How do we find the Leak?
Underground Plumbing Network
The underground plumbing network is pressure tested using a method that is extremely sensitive. If a section of piping indicates a leak, an air/water mixture is induced in the pipe. Operator experience comes into play here since the air/water mixture must be fine tuned to achieve the correct vibration, which is subsequently picked up by the sonar/ ultrasound unit. No two leaks are exactly the same. Soil conditions, size and length of pipe, depth of leak, and many other factors, have a bearing on interpreting the signals coming from underground. The sonar technician has to develop a mental ‘catalog’ of sounds over years of experience, and compare these with what he is hearing from underground. Sonar signals can echo, or be louder in an area where the soil is different, or can follow a path of least resistance. The sonar tech has to mentally work through all these challenges to achieve an accurate location. (see Picture No. 1)
What we found…
The importance of accuracy is illustrated by a broken pipe (as shown above) under a brand new, custom deck in La Jolla California. After many months of construction and remodeling, the homeowner was extremely upset when she was told by her pool service person that the pool was leaking. She had visions of another long, costly, invasive process to remedy the problem. Leak Technologies was called in and did a comprehensive leak test on the pool. It was determined that the main re-circulation return-line for the pool was broken and leaking under the deck. As you can see by the picture to the right (see Picture No. 2 ), our sonar locate was extremely accurate, allowing the entire repair to be performed by removing and replacing only one single tile! To achieve this degree of accuracy, state of the art equipment must be combined with operator experience.
Structure or Shell
The shell, or structure of the pool, is tested underwater using pinpoint dye testing methods. The leak detector checks areas like the main drain, the underwater light niche and conduit, etc. He looks for plaster fatigue around pipes, or any area that is a potential ‘exit point’ for the water. This aspect of testing requires intense focus on detail so as not to miss even the smallest opening. A crack small enough that it would be unseen from topside, can account for the loss of many gallons of water daily.
Above-ground Plumbing & Equipment
The above-ground plumbing and equipment is also a very important aspect of a comprehensive leak test. Certain plumbing configurations can allow water to exit the internal plumbing system without the homeowner being aware. All these areas must be carefully scrutinized.
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