How leak detection could save your business

Damage from water, gas, sewage, rainwater, or other leaks can be costly as well as dangerous, and by the time you can catch the drips in a bucket the hidden damage is often extensive and expensive to repair. At Cornerstone, we use the latest technologies available to do non-invasive leak detection – no need to pull up floorboards or rip up plasterboard – so if you suspect you might have a leak, we can pinpoint its location before the damage spreads. With a little bit of luck, you’ll be saved costly repair work and a business shut down.

What is leak detection?

Leak detection covers all the methods and technologies used to detect if a pipe, cistern, septic tank or other sealed container is leaking and includes detecting water leaking into a building, for example from a damaged roof or an overflowing gutter. Historically, leak detection was mainly visual or invasive – you spotted water damage and someone would visit and take up floorboards and make holes in your walls until they found the source. Today, we use advanced technologies and are able to avoid unnecessary invasive inspections.

How do you detect a leak when you can’t see the pipes?

There are a number of ways of looking inside a wall or pipe when visual access isn’t available. A few examples include:

  • Thermal imaging – cameras show heat maps of a space, including behind a wall, making it very clear if, for example, a hot water pipe or boiler is leaking
  • CCTV camera insertion – if we can access a void (such as a gap between walls) or pipe we can insert a small camera which can travel the length of the space and send back images
  • Moisture mapping – using special tools, we can detect higher levels of moisture in the air or walls, using this to trace the path of a leak
  • Acoustic surveys – sensitive microphones can detect the particular sounds, often undetectable to the human ear, which leaks make
  • Tracer gas – using a food grade gas passed through the heating system that when leaking, can be picked up by defined detectors.

Depending on the type of leak we’re looking for, and whether it’s suspected or certain, we may also test the system, for example doing system pressurization tests, on-site salts analysis, water analysis, and other quality and performance tests.

Early signs you may have a water leak

Many water leaks are slow to develop which makes them hard to detect. As a result they can cause thousands of pounds of damage before they are spotted. Don’t ignore these early signs you may have a leak in your water, waste water or sewage systems.

  1. Loss of pressure or performance in a particular tap or system
  2. Bad or unusual smells – may include the smell of sewage, mustiness or damp
  3. Higher water bills – particularly when the property is empty
  4. Marshy or boggy ground – may indicate an underground leak
  5.  Mildew or mould
  6. Bubbling wallpaper or paint or other changes in texture – even if dry to the touch, this typically indicates water has been present
  7. Staining – even if dry to the touch, new and unexpected staining may indicate a leak
  8. Wet or damp areas – last but not least, any areas that are actually wet or damp should be investigated. As water can easily travel, the area may be at some distance from the actual leak, such as a wet carpet on the floor below a leaking sinking.