Much as water leaks are a common phenomenon in most homes, finding and locating them is never an easy task. This is where leak detection comes in – even finding leaks in one of London’s large parks!
Leak detection helps homeowners detect and pinpoint all water leaks regardless of their size, or how hidden they are. How accurate is leak detection, is the technology used that reliable? The answer is yes!
Here atADI Leak Detection, we make use of the latest technology to detect both internal and external leaks. We can comfortably say that our leak detection methodologies have an accuracy rate of over 90%.
Some of the most common non invasive leak detection methods we use include;
Thermal Imaging Cameras
The difference in the hotness or coolness of most objects around us is so small that we cannot sense it through touch. This is where the working principle of thermal imaging cameras comes to our rescue. All objects emit a form of heat energy known as infrared radiation.
The amount of heat energy produced by an object depends on how hot it is. The minute differences in the amounts of infrared radiation emitted by different objects are detectable using an infrared camera. Thus by making use of the difference in the levels of infrared radiation produced by various objects, it thus becomes possible to identify even hidden objects.
To detect the minute amounts of infrared radiation emitted by pipes within walls and underneath floors, a certified ADI technician holds an infrared camera close to the surface.
This specialized camera is able to produce an image of what lies beneath the surface based on the amount of infrared radiation it can detect. This image is known as a thermogram. Regions around leaks tend to emit lower levels infrared energy and are thus immediately visible on a thermogram.
In handheld versions of the camera used by our technicians, the thermogram is displayed on a screen on the opposite end of the device.
Acoustic Listening Devices
The working principle of this leak detection method is the most straight-forward of the four methods used by ADI. Acoustics refers to sound and the way sound behaves when it passes through different substances and when it encounters various surfaces.
Acoustic listening devices are able to detect the subtle differences in the sounds produced by flowing water within pipes. These minute sound differences are picked up, amplified and relayed to a headset. An acoustic listening device is thus composed of a highly sensitive microphone, an amplifier unit, and a headset.
While looking for leaks within walls and floors in your home, an ADI technician holds the microphone end of the acoustic device close to the surface of the wall.
The technician is able to accurately pinpoint the location of a leak by picking up the sounds produced at the break where water is escaping from the pipe.
For those of you who might be wondering, a tracer gas is simply a gas that is not poisonous, colorless, odorless and unreactive. This gas can either be carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, helium, sulphur hexafluoride or any other gas whose presence is detectable by use of a specialized gas detector.
To detect a leak in your home, the system in question is first emptied of its contents. An ADI certified technician then introduces a mixture of two gases, hydrogen and nitrogen into the piping infrastructure at a safe pressure of 2 atmospheres. At the point where there is a leak in the piping, the tracer gas leaks out and is thus easily detected using a handheld gas detector. It is worth mentioning that this method is not as efficient in leak detection as the previous two methods. This method is over 99.5% accurate in leak detection.
Working principle and application
This leak detection method is used on a much larger scale than the above three methods. It is thus used in leak detection in large farms or industrial complexes with vast underground piping infrastructure. The system is composed of multiple electromagnetic sensors that are placed at fixed intervals along a pipeline. These sensors are able to pick up electronic pulses sent from various points along the pipeline.
By comparing the delays times between the sending and the reception of the electronic signals, a leak at any point in the pipeline can be located. Due to its large application, this method is not as efficient as the previous three methods discussed above.