Using tracer gas is a proven method of locating and pinpointing hard to find leaks. Tracer gas can be used in gas and water services, distribution networks, pipelines in buildings, heating systems, pressurised communication cables, gas-filled high voltage power lines, and landfill sites sealed with double membrane layers.
Detecting leaks by tracer gas involves feeding a mixture of 95% nitrogen (carrier gas) and 5% hydrogen into the pipelines or other equipment/ products being tested.
Hydrogen is one of the lightest gasses and due to this it escapes through the smallest of leaks and seeks the shortest route from the leak to the surface. Tracer gas permeates all cover layers such as asphalt, concrete and other seal coats. The gas is then detected by the highly sensitive, specialised sensor. Tracer gas is environmentally-neutral and once it has made its way up through the surface it quickly dissipates.
This diagram shows the Hydrogen in the tracer gas escaping through the leaking pipe before rising and permeating through the surface and being detected by the bell probe (above ground probe).
The low amount of hydrogen (just 5%) means that this method is safe. The gas is non-combustible and through the use of nitrogen as the carrier gas it can be safely used to locate leaks on gas mains and consumer piping.
Tracer gas is non-toxic and is permitted for use in drinking (potable) water networks. In addition to this it is non-corrosive and therefore has no effect on the pipework it is being run through.
Our tracer gas detection system has diagnostic probes for internal use. A bell type probe (pictured) is used for the detection of gas above ground and a bar hole probe for probing and confirming localisation of leaks in the ground.
We have a custom made trailer designed specifically to safely carry the tracer gas and equipment. This enables us to be mobile in our set up. As the feed hose and equipment can be set up quickly and efficiently, this reduces the set up time and enables us to be quick and efficient in locating hard to find leaks.