plan, a digging tool, a measuring tape and a basic metal detector like the bounty hunter 4.
Before you go, don’t forget to check these tips that will help you locate your property lines.