Locating the source of a ceiling leak, can be a deceivingly difficult task. Where the water creates damp and is noticeable, is usually not the actual source of the leak, as water travels along uneven surfaces to pool on flat areas. When you first spot a leak appearing, observe the leak pattern it creates and perhaps take a visit to your attic to see if there are any water trails. If the water drops are dirty, this could mean the leak is coming from your roof. If the leak is on a lower ceiling in your home, the source of the problem may be a little harder to find.
Traditionally, finding a leak was a very long and destructive process, as parts of the home had to be investigated manually to find the leak. This required tradesmen to peel back carpet, drill holes and so fourth, resulting in an expensive bill for the unlucky homeowner. Comprehensive ceiling leak detection can be carried out by Aspect.co.uk experts, who champion the use of ‘trace and access’ techniques, a non-invasive way of finding leaks. New technology allows leaks to be found with very little disruption to your home. This modern technology has also become popular with insurance companies, with most now insisting these non-invasive methods be used when homeowners are processing a claim.
The trace and access method
The trace and access method is widely used by leak experts. Most tradesmen will use a trace and access method when finding a leak, by conducting a few different tests in order to narrow down the possible sources of the leak. Tradesmen will then be able assess how the problem can be fixed and the scale of the job. There are a few different types of tests that can be done to assess the location and size of your leak.
An expert trying to locate a leak in your home, will most likely use a thermal imaging camera as their first point of call. A thermal imaging camera visually shows the temperature of a surface, producing a distinctive bright pattern on the surface. Hot or warm areas, through a thermal image camera will glow a gold or yellow colour, contrasting with cool purple or blue surfaces. A technician will be able to spot a leak, as a wet area will produce a more blurry looking image on a thermal camera, unlike the sharp image produced by water pipes. A thermal imaging camera can be pointed at a ceiling, and see right through it, as it relies solely on heat detection. This handy piece of technology is particularly great at finding leaking pipes and pinpointing where pipe sealant has come loose. Thermal imaging cameras can find large leaks quickly, whilst also detecting areas within your pipe system where there is heat loss.
Borescope cameras are flexible, small cameras that can fit into very small spaces. They are usually attached to a long flexible stem, allowing tradesmen to maneuver them around small spaces. They allow experts visual access into tight, restricted areas so they can continue finding a leak. Borescope cameras can be fed through a small gap, like in your boiler cupboard, or a very small hole can be drilled for access into a wall cavity. Any expert will be able to fill the area quickly again so you aren’t left with an unattractive hole in your wall or ceiling.
Another non-invasive method a technician may use is releasing a harmless, odourless gas into pipes where the suspected leak is located. Gas sensitive probes will then recognise areas in which the gas escapes, allowing a technician to pinpoint the source of a leak. This state of the art method is extremely precise, unlike most technology that has come before it. Tracer gas can be used on almost all surfaces from wood to even concrete.
With new technology and training, a pesky leak will be easily found by an expert technician, with no damage done to your home.