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by Anthony Johnstone, Access Detection

Modern advances have made the detection of leaks in pipe networks easier than ever before. But while modern telemetry systems warn operators of the potential for leaks in a water network, what they don’t do is teach operators how to actually find the leak.

Emphasis on correlation, looking at displays and inaccurate information to locate leaks have resulted in many dry holes being dug, with no water leak being found. The use of correlation equipment requires detailed information and an accurate location of the service and the distance between these two points. Material and diameters of the service are also required to get the best results with this technology. Some of this information may not be available, or may have changed without being updated in the GIS mapping system, which can affect the accuracy of correlation.

The old fashioned method of walking the line, listening on fittings and using your ground microphone along the path of the service can result in a quick and efficient form of leak detection with less dry holes. This does take a small amount of skill to get good results, but once operators get to know the operation of their instrument, and with proper training, traditional leak detection is a very cost-effective way of locating leaks accurately. Of course a good quality leak detection device also helps and there are many good brands out there.

So what’s new with traditional acoustic listening devices and what should a potential purchaser look for in selecting an acoustic water leak instrument? Some of the new features on more advanced machines are as follows:

Cordless microphones

These have the advantage of not being tethered by a cable, which removes the noise associated when moving the microphone and receiver. Not having to touch the handle, and the lack of cord means less distractions for the operator. Another advantage is no wearing plugs or leads to replace, and better water protection. Of course disadvantages are that they require a battery to power the microphone transmitter, so users need to have a unit with at least a day’s worth of battery power for leak detection.

Cordless headphones

Cordless headphones can also be advantageous. It is crucial to use a high quality set with good communications – a cheap Bluetooth set will not cut it when doing water leak detection. Reduction in outside noise and headphone noise is critical.

LCD touch screens

The ability to add easy-to-use features or expand on the system using the latest touch screens can create informative and easy-to-use systems. In some cases these systems will assist and advise the operator on what microphone they should use for a particular task.

Digital microphone technology

Good quality microphones are an essential part of a water leak detector’s system. Advancements in microphone and filtering technology can reduce unwanted noise, and offer better filtering so operators can better detect the smaller leaks on services. Microphones should have full IP65 or 68 housings, be isolated from outside noise and should be robust, as these parts of your system take the most abuse from day-to-day use, cheap plastic housings won’t last long with our harsh climates.

Remember, detectors don’t have to have the latest system to achieve good results, and a good system in good working order with a knowledgeable trained operator will find the majority of leaks. Less gimmicks and good performance will always work better.

It pays to be sure of what a particular machine is being used for, and in some cases, a basic listening device is fine. It’s also worth remembering that multi-function machines that trace both gas and acoustic tend to be compromised as a system, usually with a cheaper microphone and sensor technology. Purchasing a dedicated system for the task at hand will always be a better choice.

A revolution in acoustic leak detection

Sewerin is highly regarded in the water and gas leak detection industry with over 60 years’ experience manufacturing equipment. Access Detection and their staff have worked with Sewerin and their equipment for over 13 years. The original Aquaphon EW is still manufactured today under the A100 name tag and this unit has provided professional water leak contractors with years of trouble-free quality leak detection.

The new A200 is Sewerin’s most advanced acoustic leak detection unit available. Developed based on expertise and customer feedback, Sewerin determined what was important for the operator in their day-to-day leak detection. The first thing that was improved was the filtering and microphone technology, combining the latest digital sound processing. Combined with the addition of cordless microphones, it gives the operator less noise interference, improving on location and pinpointing of a water leak.

The next improvement was the receiver interface. The new colour touchscreen guides new operators through simple set-up and offers advanced operators complete control of filtering, headphone protection levels, microphone selection and recording of leak noises for future reference. The system is open to future updates with a flexible interface.

The new connection handle allows the operator a single interface to use all the cordless microphones including TM200 contact microphone, BM200 hard surface and BM230 soft surface ground microphones. The unit also has a UM200 universal corded microphone for internal leak detection in houses and confined areas.

All these advancements help operators determine leak position more quickly and easily than ever before. Aquaphon EW & A100 professional leak operators who have upgraded to the new Aquaphon A200 are already having great success with the unit and are giving great feedback on the new product.

If you would like more information on the new A200 or any other Sewerin Product, contact Access Detection on 02 9999 0777 or visit www.accessdetection.com.au.

Jessica Dickers is an experienced journalist, editor and content creator who is currently the Editor of Utility’s sister publication, Infrastructure. With a strong writing background, Jessica has experience in journalism, editing, print production, content marketing, event program creation, PR and editorial management. Her favourite part of her role as editor is collaborating with the sector to put together the best industry-leading content for the audience.

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