Where's that Freakin' Leak? - Page 3

How the burning question is best answered by today's ultra-sensitive leak detection equipment and its evolving technology
Leak Detection
When technicians, like the ones above, show up with a truck full of leak detection equipment, homeowners oftentimes feel relieved. These are some of the most common leak detection devices: (L-R) dielectric molecular analyzer, ultra-sonic listening device, line locator, and sewer video camera.


And if your toilet or shower is backing up? A sewer video camera also uses an electromagnetic transmitter, but its main purpose is to explore blockage or leaks in large-diameter sewer pipes such as those in domestic lines. A small, one-inch-wide lens connects to a length of fiber-optic cable running through conduit.

Having an electromagnetic transmitter on the end allows a technician to follow the camera's progress through the pipe, mapping out the line while simultaneously locating blockage or leaks.

"The most significant improvement with cameras, or scopes, is that they are much smaller than they were ten years ago," Macaulay says. "Some scopes can go in lines that are as small as one-half inch and can be used in potable lines."

Like most home improvement, the homeowner costs for these leak-related projects depend in part on the scope of the work. The price for leak detection within the foundation ranges between $345 to $445, and most companies offer a flat rate for the detection.

Even with all the technological improvements, leak detection is not an exact science, and technicians must fine-tune their ears over time to learn what to look for.

"What's really important is experience," Salomon says. "We've seen an awful lot of leaks in these mid-century homes, and our technicians have years of experience. We also have a local and national network of other technicians that we can access to get answers and troubleshoot unusual situations."


Photography: David Toerge; and courtesy American Leak Detection



American Leak Detection