How Electronic Leak Detection Works

How Electronic Leak Detection Works

When you contract with a leak detection company, the expectation is that they will identify a concealed leak as close as possible to the source, so that a repair can be made. You might think that a trained leak detection technician is only looking for water when looking for a leak, but the truth is, water isn't always easily found. It's technology that makes it possible to pinpoint a leak.

It might surprise you to know that sound is the key to finding concealed plumbing leaks. When a faucet is turned on it obviously creates a sound as the water is traveling through a pipe, and this is especially obvious when a fixture is turned on upstairs in a home. As water rushes through a pipe the sound can echo

throughout the plumbing system. This can also be apparent when an exterior hose bib, that exits the wall of the home, is turned on. When there is a leak in a pipe, sound is also created as the water rushes out of the leak. This can occur even when the leak is only the size of a pinhole. In these cases, the sound is usually not nearly as loud as on open faucet, so to hear the sound of the water movement technology is required.

Electronic leak detection equipment amplifies the sound of the moving water, using microphones, digital amplifiers and filters, allowing the leaking pipe to be identified. Once the leaking line is identified then the pressure in the line can be altered to create a specific sound that the technician uses to pinpoint the leak. The sound of pressure escaping from a broken pipe varies depending on the circumstances -- the type of pipe, how deep the pipe is underground, if it is under concrete, asphalt, dirt, etc., how big the leak is, if there is a pool of water around the pipe, if there is a void underground, and countless other scenarios that affect the sound of a leak. Training and experience are key when effectively using electronic leak-locating equipment to detect these types of leaks.

This process is used for all types of plumbing systems, under concrete slabs, main water lines, swimming pool plumbing systems, and others. As long as a system can be isolated and pressure tested, leaks can be located using electronics. The more accurately a leak can be pinpointed, the less damage to access the leak, saving time and money.