An underground water main break could mean big money. These hidden leaks require some special leak detection expertise. One method to discover these leaks is acoustic leak detection. Finding leaks early can mean a 13 percent increase in water efficiency.
The nature of underground water mains can make it challenging to find these leaks early without specialists and the right equipment. We explain the benefits of acoustic leak detection.
How Does Acoustic Leak Detection Work?
All leaks make noise. Acoustic leak detection is just the art of listening for those leaks. Experts use devices designed specifically for listening for leaks and have extensive training in understanding what they’re listening to and how different leaks can produce different sounds.
A small pinhole in a pipe will make a distinct sound because it produces a high-pressure spray. Believe it or not, the larger leaks are harder to find. The spray is dispersed in a larger area, meaning it’s not the same spraying sound as smaller leaks. Instead, it weeps, oozes or disperses in ways that are more challenging to hear, but still possible to detect. When pipes are corroded, they make a muffled noise.
Not only do leaks make noises, but the pipes that house the water also sound different based on material, direction, etc. Pipes made of iron tend to put off a higher frequency than plastic. Pipe diameter also changes the sound. The larger the pipe, the harder it can be to hear the water flowing through it. The soil and depth of the pipes will also impact the acoustics.
Here are some of the sounds we listen for that alert us in knowing something isn’t right.
- Babbling brook-like noises
Once we find one of these sounds, we move the microphone a few feet in each direction to see whether it gets louder. The location of the leak is where the loudest sounds of the leak are.
Role of Ground Microphones in Leak Detection
As technology advances, so do the methods for detecting leaks. Today, we can put in ground microphones that measure the sounds underground water mains and pipes emit over time.
This can be a permanent fixture on pipes. The microphone attaches to the metal pipe via a magnet and alerts our team when the sound or pitch changes. Ground microphones make it simpler to catch a leak before it costs tons of money and precious water in your community.
Benefits of Acoustic Leak Detection
Without disrupting the ground, acoustic leak detection provides the insights you need to know how best to move forward. The benefits of acoustic leak detection include:
- Confirms whether a leak is present
- No interruption to water service as we don’t turn off service to check for the leak
- The fastest and easiest way to locate leaks
Leak Correlation Explained
Leak correlation is performed by placing 2 sensors on available valves or direct connection to the pipe. Once the time delay is known between the 2 sensors then leak position can be pinpointed for repairs to the pipe.
One final way our experts can detect underground leaks is through an ultrasonic leak detection sensor. The sensor attaches to a cone-shaped device and then is pulled through the waterline. The sensor alerts our team when it finds a flaw in the piping.
During this process, the sensor shows its location so that you know exactly where the issue is and can fix it.
Hiring Underground Leak Detection Experts
If you’re concerned you might have a water main break, call our specialists any time at 203-544-7190. We’re available 24/7 to ACS UNDERGROUND SOLUTIONS | Bedrock profiling with GPR
ACS Underground Solutions has been in business since 1997 and we continue to serve our clients during COVID 19 with the CDC safety guidance put in place. Give ACS Underground Solutions a call at 203-544-7190 to find out more about our services. Our office staff is available Monday-Friday, 8am to 5pm to answer your questions and schedule an appointment. We are a private family owned consulting company with decades of experience and deep expertise in Water Line Leak Detection, Underground Utility Locating with GPR, Underground Storage Tank Locating, Concrete Imaging & Scanning, Drain Pipe Inspections and Infrared Thermal Imaging Services. ACS Underground Solutions serves Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.