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Thread: Question by New Participant on Water Leak Detection

  1. #16
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    Default Re: Question by New Participant on Water Leak Detection

    The gas induction process is quick and easy.

    Here's a typical time frame.

    Remove water meter, close main water valve in building, insert inflatable plug in pipe at meter, introduce 20 psi helium. Time required = 10 minutes. If you have to drill a few 3/4 holes in a slab add 3 more minutes. The you use the electronic sniffer.

    The value of this system is highest when working below pavers asphalt or concrete. As per the above - in 13 minutes, give or take, you can pinpoint your leak and you are ready to excavate.

    The emphasis here is more accuracy of the located leak, so you dig, or cut and excavate just one time.
    Listening alone with water tends to give many false positives because air will gurgle over water trapped in a pipe.

    PS. I started this thread with the though of learning what other gasses other leak locaters might be using successfully. Nonetheless, I'm happy to share experience with any others who have not seen this method performed. It will turn circles around conventional methods and find leaks that American Leak Detection and others often can't find, because they're purely electronic or acoustic.

  2. #17
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    Default Re: Question by New Participant on Water Leak Detection

    Quote Originally Posted by etbrown4 View Post
    The gas induction process is quick and easy.

    Here's a typical time frame.

    Remove water meter, close main water valve in building, insert inflatable plug in pipe at meter, introduce 20 psi helium. Time required = 10 minutes. If you have to drill a few 3/4 holes in a slab add 3 more minutes. The you use the electronic sniffer.

    The value of this system is highest when working below pavers asphalt or concrete. As per the above - in 13 minutes, give or take, you can pinpoint your leak and you are ready to excavate.

    The emphasis here is more accuracy of the located leak, so you dig, or cut and excavate just one time.
    Listening alone with water tends to give many false positives because air will gurgle over water trapped in a pipe.

    PS. I started this thread with the though of learning what other gasses other leak locaters might be using successfully. Nonetheless, I'm happy to share experience with any others who have not seen this method performed. It will turn circles around conventional methods and find leaks that American Leak Detection and others often can't find, because they're purely electronic or acoustic.
    I will have to agree to disagree. You are introducing a foreign gas into the water system and that in itself requires test that take anywhere from 48 to 72 hrs. Plugging a line from more then one location takes time. If you have to dig up that line to insert a line stop take a half a day. I have been there and done that. I would have to read up on this. Do you have some web sites I can look up to get an understanding?

  3. #18
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    Default Re: Question by New Participant on Water Leak Detection

    Glad to provide more information....

    The Helium or Hydrogen induced gas system has been quietly used in water leak detection for about 5 years. Maybe more. The primary components are the in line test plugs made by Anderson Manufacturing, a Helium or Hydrogen tank and regulator, and a Helium or Hydrogen detector.

    I personally know of 5-6 firms which use the system, though I am sure there are many more. American Leak Detection does not use it, yet these smaller firms often find leaks that American can't find with their electronic or acoustic approach. The smaller firms don't want the larger firms to know their trade secrets.

    Using the inline plugs which also allow for the gas introduction there is rarely any excavation - until the plumber or other trade arrives to make the repair. As mentioned earlier, in a basic water service leak location job, the water meter is removed on one end, and the house or commercial building valve is closed on the other. In that case the gas is induced from the open line at the meter where a special 'open' but resealable plug allows for inducing the gas.

    The key to this approach is that when performed correctly, there is essentially proof of the actual leak location within a few feet, when you have accurately picked up a positive trace of the Helium or Hydrogen. A leak would be the only means by which the gas could have arrived at the identified location!

    I originally posted to see if any members here had experience with the various gases which can be used. So far I have heard from one poster that he has used helium on telephone cables. I appreciate the tip.

    Helium is widely used in manufacturing for leak testing of small and large pressure vessels of all types and sizes including automotive and industrial engines. Helium for example is used in aircraft manufacturing to pressure test Boeing and equivalent fuel tanks located in aircraft wings.

    For what it is worth, I know of guys operating alone who are presently making $75 - 150k annually doing solo leak detection. The guys at the upper end are in larger markets and are putting in a lot of hours.

  4. #19
    Mke
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    Default Re: Question by New Participant on Water Leak Detection

    I took a training class that had a couple of leak detector guys in it. They were extremely informative on what they do and the equipment they use. If memory serves me well, they used helium most. They did have hydrogen, but used it sparingly. There was one more gas they mentioned but for the life of me I can't remember what it was. They did however tell me that they did have to chlorinate the line and test after all leak detections that required the opening of the system.

    This was not for the gas they were introducting, but the equipment and any material that my be introduced in the line during the proccess of opening the system. As clean as the plugs are, they are re-used equipment and naturally collect nasties. Even with the decontamination rinse one does with the equipment afterwords.


    I don't think we are trying to rain on your parade, its just us locators usually get the riot act read to us whenever we go to locate a PVC waterline and ask if there is anyway to put a rodder or fishtape down it. So when we here that its ok for someone else to do similar and not be required to clean and test the lines after, we are a little bitter.

    Mke

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    Default Re: Question by New Participant on Water Leak Detection

    Thanks Mike.

    I agree that contamination can be an issue and we do chlorinate if it is potable water. A lot of times this kind of leak locating for leaking underground lines for a pool, and that is less of a concern.

    It's off the subject of leak locating a bit, but how many times have we ever seen a plumber working in a ditch, with a bottle of bleach nearby. ...... Likely never.

    If you later recall the kinds of gasses used I'd appreciate hearing about it.

  6. #21
    Mke
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    Default Re: Question by New Participant on Water Leak Detection

    Hey Brown, If you are not in Montana and California and directly competeing with the two guys I met, I could toss you their contact information. They were extremely knowledgeable and mostly did the lines you were describing.

    Mke

  7. #22
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    Default Re: Question by New Participant on Water Leak Detection

    Thanks Mke, I'm in the east.

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