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Tracer Gas Leak Detection

Tracer Gas Leak Detction

What is Tracer Gas used for Leak Detection?

Tracer gas is a non-destructive method of finding water leaks in properties, most often in pipework in properties. It is injected into the pipework and a tracer gas sniffing device is used to locate the gas escaping from the (what should be) sealed pipework. Tracer Gas Leak Detection is a good method for finding ever small water leaks as the devices used are very sensitive to even small amounts of gas.

What is Gas is used for Leak Detection?

Typically, the gas used in Tracer Gas leak detection is 5% Hydrogen and 95% Nitrogen. According to Wikipedia, the air we breath that makes up the atmosphere on earth has 78% Nitrogen whereas Hydrogen is just 0.000055% of the air on earth – so that means the concentration of hydrogen in Tracer Gas is over 90,000 times more than normally exists.

How does Tracer Gas Work?

In Tracer Gas Leak Detection the gas sniffer devices used are designed to detect Hydrogen in elevated levels. Hydrogen is an extremely small particle so it will escape from even minuscule leaks, certainly those which water can escape from too! After the tracer gas in injected into the pipework system, Leak Detection engineers will use the sniffer device around the house, especially where they know the pipework goes.

Tracer Gas Leak Detection
Tracer Gas Sniffing Device for Leak Detection

Tracer Gas Leak Detector Devices

The tracer gas leak detection device (or ‘sniffer’ as it is often known) not only detects the gas but also shows the strength of the gas so, as they get close to the gas, the reading gets stronger. This is a very useful way of finding water leaks. The good thing about tracer gas is that, because the particles are so small, they can even pass many other materials.

That means if it is an underground water leak or in a wall or ceiling etc, there is still a very strong chance of detection with this method. Tracer gas testing is not the only tool used in leak detection and is not always needed, but it is one of the tools that a leak detection specialist will have available if needed. So that is how you find a water leak with gas!

Tracer Gas Bottle
Tracer Gas Bottle

Is Tracer Gas safe?

The gas used in Tracer Gas Leak Detection is safe, yes. Both of the gases in tracer gas are safe and they remain so in the 95%/5% blend mentioned earlier. After the tracer gas leak detection work is carried out, the water pipes are refilled with water, so removing the gas from the system. It is also approved for being used in water pipework too.

Importantly, the manufacturers who produce tracer gas confirm that it is inert and non-flammable too. We discuss tracer gas in our guide to finding water pipes too.

Water Leak Detection Service
Water Leak Detection Service

Tracer Gas Survey – Get Help

So hopefully you found that information about Tracer Gas Leak Detection useful. If you need help with a water leak that might need tracer gas, get in touch with us today and we will be glad to help. We are experts in advanced water leak detection and water damage too (which you often get with a leak). So not only will we help you find your water leak, we can advice and help with drying or restoring your property after water damage. We can help you work with your insurance company too and even provide insurance grade reports that you can give to your insurance company.

Boiler Pressure Dropping
Boiler Pressure Dropping

See our interesting guide to when you have a leak between house and water meter.

What Happens When you find my Water Leak?

Well that can depend on where the water leak is but once the leak detection specialist has collected enough evidence from the various methods used to find leaks, they will access the leak. This is where the word ‘access’ comes in from Trace & Access on your insurance policy. This allows for the leak to be seen visually, look what might have caused the water leak and of course, fix it wherever possible.

Is Tracer Gas non-destructive?

Yes, on most occasions tracer gas leak detection is non-destructive to your property and possessions. However, when we find a water leak, we may need to access it to ensure the exact location of the leak is pinpointed and to allow for repair. We have a full guide to trace and access processes, which explains how your insurance company may pay for this service for you.

What is Meant by Tracer Gas?

In terms of finding water leaks in properties, tracer gas leak detection is when a gas is put into pressurised heating systems temporarily (in place of water). This gas contains elements that are not found in such concentrations in normal air. The gas will then leak out of any place where there is damage in the pipework and a ‘sniffer’ device (which is calibrated to detect that gas) will alert when the tracer gas is smelt.