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leaks in construction


Leaks in water supply installations, roofs, balconies

Symptoms in the form of visible stains on the partitions can be attributed to two sources, depending on their location:

if symptoms occur without any connection with water system, this may be caused by rainwater or condensation.

if symptoms occur in the vicinity of a water system, leaks from the water system may be the cause.


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Using the thermographic camera in this case allows localisation of the damaged area. It is usually much larger than the area visible to the naked eye.

If water gets in between the wall and the insulation, damage from the outside will not be visible for a long time. This is often not one place but larger surface with micro leaks that cause e.g. infiltration of rainwater.

Leaks in the form of stains can be visible in areas far from their source due to the fact that water penetrates into the building’s structure and spills over a large area.

Examination using the thermographic camera along with the measurement of moisture content allows determination with a significant level of probability of the area where the source of water ingress is located. However, this can be very time-consuming activity.

This is illustrated below. The inspiration for this examination was water flowing on a window sill with no visible signs on the wall inside the building. The examination carried out from the outside revealed the infiltration, which allowed the location of a leak in the roof finishing. Rainwater got between the wall and polystyrene that was used to insulate the building. In visible light the damage from the leakage are not yet visible on the outer wall.

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Noticeable losses of water in the heating circuit are an indication that installation was unsealed and water comes out of the circuit. A patch close to the installation with utility water is also the sign of leaks in the installation. The use of the thermographic camera in these cases is also very helpful. Many cases can be accurately located.

Where water installations are conducted in partitions, for example in the roof – distribution of heat to individual heaters, in addition the installation is also thermally insulated and covered with a layer of screeds, on which the floor is placed, the thermographic camera is not able to locate the leak, but will however show an extensive area with variable temperature. Due to the insulating layer in the form of insulating coatings, screeds and floor, the time needed for creation of the temperature difference visible by the camera is very long, which automatically expands the search area. To accurately locate the leak in this case another method of exploration shall be used. It consists of “detecting” the sound generated by the water leaking from the installation under pressure.

Devices using this technique are called stetophones. Any leakage from the system under pressure, even the smallest one is causing the sound wave in the material surrounding the installation. Extremely sensitive microphones and high gain allow hearing these sounds. By identifying the frequency and intensity of sound it is possible to precisely locate the source of the leak.

Regardless the type of leakage, the thermographic camera can record the actual area of ​​damage, which is typically quite different from the one that can be seen. This is essential to record the losses due to leakage and to obtain possible compensation.

The thermographic camera used to detect leaks in water installations is a very useful tool but not the only one. Necessary equipment supporting such operations is for example: stetophone, various humidity meters or contact thermometer.

Determining the direction of installations (different) in the wall, floor, ceiling

There are situations that require identification of the direction of heating installations or distribution of the heating medium in the floor to perform boreholes. Also in this case the infrared camera is a perfect tool for this purpose but it does not provide an absolute degree of certainty of finding something surprising underneath such as electrical wires if they are routed not in line with the documentation. To avoid such surprises, the surface is checked by means of an instrument that detects, for example, the location of electrical wires. With this device it is also possible to determine the location of heating cables, cabling depth and the material the cables are made of.





Innovation Works 1, Unit 6
Technology Park
Co. Tipperary

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