Every now and then water leaks may occur in pipes. This is when it is important to find out exactly where in the pipe the leak is – and this is done through leak detection.
What is leak detection?
Every now and then, leakage may occur in a home pipe, or other pressure water pipes may become defected and lead to leakage. Since the pipe is usually buried or covered, it becomes necessary to search for the leak. This is done through leak detection.
There is reason to suspect water leakage if you hear soaring in the pipes in your home.
How is leak detection performed?
The pipe route is detected through pressure testing
- The first step is to perform a pressure test to find out whether the leak is located before or after the internal stopcock. If the water measurer is spinning uninterruptedly, you should go around the house to check that water is not running in the toilet or from any taps. If the soaring persists after you close the internal stopcock, the leak is probably headed towards the main pipes.
- A route detector is then used to mark down the pipe’s path.
The next step is to search for the point of leakage using various instruments and methods. The chosen method depends on the pipe type and the terrain.
Different methods for leak detection may be:
- Gas Detection: This entails adding a harmless gas to the water pipe, then look for the gas from the surface. When a gas reading is successful, the leak has been detected. Gas detection is used on so-called noiseless pipes. These are pipes made from plastic, -PE or PVC. The operator uses a detector which “sniffs” out the gas.
- Acoustic Leak Detector: With the acoustic leak detector, it is possible to locate underground noise caused by the leak. This requires long experience.
- Correlator: Using the correlator, signals are sent from two different point to a machine, which interprets the signals and calculate the distance between the points and the leak. A correlator with many wireless loggers, for example, is used when leakage is suspected within the municipal pipelines in residential areas. The points are placed in manholes and register the state of the piping system. All matters have a specific sound speed, and when there is a leak, echo time is lost between the extremes. This is the mathematical task at hand for the operator, to find the exact location of the leak.
- Thermography: A thermographic camera can be effective during leak detection in internal pipes. This can be used in floors or walls with water-borne heat. The device registers variations in the surface temperature, and the warmest point represents the leak.
- Hydrophone in water pipes: The hydrophone strengthens the sound of the water flow itself. Often the vibrations caused by the leak are too weak to be registered outside the pipe. In these cases, we must enter into the pipe in order to catch the vibrations from the leak, and in these cases we use a hydrophone.
- Pipe Mic: This is a probe introduced into the pipe by the operator. The operator gets as close to the leak as possible. Traditional listening equipment is used to listen from manholes or the surface. Now, near-silent leaks are detected or confirmed through listening for the leakage point from within. With Pipe Mic it is possible to listen your way to the leakage point in most pipes, but the probe may not be used in metal pipes.
It is possible to attach signals to the snake itself. This way we can combine leak detection, leakage point localisation and end point localisation, as well as perform pipe searches on plastic or eternit pipes.
Pipe Mic can be used in lengths of up to 70 meters. If it gets too long, it will curl up inside the pipe. There is also a version of up to 30 meters, which is more flexible for branch lines and bends.
In most cases, several methods are combined during each assignment. This is to locate the leakage point as accurately as possible. When the leakage point has been found, the pipe can be uncovered and repaired.
In some cases, it can be challenging to determine the exact leakage point. Circumstances underground may provide the equipment with erroneous or imprecise information. We have the best equipment and expertise in the industry, which helps us find the leakage point in most cases.