Helium for leak detection

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by FIMCO-MEISTER, May 18, 2012.

  1. This may have been discussed before but I had American Leak Detection out for a sewer reroute. Pretty cool work with the camera and all. He had the 4,000 version that allowed the camera head to be traced for location and depth. He explained to me how he finds irrigation leaks. Pumps helium in the mainline and has a ppm measuring device that tells him when he is standing right over the spot the helium is escaping.
  2. SoCalLandscapeMgmt

    SoCalLandscapeMgmt LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,829

    We used them to find a leak on a 3" irrigation main. They used the helium trick and it worked awesome. The mainline on this particular site is burried at almost a 4' depth and the water was surfacing about 400' away from where the leak actually was. The site had a slight slope to it and the water was just following the mainline underground and surfacing elsewhere. After I had two guys looking for this leak for a day and a half the $400 that I paid to Americal Leak Detection was well worth it.
  3. This guy covers all Montana, n. Wyoming, west side of n. Dakota. 2 hour minimum 250.00 plus a 1.75 per mile. Showed me the stock in his van. Didn't see a shovel. Pretty cool job.
  4. 1idejim

    1idejim LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,440

    most camera heads have a trace wire or a sonde attachment peter

    the helium actually needs a path to surface pete, the trace may be mislead by hardscapes so drilling sniffer holes may be required
  5. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,979

    I've used them, too. I'd suggested they use nitrous oxide rather than helium; so rather than talking like like Donald Duck, you'd get a good buzz. :dizzy:
  6. His did but he says a lot of plumbers that use cameras don't spend the extra to make it traceable. He had the rigid snake seeker and let me be the key grip.

    He technique with helium was to keep the psi down to around 5 and avoid flooding the area with helium. If you don't know where the leak is you don't know where to put the sniffer holes. Helium will eventually get to the top.
  7. SoCalLandscapeMgmt

    SoCalLandscapeMgmt LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,829

    That is one thing that we had to do. We knew the path of the mainline because we traced the control cable that was in the same trench. We walked the path and poked a bunch of holes in the soil with a probe and it helped them locate the leak a lot quicker. They were within 2 feet of the break. It was actually an old repair that some asshad had done long before we started working on the property.
  8. 1idejim

    1idejim LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,440

    well these people whom i have dealt with have a 512Hz camera

    and then for the lower price guys

    it's a sales pitch pete
    helium is only as accurate as its escape route, the equipment is pricey too.

    if the suspected leak is under roads or hardscape you must drill holes through the surface in order to allow the helium to rise vertically

    this guys not a fan

    as far as helium goes, i would use it if i thought it was worth the cost and trouble but i have also posted using air at 5 psi before too
  9. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,979

    A compressor, set low, as Jim suggested, with the water on, will find most leaks.
  10. If the suspected leak is under roads and hardscapes I doubt he would use helium at all. Always a situation one can hypothesize the failure of any tool. As for his helium tanks he had one big advantage over an air compressor. Didn't need to find power or start it up and cause a racket. Picky picky picky

Share This Page