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how does thermal imaging work

Thanks to the advancements in modern technology, the means of detecting leaks in your home are made easy. The conventional way of leak detection involves your plumber looking for clues and literally digging for answers. Sometimes, this can cause unnecessary damage to your property and may even potentially compromise your house’s overall structural integrity.

One of the most modern means of leak detection used by industry professionals today is thermal imaging. Curious about how it works? We’ll let you in on what goes down behind the scenes in this article.

But first, let’s talk about what thermal imaging leak detection is.

Thermal imaging leak detection

As the name suggests, this means of leak detection uses thermal imaging to help plumbing professionals accurately pinpoint damaged pipes in residential homes and commercial establishments.

Plumbers use specially designed equipment called thermal imaging cameras that can detect water leaks by reading the fluctuations in the electromagnetic spectrum in the infrared range. These devices can interpret wavelengths imperceptible to the human eye and can read past through layers that cover your plumbing system.

This way, they don’t have to drill holes on your wall or crack your floors open just to see where the leak is coming from.

How does thermal imaging leak detection work?

As we’ve briefly covered above, water leak detection through thermal imaging uses a special camera. These cameras record light as heat and can show this on a visual display screen. They catch the infrared energy and identify small differences in temperature on the surface of different materials. By doing so, they can highlight the warmer and the colder surface areas giving plumbers an idea of where a particular leak is located.

Recent innovations in thermal scanning allow the heat sensed by a thermal imaging camera to be measured and quantified which makes for a more precise way of evaluating the picture displayed by the camera.

That said, plumbers look for moisture patterns to help them identify certain changes or anomalies in your house — leak-wise that is. They would check the walls, the ceiling, and other places where water pipes may be located. They may look for irregular shapes that indicate water and moisture formation hidden behind the concrete or wooden layers in your home.

Without thermal imaging leak detection, finding where the leak is can be difficult as some of the signs are subtle and can be easy to miss.

Reasons for thermal imaging leak detection

Don’t know when to call for a plumber who can detect water leaks using thermal imaging? Here are a few reasons you should consider calling one.

High water bills

Well, unexplained high water bills to be exact. If you don’t own a pool and get a bill that says you’ve consumed as much, you might need to contact a professional leak detector who can help you using thermal imaging.

Chances are, there’s a leak in your property somewhere and it’s causing you to lose water, and you’re being charged for it. Contact a professional so they can assess your property for you.

Peeling paper or paint

This happens on leaks that are located on the walls of your home. Because of the presence of water and moisture, the paint or the wallpaper will dilapidate. The affected portion of the wall will also feel moist and will have a different temperature compared to other portions of the wall.

In this event, a thermal scanner will pick up the changes in temperature. Your leak detection specialist can check a more detailed reading and can take the necessary actions depending on the situation.

Presence of mold and mildew

Because of constant exposure to moisture, mold and mildew can develop on your walls and your floors. If you find a patch of mold or mildew on your home despite seeing no visible causes for it to grow, it’s best to contact a professional.

Don’t risk your family’s health and seek the help of a plumber immediately.

Benefits of leak detection through thermal imaging

  • Can detect moisture in your ceiling, flat roof, walls, and floors
  • A non-destructive leak detection method
  • It creates minimum disruption and causes no damage to your property
  • Fast and accurate leak detection reading


Knowing how thermal leak detection works can help you understand its benefits and gives you an idea of when you should seek the assistance of a leak detector specialist.

If you suspect that you have a leak in your property but are unable to put a finger to it, calling a thermal imaging leak detection company can be the best decision.


You may not always be alerted when a pipe springs a leak. That’s the thing about hidden water leaks: they’re often concealed in the walls or under the floor. Water slowly seeps from a worn join, through a hairline crack in a pipe, or when a tree root interferes with reticulation.

Catching a leak early will drastically reduce the damage (structural and financial) that a leak can do in your home. So, it pays to keep an eye – and an ear – out for these common clues. Then you can take immediate action by calling a Melbourne leak detection specialist to diagnose and deal with the problem.

  1. Spiking water bills

An unusually high water bill, assuming your usage hasn’t changed, is one warning sign most Australians are familiar with. In fact, this is the most common catalyst for a call to our Melbourne leak detection team.

Firstly, double-check the meter reading to make sure it wasn’t a calculation error. Then go around the house and see if you notice any of the signs below. At the same time, call our leak detection hotline on 1800 532 533 for fast, affordable and fully-equipped help straight to your home.

  1. Damp spots & visible mould

Identifying damp and developing mould is a truly multisensory experience. Some signs are more subtle than others, but once you notice the insidious mould developing, you can’t miss it:

  • Musty smell in certain rooms/areas
  • Dark patches on walls and ceilings
  • Paint starts to bubble and look spongy

Mould remover will deal with the symptom, but not the hidden water leak causing it. For that, you need to enlist a professional – sooner rather than later.

  1. Runaway water meter

It’s your turn to become a leak detective. If you suspect a leak, one way to confirm your suspicion is to watch the water meter with every tap and appliance turned off.

  • Go through your house to close every tap
  • Check for drips, loose handles or running toilets
  • Disconnect hoses and turn off plumbing to appliances
  • Once everything is off, watch your water meter

Are the numbers still ticking over? You may have a hidden leak draining water into your garden, walls, ceiling or under the floor.

  1. Wet patches on the lawn

Damaged reticulation piping is hard to spot because it’s easy to assume the lawn is wet from dew or rain. But keep an eye on those wet patches of grass to see if they dry up. If not, or if puddles start to appear in other places (including inside) then you are likely dealing with an underground water leak.

Thankfully, our leak detection team uses the latest technology to locate and diagnose leaks, even deep underground in homes and commercial buildings. Find out how we do it.

  1. Running water sound

Running water is a peaceful sound – until it’s in your home. With the taps (and TV) turned off, listen for the sound of running water. Try to follow the sound until you locate the room or area where you think a pipe might be leaking.

There’s another side to the sound as well: if you can hear running water with the tap on, but the pressure is low, then you are likely listening to water drain out through a concealed leak.

In all the above scenarios, the solution is the same. Contact Austest Pipeline Solutions, Melbourne’s leak detection experts with a team of experienced, licenced, and well-tooled plumbers ready to attend your home. We’ll help you locate and repair water leaks with an early intervention approach and non-destructive pipe repair methods.