Tracer-Gas Leak Testing For Leak Detection

What is Tracer Gas Leak Testing?

Tracer Gas Leak Testing is a nondestructive method for detecting Gas leaks and water leaks in pipelines and plumbing system. The process works using a Hydrogen sensor test to detect gas escaping from the pipeline.

The concept has been adapted by water leak detection companies.

Here at ADI Leak Detection we drain the water pipes that are suspected to be leaking, then fill the pipelines with 5% Hydrogen / 95% Nitrogen. We use a highly sensitive hydrogen sensor probes to detect when the gases are rising to the surface.

Tracer Gas Leak Testing In progress
Tracer Gas leak testing Equipment

What are Tracer Gases?

Tracer gases are a specialist, perfectly safe mixture of different gas types that our leak detection technicians use to locate hidden leaks in central heating, cold and hot water pipes, underfloor heating pipes, water mains pipeline leaks and even for roof leak detection.

Tracer gases are composed of 5% Hydrogen and 95% Nitrogen. The gas is pumped into the pipework, where the leak is suspected to be.

The gas, with its molecules lighter than oxygen, will escape via the leak and will rise to the surfaces and then can be identified using a Hydrogen sensor unit. The mixture is non-flammable and safe to use. 

Benefits of Tracer Gas Leak Detection

Tracer Gas Leak Detection is one of the most popular methods used within the leak detection industry for a number of reasons.

The main reason being that it is able to identify the source of a leak in a non-invasive way, which means that the homeowner does not have to vacate their property for too long, and additionally, there is minimum disruption and cost to the fabric of the property when using this method.

The other key benefit is that it is one of the most accurate and efficient leak detection methods for plumbing leaks.

tracer gas detector

What is Your Tracer Gas Leak Detection Process?

Cap Off Pipework

In order for the process to work, the gas that we pump into the pipework needs to be retained within the area in question, otherwise, it would simply dissipate throughout the entire network of pipes around the property.

Therefore, we cap the pipe at either end of the suspected leak so that the gas is retained within that area.

Fill Pipes With Tracer Gas to our Tested Pressure

Now that the pipework has been capped off, our engineers force the tracer gas into it until it reaches the required level of pressure. 

Use the Gas Sniffing Device to Detect Rising Gas

We then use the latest state-of-the-art gas sniffing devices to locate exactly where the gas is escaping from, indicating exactly where the leak’s source is. 

Confirm Leak Location Using Secondary & Third Leak Testing Method

We then validate the initial findings of the Tracer Gas test with our other leak detection methods and technology such as Thermographic Cameras, Moisture Meters, Acoustic Ground Microphones and Leak Noise Correlator.

Safe For Use In Commercial & Residential Settings

We often get asked “is tracer gas safe?”

The tracer gas we use in the leak detection process is safe for use in both commercial and residential settings.

The Most Effective Method for Locating Leaks in Plumbing and Central Heating Systems

Tracer Gas Leak Detection is one of the most efficient, cost-effective precision tools that specialist leak detection companies have at their disposal. It is perfectly safe, non-invasive, and can find a leak quickly and with minimal disruption in plumbing and heating systems.

Tracer Gas Leak Detection FAQs

Without wishing to get too scientific and technical, the molecular weight of Hydrogen is roughly half that of Helium. Additionally, Hydrogen also has a much higher velocity.

The consequences of these two means that Hydrogen diffuses much more rapidly inside any objects that we need to test, and then afterwards, Hydrogen dissipates much more quickly than Helium. These two properties, plus the fact that Hydrogen is one of the least expensive gases to purchase, are the main reasons why Hydrogen Nitrogen is used instead of Helium.

Although every scenario is different, and there may not be one specific method that is head and shoulders above the rest, our engineers will typically use Tracer-Gas Leak Testing as their first option for a number of reasons. Tracer-Gas Leak Detection is extremely accurate, cost-effective and non-disruptive.

It also enables our technicians to locate the source of even the smallest leaks in the shortest possible time, making it the best option for our customers who want any leak discovered as quickly as possible.

Tracer-Gas is classified as a food-grade gas, meaning that it is perfectly safe for Trace and Access engineers to pump it into drinking supply pipes. Furthermore, it has been approved and tested to enter all types of water pipes, including but not limited to water mains, drains, grey water systems, fire loops and even petroleum pipelines.

The tracer gas that we use is just as safe as the air we breath. This is why our technicians use Tracer-Gas Leak testing to help in the Trace and Access process.

Tracer-Gas Leak Testing is one of the most accurate methods for locating a leak, however small, which is why it is one of the most popular methods used within the specialist leak-detection industry.

Yes, again, this is another box that Hydrogen Nitrogen Gases ticks. Tracer gas leak detection is the perfect option for any suspected leaks under reinforced concrete. Once the tracer gas has been pumped into the pipework, it will then find its way out via the leak before rising to the surface.

Call The Nationwide Tracer-Gas Leak Testing Professionals

ADI Leak Detection are the original specialist leak-detection company in the United Kingdom covering all areas. 

We have continued to lead the market, investing and developing our own technologies and consistently training our staff to deliver outstanding results. We use Tracer-Gas Testing daily and have an almost perfect record for leak detection regardless of the leak size.

Call ADI Leak Detection for more information Now on 0800 731 3843 for a friendly Tracer Gas Leak Detection Service.

Adrian Morgan

Adrain Morgan CIPHE RP RHP is the founder & Managing Director of ADI Pro Leak Ltd. Adrian is also the Head Plumbing, Heating & Leak Detection engineer at ADI Leak Detection.

Adrian CIPHE RP RHP is proud to be registered with the Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineering, a Registered Plumber and a Registered Heating Professional.