HowTo: Check for water leaks

project_hvac

(ravi) #1

Looking for a way to detect water leaks from boiler piping that sits in my loft. Its happened twice in last 6 months.Firstly pipe was leaking small amounts of water in a certain place then this morning our water tank leaked and caused water to go through celling. Thinking there must be a way to use tech to get alerted soon if theres a problem so I can contain the damage.

Option 1 - Moisture sensors? Problem here is that there are pipes all over the loft area that could leak so would need many sensors and I could still miss it

Option 2 - Use a camera? Take picture periodically then check against previous picture for change. Nothing goes on in the loft i.e. the image will be static unless water is leaking onto the wooden flooring in which case the wood gets wet (looks different)

Option 3 - Any other ideas ?

Thanks
JK


(Eric) #2

I am assuming there is not a lot of traffic up there right? But it is a “finished” space?

Option 3 - Call a plumber?


(Ben W) #3

In my attic I have a furnace with a catch pan. Have a pan under my washer (second floor) with the same setup.

Installed one of these up there to alert if there
http://www.lowes.com/pd/Utilitech-White-Flood-Sensor-Works-with-Iris/4740940

Won’t catch small moisture leaks, but would alert on major issues. Figure the catch pan would give me some cushion. I also installed a cutoff valve on my washer, that when leak is detected it turns off water to it (not in ST, https://amzn.com/B00PM9A3TC)

Not sure a camera would work, could see many false alarms due to condensation build up or even small differences in lighting.

These look interesting, not smart. They wrap around the pipes: https://amzn.com/B00HQUXWR0

These are all US devices, I am assuming there are UK equivalents.


(Christopher Masiello) #4

I’m using the Lowes Utilitech in my basement by the Washer and in my Attic by the AC drip pan.


#5

I agree with calling in a tech, whether that’s a plumber or an HVAC technician, to review your set up. Two leaks in six months is way too many. It may be that all your pipes are about the same age and therefore you are seeing degradation that is going to result in many more leaks. We have radiant heating in our house, so this is an issue that has come up for us. Sometimes the pipe just need to be wrapped, sometimes they need to be replaced but I would definitely have somebody look at them.

Next as far as detecting leaks, you want to use a moisture sensor so that it’s not falsely set off by changes in humidity. No big deal, there are lots of those.

Now as far as maximizing the use of a single sensor, what is commonly done for ceilings are called trough pans or troughing systems. This is like a huge catch pan but the trick is that it is slightly sloped to draw the water to certain points and then you put multiple contact points any of which can trigger your actual Notification sensor. There are places that make these, or you may be able to make one for yourself. The concept isn’t that complicated once you’ve seen one. You have to decide what kind of walkways you want to leave in the area, but that just depends on the exact set up and where the pipes are.

Here’s one typical product:

This one cost $750 for a 64 square-foot tray, plus you have to pay for the notification sensor.

https://www.wateralert.com/

I’m not recommending that specific one, I haven’t checked out the company or anything, I’m just saying that’s a typical example and you could research that type of thing further if you think it’s something you would need.

But honestly for most residential installations, it’s just a matter of maintenance on the boiler system so that leaks become very unlikely.


(ravi) #6

Thanks chaps - food for thought - yes have someone looking at the pipes but it did present an interesting question on how best to limit damage in this scenario. I still lean towards imagery only because everything is so static in my setup at least visually. If something does change it means there is an issue. How to implement though is challenging.


(Ray) #7

How about a humidity sensor? Maybe using 2 sensors at different location and comparing them. I think the pan tray is probably the best way to go if it’s not an eye sore.