Acoustic leak detection is one of the most relied upon methods for detecting leaks in water supply pipes. In older distribution systems where up to 30% of water leaks are from the pipes, effective leak detection is vital. But detecting leaks acoustically can have its drawbacks, with many factors altering its effectiveness.
Types of acoustic detection
There are a number of listening devices that can be used for leak detection including aquaphones, ground microphones and geophones. These can be electronic or mechanical and use sensitive materials including piezoelectric elements to pick up leak-related sounds or vibrations. Leak noise correlators are microprocessor-based devices that use a cross-correlation method to find the leak.
Every piece of leak detection equipment also has its own sensitivity, frequency range and other features. Therefore, it is best to have an experienced plumber use the equipment as he or she will be used to the finer settings of the equipment and will be able to get the best results from the study.
What ruins acoustic leak detection?
There are several factors that can have an impact on the effectiveness of acoustic leak detection. These include:
• Pipe size, depth and type • Pressure in the system • Noise interference • Sensitivity and range of equipment
The material of the pipe and the diameter of it can have a big impact on how easily the leak can be detected. Leak signals travel the furthest in metal pipes and are attenuated by plastic ones, making it difficult for vibrations to be picked up. Additionally, larger pipes are much more difficult to detect leaks within than smaller ones are.
The soil around the ground can also impact the effectiveness of the system. Sandy soils tend to work better than clay soils or than on asphalt or concrete. Pipes that are below the water table can also be less easy to diagnose with these systems.
Sometimes even the type of leak can have an impact on how easy it is to detect. Splits and corrosion pits in the walls of the pipes, for example, give stronger signals than leaks in joints or valves, making them easier to detect.
Hydraulic leak detection
For the most accurate leak detection results, use hydraulic methods to find a leak, fast. With hydraulic leak detection, such as with the Ferret Leak Locator, you won’t be hindered by the size or material of the pipe. Just put the Ferret head into the water supply pipe and go.
To find out more about the Ferret Leak Locator and its benefits over the more traditional acoustic leak detectors, get in touch by calling us on 0800 292 2835. Or you can fill in our contact form and we will get back to you.