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Underground Leak Detection

plumber carrying water leak detection equipment to jobsiteWe specialize in underground water leak detection in Toronto and surrounding areas such as Etobicoke and Mississauga. If you suspect you have underground water leaks you need discovered, give us a call at 416-252-5557 or visit our contact form for a consultation.

Acoustic-based water leak detection is an advanced underground leak detection technology that allows us to easily find and locate leaks in underground piping. Whether it’s a residential property, commercial, or industrial operation; we are able to find underground leaks with a high level of accuracy.

Unlike other methods, acoustic leak detection is incredibly effective. Compared to other underground leak detection technologies, acoustic leak detection is accurate, methodical, and non-invasive; meaning we prevent unnecessary downtime and avoid excavation.

We utilize some of the most advanced equipment in the industry, including a PipeHorn LD-12 “Professional’s Plus” Water Leak Detector, a model specifically designed for plumbing professionals in need of the latest technology for their underground plumbing jobs. We’ve compared this model to others on the market so we can discuss how it works, its benefits, and how it stacks up against other methods for detecting underground leaks.

How Does Underground Leak Detection Work In General?

Underground leak detection systems rely on sound to locate leaks, hence the word ‘acoustic.’ We all know the sounds of items under pressure, like snapping wood or shattering glass, and pipe leaks are no different. When water is flowing incorrectly in a pipe, a microphone attuned to the right sorts of sounds can easily pick up where a pipe is leaking.

So how does underground leak detection operate? Typically, a specialized microphone and low noise amplifier work together to aid in discovering the sounds that the pipe is making below the surface. This model also lets you filter out unnecessary sounds both in the pipe and from the surrounding environment. This information is displayed on a large backlit meter so we can pinpoint exactly where the sounds are coming from, and thus where the leak is located.

How Does Acoustic Leak Detection Differ From Other Leak Detection Models?

worker using acoustic leak detection deviceDepending on the type of pipe and the ground it’s in, there are different methods to check for leaks. With pressurized pipes, elaborate pressure monitors can be affixed to the pipes to determine if there’s any loss in pressure. Other methods for other kinds of pipes include testing the ground for vapour that could result from a leak, or running a tracer chemical system. While these methods determine if a leak is present, they require extra work and tests to determine just where the leak has occurred.

Acoustic leak detection, in the hands of someone familiar with the technology, can easily determine if there is a leak and where it’s happening in most scenarios, regardless of piping or surrounding environment. Acoustic leak detection also doesn’t rely on complicated methodologies, like soil sampling, for leak detection, is less invasive allowing for the discovery of leaks faster and without a great deal of hassle.

How Does A Water Leak Detector Discover Underground Water Leaks?

There are three scenarios, each with a distinctive set of sounds, to look for when using modern leak detection equipment: water leaking into the soil sounds like thumping, vibrations from reduced pressure in the pipe sound like a “whooshing” or hissing noise, while water flowing into a soil cavity near the leak sounds like a babbling brook. Each of these sounds can be heard with underground leak detection systems.

Generally, microphones are places over the piping and monitored for these different sounds while filtering out other audio elements that aren’t relevant. A backlit meter provides a better feel for where the leak is coming from, measuring the sound’s intensity as we move along the pipe. This helps us to determine the severity of the leak and the necessary work that needs done without having to directly excavate to discover the leak.

What Are Some Factors To Consider When Using This Technology?

Soil and piping type will greatly affect the sounds coming from a pipe, and the distance those sounds will travel. Sandy soil, for example, absorbs sound at a higher rate than streets or concrete, so pipes buried more than 3-4 feet will be difficult to hear. Different kinds of pipes, including their material and diameter, transmit sound differently as well, and further along the pipe itself. This can cause difficulty for pinpointing the exact location of the leak, particularly in copper and iron pipes. Knowing the surroundings and the type of pipe we are listening to will all help get a better reading on where leaks are occurring.

How Does Acoustic Leak Detection Equipment Operate?

The microphone bases supplied with most modern leak detection equipment are specially designed to be as non-invasive as possible. With these bases, the water leak detector requires little to no excavation, cutting down labour times and unnecessary cleanup. Instead, the microphone is placed on the ground with one of the bases and measures sounds remotely.

Examining audio is incredibly important as this is how acoustic leak detection operates. Therefore most leak detectors have extensive audio capabilities including:

Audio filters: Since every situation is a little different, the modern leak detectors come with different sound filters allowing us to listen to specific noises in the pipes. These filters control sounds on both the high and low ends of the sound spectrum and are easy to use and understand. On the low end of the spectrum, we can filter for sounds below 100 Hz, 200 Hz, and 400 Hz. This can be helpful for specific situations.  Additionally, some leak detectors offer the ability to zero-in on exactly the frequency that the operator wishes to hear whether it’s in the low end or high end of the frequency spectrum.

Limiters: Everyone who’s used an underground leak detection knows things can get loud. With the limiters, sounds will never reach above certain levels to keep your ears safe from unforeseen changes in sound levels.

For More Information

For further details on underground acoustic water leak detection services please contact us at 416-252-5557