What is leak detection?
Leak detection is the process of identifying and locating leaks in systems that contain water or gases. This process is crucial in industries like plumbing, oil, gas, and water supply where undetected leaks can lead to significant financial losses, equipment damage, and in some cases, pose safety risks.
What leak detection methods are used?
There are a variety of methods used for leak detection, including:
- Visual Inspection: This is the simplest method where leaks are identified by visible signs like moisture or discolouration.
- Acoustic Leak Detection: This involves listening for the sound of escaping water leaks or gas. Specialised equipment is often used to amplify the sound and pinpoint its location.
- Infrared Technology: This method uses infrared cameras to detect temperature differences caused by a leak.
- Pressure Testing: In this method, the system is pressurised, and then monitored to see if the pressure decreases, indicating a leak.
- Tracer Gas Method: A gas that’s detectable by sensors is introduced into the system. If there’s a leak, the gas will escape and be detected by the sensors.
Each method has its pros and cons and is suited to different situations. The choice of method depends on factors such as the nature of the system, the type of water leak or gas it contains, and the potential location and size of the leak.
How to find water leaks in your home?
Detecting hidden leaks can be challenging, as they’re not always visible. If you’re noticing an unexplained increase in your water bill or if there are damp spots on your property or signs of water damage indoors, these could be indications of a hidden leak.
How accurate is leak detection?
Leak detection methods are generally highly accurate, with some modern techniques able to identify leaks with accuracy up to 90-95%. However, the accuracy can vary based on the method used, the type of system being inspected, and the size and location of the leak. Advanced technologies like infrared and acoustic sensors, tracer gases, and correlation detection can provide very accurate results. It’s important to note that while these methods can accurately determine the presence of a leak, pinpointing its exact location may require professional expertise.
How to check your water meter for leaks at home?
One effective method to check for hidden leaks is by checking your water meter. Here are the steps:
- Turn off all the water in your home and note the reading on your meter.
- Don’t use any water for one hour
- After waiting for at least one hour, if the meter reading has changed, this suggests a leak somewhere in your plumbing system.
How much does leak detection cost?
The cost of water leak detection typically ranges from $200 to $600, depending largely on the complexity of the job. For instance, detecting a leak in the roof or wall of a commercial factory may involve more resources, such as additional time, specialised equipment like boom or scissor lifts, an extra technician, and adherence to occupational health and safety requirements. However, locating a burst pipe in a residential property can be a simpler process, often taking less than half an hour to locate the leak.
How can we check for underground water leaks?
Checking for underground water leaks involves several steps:
- Monitor Your Water Meter: Turn off all water in your home and check the meter. If it’s still running, you may have an underground leak.
- Check Your Property: Look for unusually wet or lush areas of your lawn, which could indicate a leak underground.
- Listen for Sounds of Running Water: This can sometimes be heard if there’s a significant underground leak.
- Use Leak Detection Equipment: Professional plumbers or leak detectors often use specialised tools like ground microphones or acoustic leak detectors to locate underground leaks.
However, due to the complexity of detecting underground leaks and the potential for significant property damage, it is recommended to hire a professional if you suspect an underground leak.