Here at Leak Spotters, we are often asked the question – what is audible leak detection? How and what do you ‘listen’ for when searching for a leak?
A hidden leak is usually not audible to your ear since its underground. However, water pipes are pressurized and when water leaks below ground, they may make certain sounds. Most often it is a constant static noise like a ‘hiss’ or ‘whoosh.’ Occasionally there may be other sounds such as a thumping beat, or babbling sounds from water flowing around the pipes.
These are the sounds we listen out for with specialised leak detection equipment, including ground microphones and listening discs. It works by placing very sensitive hearing devices to the ground to pick up the noise. This technology allows us to hear water dripping and escaping even below concrete. Generally, the hissing sound is more audible when pressure inside the pipe is higher.
To locate a leak, a technician will listen over a pipe moving several steps at a time following the water line. The area surrounding the leak is usually where the noise is the loudest. At that point, in addition to listening, the technician will also look at the meter signals for more precision to identify an exact spot and to minimise the digging area.
Does audible leak detection always work? In most cases – Yes. However, there are variables which can affect this leak detection method and its accuracy. As mentioned above, pressure in the pipe can affect the audibility and loudness. Plus, other influencing factors include, pipe material and width, the surrounding ground such as soil compactness or concrete and its depth, and the type of surface cover, e.g. grass, paving, pebbles or tiles. Background noises in the environment such as busy roads, high winds, rain or ground vibration due to machinery hinders audible leak detection.
It is important to be aware that leak detection may only be the first step in finding an answer to solve an already difficult unknown problem. Here at Leakspotters, our trained technicians are highly experienced and knowledgeable about plumbing systems – helping you to not only locate a leak, but also narrow down a specific problem should there be other complications resulting from the leak.
Get in touch today to see how we can help!