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Radiant leak detection

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Zman
Zman Member Posts: 7,605
I have been doing quite a bit a leak troubleshooting lately. I was able to get a good deal (I hope) on a used http://www.thesmokemachine.com/ezsmoke/. This should be a good tool for finding leaks in plumbing vents, ducts and general building science issues. I will report back when I get it set up.

It seams like there is a real demand for higher pressure applications, especially in slab radiant heat and snow melt as well as underground hot tub and pool piping. I have been looking into getting a helium detection setup, but the sniffers are pretty expensive. Rental is an option, especially if a few jobs could be combined. http://portableleakdetectors.com/content/FLUIDX_Rental_Agreement_Web_Form1.pdf

I got to wondering about the UV dye that you AC guys use. If it could be combined with helium (lighter than air and small atom) would you be able to see it coming through the slab at night with a black light? Would the dye mix with helium? How do you do it? Has anyone already tried this?

Thanks in advance,

Carl
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
Albert Einstein

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  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    I've had excellent luck with Flir camera on radiant leaks. Shows up as a blob or blotch.

    I've used smoke machine to detect plumbing leaks in vents/ductwork as well. Cant remember make or model though. Worked quite well with a good light!
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,467
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    Zman said:

    I have been doing quite a bit a leak troubleshooting lately. I was able to get a good deal (I hope) on a used http://www.thesmokemachine.com/ezsmoke/. This should be a good tool for finding leaks in plumbing vents, ducts and general building science issues. I will report back when I get it set up.

    It seams like there is a real demand for higher pressure applications, especially in slab radiant heat and snow melt as well as underground hot tub and pool piping. I have been looking into getting a helium detection setup, but the sniffers are pretty expensive. Rental is an option, especially if a few jobs could be combined. http://portableleakdetectors.com/content/FLUIDX_Rental_Agreement_Web_Form1.pdf

    I got to wondering about the UV dye that you AC guys use. If it could be combined with helium (lighter than air and small atom) would you be able to see it coming through the slab at night with a black light? Would the dye mix with helium? How do you do it? Has anyone already tried this?

    Thanks in advance,

    Carl

    I had LeakBusters find leaks in two different slabs for me. He had a selection of devices, cameras, gas, and sound.
    Both systems he pinpointed multiple leaks within a few inches with sound.

    He would pump air with a small amount of water as it made more noise than just air, a gurgle soon is easier to detect he claimed. Then he slid a large metal disc connected to a headset across the slab.
    One was a driveway, the other an inside heat slab. Both were old rubber tube systems and had holes in the bottom of the tube where they touched the ground and insulation. Almost looked like a bore hole from some insect.

    He had a lot of experience with locating leaks in swimming pools and steam lines on Navy ships. He would just try various methods until he located the leaks.

    Keep adding tools to your arsenal.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    ZmanSolid_Fuel_Man