Every year, plumbing leaks are responsible for hundreds of millions worth of property damage in Australia alone. Water damage can result in a variety of problems, many of which are hard to predict. An under the sink pipe leak, pinhole leaks in copper piping, a burst hot water tank or a leaking mains pipe can all result in sagging ceilings, failed plumbing, and destroyed insulation.
Luckily, water damage is an avoidable disaster. Water leak detection systems can be installed alongside your home or building’s plumbing infrastructure. Leak detection systems make use of various sensors to carefully monitor the flow of water as it runs through the pipes, and can shut off the main supply upon noticing any irregularity. This ensures that your property is protected from severe damage and astronomical repair bills.
What Is A Leak Detection System?
A leak detection system monitors the flow of water through pipes. When irregular behaviour is detected, the system turns off the water supply to the entire home or building by closing the main water valve. Leak detection systems are typically installed at the water’s main point of entry into your property. This is done to ensure that no matter what happens, water flow can be turned off from every fixture or appliance, thereby safeguarding your property from catastrophic and costly damage.
Whether a pipe bursts behind a wall or a tub is left running too long, or a toilet flapper becomes stuck, a leak detection system will immediately notice the increase in water usage and switch off your water supply automatically.
Detecting Pipe Leaks Using Sensors
There are various sensors used to detect water leaks in pipes:
1). Ultrasonic Wave Sensors
Ultrasonic water leak detection systems work by monitoring water flow through ultrasonic wavelengths. The systems observe the pattern of water flow by counting the volume of water passing through the sensor and sonically recording the time delay. Any irregular water patterns within your pipes are detected by the ultrasonic wave sensors.
These leak detection systems are programmable, which means that they can be customised to turn off the water supply based on your average usage patterns. They can also connect to your mobile phone via an app, sending you alerts when they detect abnormal water patterns. This means that you can safeguard your property even when you are away.
2). Moisture Detecting Sensors
Other pipe leak detection systems can turn off the water when they detect the presence of moisture or water in a specific area. These systems make use of moisture detecting sensors that are placed in strategic locations like underneath floorboards, sinks and other areas that are prone to water leaks. These systems are commonly used in hotels and other hospitality establishments to prevent flooding and water damage caused by pipe leaks.
Causes Of Water Leaks
Water leaks are commonly caused by issues like ageing plumbing, corrosion, extreme pressures and water hammer. Water hammer is a significant rise in water pressure that occurs as a result of water stopping abruptly or changing directions. When you switch on a tap to wash your hands, water rushes through the pipe and out through the tap.
When you close the tap handle, all the inertia and energy propelling the water from the main supply is met with a hard stop. This sudden dissipation of energy and shift in momentum is known as hydraulic shock or water hammer.
The best way to prevent water leaks is to ensure that the water pressure in your home is well below the required average. Also, installing a water leak detection system can help you identify pipe leaks early enough to avoid further damage to your plumbing infrastructure and property. Regular replacement of old pipes, fittings and fixtures is also highly recommended.