Before we go into detail on some of the very best advanced leak detection systems, it is important to make one thing clear. The most effective water leak detection methods work in conjunction with each other to collectively maximise the chances of finding a water leak at your home or business.
As we have discussed previously, there is no one magic leak detector that either does everything or can guarantee you find a leak on it’s own. Leak detection experts such as ourselves utilise a number of methods, not only because they compliment each effectively other but also because they provide secondary evidence to back-up information provided by other devices.
In this guide, we will cover and discuss some of the top methods which could be considered as the best advanced leak detection devices or methods. They are, in the right hands, tried and trusted and are generally more ‘technical’ generally than the plethora of other water leak detectors or methods people use, or are available on the market.
Advanced Leak Detection – Training and Experience
Before we list the top advanced leak detection devices, there is something that they all have in common with each other and that is – you are much more likely to achieve better results in the hands of a trained and experienced water leak detection specialist.
This is because:
- They know how to operate the devices
- This often includes calibrating the devices
- They know their benefits and their limitations
- They can interpret the data / info presented
- They used them successfully on leaks before
All of the things combined help to deliver optimal results. There is the phrase people use (in a number of places) that is ‘all the gear and no idea’. Well that could apply to some of these, they are not the type of devices that you pick up and understand fully immediately, as effective as they are.
That is, in part, why we have categorised these as advanced leak detection systems.
The other thing about these various advanced leak detection methods to find water leaks is that they all have a variety of applications so they could be used for when you have a boiler losing pressure, leak under floorboards, a ceiling leak or a loft tank leak. Each in various different ways.
In no particular order, let’s run through some of the best advanced leak detection systems, explaining how they work and their benefits. This will help to understand each vs one another.
1) Thermal Imaging – Advanced Leak Detection
When people think about advanced leak detection methods, one of the first things that pops into people’s mind is thermal imaging leak detection cameras. Like some of the other things on this list, there is a huge array of various devices, at different price points for infrared cameras.
We use advanced, professional thermal imaging cameras to help locate water leaks in domestic properties, and for commercial leak detection to find leaks in businesses too.
As you would expect, thermal imaging cameras (or infrared / IR cameras as they are also known as) are very sensitive, accurate and precise pieces of equipment that can pick up hot and cold temperature variances, which can be related to a water leak.
They can work on many types of leak but they work especially well on things like underground water leaks from your central heating boiler system leaks or additionally central heating pipe leaks. They have other additional uses, like identifying and locating cold spots on walls.
Thermal imaging cameras are a great example of something that works best in the hands of an experienced leak detection engineer or thermographer. The average person would be able to turn it on and see it working, but it really comes into effective use when it is adjusted, monitored and calibrated precisely.
2) Advanced Acoustic Leak Detection
We have written a separate guide as to how acoustic water leak detection works, but in layman’s terms they are highly sensitive microphone-based devices that pick up the sound of water leaks. Think of them like a stethoscope. They are extremely useful for detecting noised that would otherwise be too quiet for the human ear to pick up.
Clearly, the sound a water leak makes will vary according to the type of leak and where it is located. The same can be said for the volume of a water leak. For example, a small leak embedded deep in concrete would sound much quieter than a gushing water leak behind a plasterboard stud wall.
On that, see our water leak calculator which estimates the amount of water loss comparing a slow drip, to a spray, all the way to a full flow of water leaking.
Acoustic leak detection, alongside the previous advanced leak detection method of thermal imaging perfectly highlight (as we mentioned earlier) two ways of finding water leaks that compliment each other. For example, let’s imaging using thermal imagine you spot an anomaly / heat signal in a wall, floor or ceiling leak. Following that up, in the exact location can provide additional valuable evidence.
3) Advanced Moisture Meter Leak Detection
The next advanced leak detection method we are going to explain is moisture meters, or damp meters as people may call them. As with some of the other things within this guide, moisture meters can vary greatly in price. You can pick-up very cheap moisture meters online but the types we most commonly use are professional moisture meters which often cost hundreds of pounds, if not thousands.
A cheap moisture meter is likely to be far less accurate, less sensitive, less robust and limited in it’s uses in comparison to a professional, calibrated and multi-purpose device. One of the most respected providers of moisture meters is Tramex moisture meters.
The other thing is that, even though our technicians will carry multi-use moisture meters, they will commonly use several different types of moisture meters to locate a leak. This could include pinned moisture meters, pinless moisture meters or even smart moisture meters sometimes for the purpose of smart moisture mapping for the reports we produce.
