Detecting a central heating leak
A consistent loss in water pressure was causing our client’s central heating to shut down. The client’s initial thoughts were that there was a problem with the hot water boiler. However, this seemed unlikely as the boiler had only been installed nine months earlier. The company who installed the boiler suggested that there may be a leak within the central heating system.
The customer decided to seek the services of a water leak detection company and contacted us.
Consistent losses in water pressure are often a symptom of a water leak and we were fairly confident that there was a central heating leak. However, central heating systems run throughout a home and there were no obvious signs of a water leak. A visual inspection revealed no signs of water leakage on any of the surfaces throughout the customer’s home.
It was possible that the leak had not long developed and the tell-tale signs were yet to surface. We started by running a complete thermal image scan of the customer’s home. Thermal imaging would show any ‘anomalies’ caused by hot leaking water.
Anomalies were found in two of the bedrooms. Multiple leaks seemed unlikely at this stage, and it was possible that the anomalies we were detecting were caused by steam and condensation from a nearby leaking pipe.
We needed to detect the real source of the central heating leak and we didn’t want to excavate multiple areas within the two bedrooms. Our next option was to drain the central heating system and inject a tracer gas into the pipes. Tracer gas is partially comprised of hydrogen, a tiny atom which can pass through surfaces on floors and walls.
The tracer gas was injected and sensors placed within the suspected rooms. Very quickly the source of the leak was narrowed to an area approximately 50cm2.
The area was easily accessible by raising the carpet and removing a floorboard. A visual inspection confirmed the source of the leak. As part of our additional leak repair service, we quickly repaired the leak.
A subsequent series of pressure tests confirmed that the leak had been repaired and the other ‘anomalies’ (that the thermal imaging camera had detected) began to disappear. The floorboards were re-fitted and the carpet re-laid.