Household water leaks can result in a loss of approximately 1 trillion gallons of water annually in the United States. The effects of leaks on properties are immense. Water damage due to leaks can cause high operational costs in repairs and create safety and health risks if contaminated water comes into contact with the drinking water supply.
Plumbing leaks can cause low water pressure in your pipes. When this happens, the pipes draw in contaminants from the surrounding, polluting drinking water. In addition, they could drive up your utility bill like crazy, not to mention the structural damage they may cause to your house!
Leak detection is the first step to preventing such awful situations. But finding the leak in the first place is where the trouble lies. Although some leaks could be visible, others may not. That’s why it’s paramount to entrust licensed and trained plumbers with leak detection and repair work.
Fortunately, the evolution of leak detection systems has seen emerging technologies allowing plumbing professionals to find leaks more quickly and precisely.
This blog post will help you learn the various smart leak detection systems a plumber may use on your property and the considerations to make regarding the type of method employed. They include;
Smart Water Meters
Also called advanced water meters, smart water meters are connected to a radio, Wi-Fi, wireless, or cellular network, which remotely communicates water use to an analytic monitoring service. These sensor-based water detection systems don’t monitor leaks directly, but the information collected may assist the plumbing expert in identifying potential leaks.
For instance, suppose your property doesn’t have continuous water processes, and the gathered data indicates that your water consumption hardly reaches zero. In that case, the probability of a leak is very high. Smart water meters are of various types – while a few work through a fluid interaction mechanism, others don’t.
Even though the remote transmission of data helps cut down operational costs of these leak detectors over their lifespan, the analytic monitoring service is an extra cost. Also, network security is needed, and secondary leak detection technicians should have the knowledge and expertise to pinpoint leaks correctly.
Acoustic Listening Devices
These leak detection systems utilize sound technology to detect even the most minor leaks occurring inside a layer of concrete. The two standard acoustic devices include:
- Noise Loggers
These are acoustic-based devices used by professional plumbers in leak detection. They are fitted either through a valve in water or on the outside of a pipe. The good thing about these devices is that they can be temporarily placed on the plumbing unit and shifted to analyze the entire system. Or, they could be permanently installed to monitor a specific location continuously.
Loggers listen for high-frequency types of leaks. Like smart water meters, they also come in various styles and features, including digital readouts, wireless connectivity, and frequency filters. While these devices help find the exact location of a leak, the more efficient features will increase the cost.
- Listening Sticks
Listening sticks are undoubtedly one of the oldest sound leak detection technologies. They’re handheld devices with a metal rod fitted to a digital readout, diaphragm, and resonance chamber. The plumber will place them on the pipe to find the acoustic vibrations inside the line.
Although the apparatus doesn’t require any modifications to the existing plumbing infrastructure, device use is limited to accessible pipes only. Again, they don’t provide much of an acoustic signature as large leaks may go unnoticed, and locating leaks this way can be time-consuming as your hired plumbing team must physically inspect the pipes. This means this technology will be more cost-effective in analyzing a small plumbing system.
With this method, cameras are used to detect cold or hot spots in fields or within buildings. Thermal imaging cameras can be handheld or attached to drones. The former is suitable for pinpointing leaks in the walls or around properties, while the latter is ideal for long transmission water mains underneath the roads or fields.
High-quality handheld cameras command a high screen resolution and include Wi-Fi connectivity. The disadvantage of this leak detection method is that it may not reveal the leak’s size, and underground pipe leakage may be masked by vegetation or groundwater. Plumbers often use drone models in remote areas with little or no vegetation.
In-Pipe Leak Sensor
A plumber will run a device fitted with electromagnetic, pressure, or acoustic sensors through a pipe to locate a leak within the piping system. The apparatus can be tethered or free-floating as in watered lines.
Also, they can be robotic crawlers where lines have been completely de-watered. In-pipe leak devices utilize geographic information systems (GIS) sensors, allowing them to map the leak’s location virtually.
However, this application is ideal for large piping systems. Again, if a line has to be shut off for a leak assessment, it may require thorough cleaning after the inspection, which is an added cost.
Ground Penetrating Radar
Ground penetrating radar, or simply GPR, emits electromagnetic waves sent to the ground; when the waves find objects on their path, they’re reflected in the leak detector, creating an image of underground substances.
This picture depicts the model of subsurface water pools and pipe breaks. High-end models can produce 3D images of underground objects. Even so, GPR requires highly-trained plumbers to operate the equipment and correctly interpret the returned data for effective leak detection.
Need Water Leak Detection Services? Why Not Hire Peach Plumbing & Drain for Quality Work?
You’ve explored the various intelligent leak detection systems your plumber can use in diagnosing and fixing a water leak. But you’ll only get the results if you work with specialized plumbers like Peach Plumbing & Drain!
We provide residential and commercial plumbing services that you can rely on. Partner with us today by calling now!
See our previous blog on this topic here.