On that, we provide insurance grade trace and access reports which you can give to your home insurance company when you use our services, if you have trace and access leak detection cover on your policy, there is a good chance the cost will be covered.
4) Advanced Tracer Gas Leak Detection
Next on the list of advanced leak detection methods is tracer gas leak detection. Tracer gas is on here as an advanced method for two reasons mainly. Firstly, because it requires of tracer gas sniffers which are very sophisticated and precise devices to smell or ‘sniff’ for the gas that is used (mostly hydrogen and nitrogen). Secondly because, it has technical elements to it in order to drain down the heating system (where it is commonly used), connecting it and filling the system with the tracer gas, then refilling it.
This is something that an inexperienced amateur would likely be unable to do. The other thing is that our staff are trained in understanding the structure and layout of properties, and importantly, the path the piping network (more on that in the next section!). This experience and information greatly assists the process and increases the likelihood of searching in the best locations across the property.
As we said, tracer gas leak detection can be used for a number of applications, but it is perhaps more common for situations when people might have their boiler pressure dropping, for example after getting an F1 boiler fault error on their combi boiler system leak.
Please remember that, if you have Trace and Access on your home insurance cover, the cost of finding and fixing the water leak could be paid for by your insurer. It’s worth checking.
5) Advanced Pipe Locators for Leak Detection
As with the moisture meters / damp meters we mentioned above, pipe locators can be purchased fairly cheaply online. But those devices are far more limited than those use by us for the more detailed and advanced leak detection methods we use. In particular, the ‘CAT and Genny’ devices that can be seen in the middle of the picture above.
These devices have two parts to them, the generator (aka ‘Genny’) to transmit the signal along pipes and the detector / locator to track the network of pipes in a property. We’re sure that you know that it is very common for pipes to be hidden in floors and walls etc. So when you are looking to locate a leak, knowing where the pipes are is invaluable in narrowing down or focusing the best search area.
Again, as you can see, these compliment the other advanced leak detection methods mentioned previously too. This helps to make the process of locating leaks more effective. Sometimes that can be something relatively simple like a toilet leak or something more challenging.
6) Advanced Smart Water Leak Detector Alarms
The final thing on our list of advanced water leak detection methods is water leak alarm sensors. Strangely, this isn’t something we specifically use in the process of locating water leaks. So why are we mentioning them in here?
Well, a few particular reasons really:
- They can alert people to the existence of a water leak
- They are smart / advanced devices to alert for leaks
- They can do this before the water damage is too bad
- They can help to track water usage over time
- And, linked to that, help with water consumption
- Or prevent an unexpected high water bill!
You might wonder why a water leak detection company is advocating the use of smart water leak detectors? Prevention (or early detection!) is better than cure. If you have a smart water leak alarm in your home or business, and it is suggesting you might have a water leak, contact us for help as soon as you suspect a leak.
We hope you’ve found our guide to the details and equipment of advanced leak detection systems and processes. Hopefully you won’t have a pipe leak in your home but, if you do, contact us for help from our team of water leak detection experts.
Here are some other similar articles you might find interesting too:
- Water Leak Between Meter And House
- Shower Leaking Through Ceiling
- E119 Boiler Fault Code
- Vaillant F22 Boiler Fault
- Combi Boiler Leaking
- Vaillant F75 Boiler Fault
Advanced Leak Detection FAQs:
What is the most effective leak detection method?
There is not one single best water leak detection method that does everything. The best advanced leak detection systems utilise a number of complimentary methods to maximise the chances of finding water leaks in your property. These methods often include thermal imaging leak detection, acoustic leak detection, moisture mapping and tracer gas.
What is the new technology for leak detection?
Because professional leak detection methods utilise a number of methods, and a variety of leak detector devices, the technology widespread and involves a number of manufacturers and developers. Accordingly, there are many new devices being launched each year, with great leaps and improvements in things such as thermal imaging water leak detection as the infrared cameras get more advanced and detailed.
What is the most reliable leak detection method?
There is no single ‘catch all’ water leak detection method. Firstly because the type of leak will vary, as will the location and layout of the property. Also, different types of leak are best detected by specific methods which may not be the best option for others. Finding a boiler pipe leak is very different to finding a toilet leak. Plus the methods can work together effectively to compliment each other and increase performance.