The Cost of a Leak

Leaks can be costly. If you have a leak in one of your vehicle’s tires, it can cost you more in gas…if you’re lucky. That leak can lead to a blowout, which could cost you your car, or maybe your life. Don’t drive on a leaky tire.

If you have a dripping faucet, it may not bankrupt you – it might be adding a buck or two to your water & sewer bill. It might cost you some sleep, if you can hear it at night…just the thought of it puts an Edgar Allan Poe tale in my head. Most of the time you can fix it with basic hand tools and an o-ring or washer that you can find at any hardware store.

Leaky toilet tanks, on the other hand, can really set you back. A continuous leak into the bowl can set you back $10 a month, or more. Not to sound like a bad prank phone call, but if your toilet’s running, you better catch it, and quick.

Compressed air leaks can be especially costly, because compressing air is an expensive operation. If you have a large leak, you may be able to hear, or even see it. You have to fix those, and you know it. Small leaks are harder to find. Good news is, individually, they’re not costing much. Bad news is, they add up…quickly. Worse news is, they don’t fix themselves. Or find themselves.

If you’re ready for some more good news, here it is: no matter how small a compressed air leak is, it’s producing ultrasonic sound waves. See, during a leak, a fluid moves from high pressure (inside the system) to low pressure (the atmosphere.) As it passes through the leak site, a turbulent flow is generated. This turbulence has strong ultrasonic components, and, usually, the larger the leak, the greater the ultrasound level. “Ultrasonic” simply means that these sound waves are higher in frequency than our ears can hear. However, there are devices that can not only detect these ultrasonic sound waves, but discern them from the industrial din that surrounds them. And we have such a device: the EXAIR Ultrasonic Leak Detector.

I recently had the pleasure of working with a gentleman who was installing a refrigeration system in an ice rink floor. As you can probably imagine, it takes miles of refrigerant tubing to make enough ice to play hockey on. Regardless of the skills and attention to detail of the installers, the sheer number of joints means that there’s a good chance a leak will develop somewhere. This was on the caller’s mind, so he wanted to know if this might be a good application for our Ultrasonic Leak Detector. After I explained the theory behind the device, he agreed to give it a try. All construction leaks were detected when they applied test pressure (air) to the system. After fixing these initial construction leaks, the system was filled with refrigerant, and was started up, leak-free.

Leaks can be costly – do the math.  Or better yet, EXAIR Corporation President Bryan Peters already has.  Whatever’s leaking- steam, pressurized gas, refrigerant, or compressed air – it can be easily located with the Ultrasonic Leak Detector, even in noisy industrial environments.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
(513)671-3363 fax

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