Determining the right source of a water leakage and what are the right techniques to detect water leakage

Water is precious, and when there is a leakage, it can prove to be both costly (because your consumption is tracked by a meter), and wasteful. It is very important to determine the right source of the leak, and also use the right techniques to detect the leakage. Let’s learn more.

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Check in and around the home for leakages
Many times we know that there is a leakage somewhere.  Perhaps your meter is showing way more consumption than your average, or you can see dampness on your walls or water seepage.

Some leaks such as roof leaks and water seepage on walls can be serious, while others such as flush leaks and sink leaks can be easily and economically fixed.

It’s important to get to the source of the leakage. But this is not an easy task if the only signs are seepage and wet patches. So a peripheral check is a good way to at least determine the vicinity of the leak. Here are simple ways to do this.

  1. Walk around the house and check for wet patches on the ground, or if you are in an apartment, check for drips and patches on the outer walls and inner walls. There is a chance that an external pipe has developed a crack or burst.
  2. Roof leaks for instant are hard to pinpoint. One way is to backtrack from the inside wall patches or seepage, to the point of entry on the roof’s surface, or an external wall.
  3. Many times a leakage is due to sagging surfaces, joints that are not waterproofed properly enough
  4. Sometimes when there is heavy foot traffic in an area, the base flashings may succumb and lead to floor sagging, and tile cracks, etc.
  5. Also check expansion joints where the vertical and horizontal surfaces meet, and sill vents.
  6. Indoors, the sealant around sinks and toilets, bathtubs etc, could also be the water leakage culprits, in which case it is best to reconstruct the entire waterproofing layer rather than opt for patchwork.

Techniques to detect water leakage

There, there are various testing methods to pinpoint the exact location of a leakage,

  1. Flood testing is done on low-slope roofs to check for water leakage.
  2. Leakage Mapping is used to check leakage at window joints. With the help of a nozzle around 0.20 mpa of dynamic water pressure is applied from each joint, at short intervals for a fixed duration.
  3. ASTM Methods. To check for leakage in windows and external walls is a standard test method for determination of water penetration of exterior windows, doors, and other fixtures such as skylights, and curtain walls. The test is done by measuring. The ASTM method is also used to check for leakage on external walls.

New non-destructive techniques to check for leakage
1. The water leak detection system 
uses equipment such as Thermal Imaging, Electronic Vector Mapping, Vac Box testing and Trace Gas injection etc.

2. Acoustic Leak Detection: Acoustic leak detecting instruments allow the localisation of the lowest consistent noise. This means the source of leaks can be identified a lot quicker.

3. Correlator Leak Detection: Leak correlators identify the acoustic frequency made by water escaping from a pipe. The correlator not only detects the noise, but also calculates the leak’s location by comparing the delay in signal reaching the sensor.

4. Other methods
There are other non-destructive techniques to check for leakage. Drain cameras, ground penetrating radar, salt analysis, Infrared (IR) thermography, electrical capacitance (EC) testing and electronic field vector mapping (EVFM) are new age methods that are non-destructive as well as effective.

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Leaks should never be ignored, and the fact that they are invisible should never be taken to mean that they are not serious. These days it is easy to detect and pinpoint the problem area. Repairing leaks is also an easy exercise because of the presence of quality products in the market.

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