Water leaks are a common problem and can be very costly for households. Not only do they waste money, but they can also lead to damp properties and encourage mold growth.
Thankfully, modern Leak Detection Los Angeles technology can pinpoint the source of these problems without the need for expensive excavation work. Read on to learn more about the different methods for detecting leaks.
Sonic Leak Detection
Ultrasonic leak detection systems use a microphone to detect sound waves created by turbulent water movement. When the waves reach an object, such as a pipe, they bounce back to the source and create an audible signal. Some systems can also measure the intensity of the sound waves to find the location of the leak. Ultrasonic leak detectors are commonly used in commercial settings for detecting sewage and plumbing problems, but they are also available to homeowners.
In order to hear a leak, the probe must be placed in close proximity to it. Other sources of noise in the vicinity can mask or confuse a leak sound, so it is important to scan all areas around the suspected location of the leak. A hissing sound is the most common signal of a leak. If the sound becomes louder, it indicates that the probe is closer to the leak site.
Leak detection equipment typically uses an audio amplifier to amplify the inaudible sounds that are picked up by the ultrasound microphone. The amplified signals are then processed using a technique called heterodyning to convert the varying frequency waves into audible sound. The final signal is then fed into a headset and displayed as a sound level or meter reading.
Other sources of noise can interfere with ultrasound scanning, including compressed air tools and equipment, fast-switching electronics (such as arc lights), and the ambient sound from nearby traffic and other locations. In addition, the sensitivity of the ultrasound instrument is also important to consider. The higher the sensitivity rating of the instrument, the more likely it is to pick up the sound of a leak.
Leak detection sensors can be wired into an automated system, which will monitor the water flow in a building and provide alerts when leaks are detected. The sensor can be programmed to shut off the water supply in the event of a leak and help prevent a flood. It can also be programmed to send an alert to a smart device, such as a smartphone or tablet, so that the homeowner can take action immediately.
LiDAR (light detection and ranging) is a surveying technology that uses a laser to measure distance. It sends pulses of light out and measures how long it takes for those signals to return. Then it creates a 3-D point cloud of the environment with the results. It’s used in a variety of ways for many different applications including topographic mapping, archeology, and autonomous vehicles.
Modern LiDAR systems can send 500,000 pulses per second, aggregating them into a point cloud, which is a dataset of coordinates that represents objects in the world. The data is analyzed and cleaned to remove anomalous signals. Ground surface features like buildings, riverbanks, and forest canopy are algorithmically identified. Then the data is downsampled and compressed to reduce file size. Finally, it’s transformed into LAS, which is an industry-standard format for 3-D x,y,z points.
Most of the information about an object that returns a laser signal is encoded in its intensity, but some information about its location is also available. LiDAR vendors usually add an attribute field to the resulting LAS dataset that contains a coded value indicating what type of object each returned signal reflected off of. This coding can be helpful when looking at the point cloud, as it helps differentiate between real and non-real objects such as balloons floating in the air or large rocks that might confuse an autonomous vehicle for a threat.
In addition to the aforementioned information, LiDAR point attributes may include the number of returns and their intensity, point classification values, points that are on the edge of the flight line, RGB (red, green, blue) values, GPS time, scan angle, and INS (inertial measurement unit) information. The latter two are important because of the sensitivity of LiDAR systems to tilt.
LiDAR is becoming more and more popular due to its speed, accuracy, and cost effectiveness. Research teams are aiming to make it even more portable and affordable. This could allow for more widespread use of the technology for everything from hazard assessment (including volcanic eruptions, floods, landslides, and tsunamis) to natural resource management, including monitoring water flow and vegetation growth, and to even assist with construction and mining operations.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)
UAVs are a key component of many commercial and industrial applications. They enable a wide range of remote sensing (RS) tasks, including aerial photography, surveying, and map production. In addition, the low cost of UAVs makes it possible to fly them with specialized sensors that would be too expensive or impractical to operate on larger platforms. The resulting high-resolution imagery and data can be used to improve the accuracy of RS solutions such as land-cover classification, change detection, and thematic mapping.
Originally, UAVs were developed as military airborne surveillance systems. The Israeli Defense Forces began to use drones resembling large model airplanes in the 1980s, fitted with cameras and infrared sensors for day and night surveillance, and trainable laser-guided munitions that were downlinked to a ground control station. Other armed forces soon followed suit.
In more recent years, civil and commercial operators have adopted the technology. Drones are now widely employed by the transportation industry for cargo and passenger tracking, as well as for inspection and maintenance of bridges, roads, highways, power lines, buildings, and other infrastructure. UAVs are also a key tool in search and rescue operations, providing a high-resolution view of an area that may be difficult or dangerous for human operators to reach. They can also be equipped with thermal imaging cameras to help locate survivors in emergency situations.
The Schmidt Ocean Institute supports the operation of drone or UAV systems on R/V Falkor, either as rental systems for supported projects or as a platform to enable Falkor sensors to cover much greater distances than are practical with traditional, ground-based equipment. These systems can range from small, consumer grade quadcopter units – often used for videography – to gasoline powered UAVs capable of carrying sensor payloads and covering over 100 km at a time.
UAVs can be operated autonomously, requiring only pre-programmed flight and mission instructions to be uploaded to onboard computers; or they can be piloted remotely by an operator from anywhere on the earth with an adequate communications link between the UAV and its controller. The latter option allows for highly accurate tele-operation of even very large UAVs.
Thermographic imaging relies on capturing infrared radiation to create images, particularly when operating in low-visibility environments. Thermal imaging is a technology that has traditionally been a military-only technology, but its advancements and the commercial and industrial applications for this kind of equipment have made it a valuable tool in many different industries.
Thermal imaging is often used to locate objects, especially when they are inaccessible or dangerous to reach with other inspection tools. It is a non-destructive, contactless way to see what is happening inside mechanical or electrical systems. In addition, it is a great tool to use when determining where a leak or problem may be coming from. It can help to pinpoint a source of a leak or issue by seeing where warmer temperatures are located within a system.
In a colour thermographic display, warmer components or regions are shown as reds and oranges and cooler areas will be displayed in greens and purples (blues are usually reserved for room temperature surfaces). This makes it easy to distinguish warm from cool components or to find a hot spot that needs further inspection. As a visual representation, thermal detection imaging can also be helpful when communicating to other team members.
Despite being non-destructive, this technology is limited by its ability to only detect surface temperatures, which can be impacted by the weather and by obstacles such as walls or other structures. It is important for inspectors to know these limitations and be sure to take into consideration other factors, such as emissivity, when making a decision about the source of a problem.
For example, the recent pandemic has prompted many employers to implement systems capable of contactlessly and continuously measuring people’s skin temperature and detecting cases of elevated body temperature – one of the key signs of H1N1 influenza. This type of sensor can be used to prevent or mitigate the spread of infection by ensuring employees remain at a safe and comfortable working temperature in high footfall areas.
Other practical uses include using it to locate leaking or overheating pipes and junction boxes, or identifying areas where thermal insulation is deteriorating and potentially causing a building to leak. In fact, some maintenance technicians rely on this equipment to detect these issues before they cause a major failure.