Ultrasonic leak detectors can be used to detect any type of gas, including CFC, HFC, nitrogen, CO2, steam, and others. The volume of the leak’s sound is dependent on the amount of pressure in the system. The higher the pressure, the easier it will be to hear the leak. In order to be successful, this method of leak detection must be performed in an area that is completely quiet.
This factor greatly reduces the commonality of ultrasonic leak detectors. These particular detectors are always light weight and portable, so much so that they can be carried around by plumbers, who might use them in domestic plumbing situations where a natural gas leak or refrigerant leak is possible. Of course, because of the necessary silence involved, other methods, such as electronic detectors or gas detectors are most likely attempted first.
Being hand held is another characteristic that makes it easier when ultrasonic detectors are employed seeking large gas leaks in industrial environments. In those situations it may be that the piping suspected of leaking is underground or in the walls, and having easily maneuverable equipment speeds up the process considerably.
The specific process ultrasonic detectors use to locate gas leaks is called heterodyning. It is incredibly close to the technology utilized by radio transmissions and the ultrasound sonograms parents view their unborn children through. The sound wave that is unheard by the human ear is located by the detector and translated into an electronic impulse that tells the tester where to go.
It is a much safer option then some detector processes that involve open flames and the potential for fire or explosions. This technological advance in leak detection is important because it has reduced the hazardous exposure to chemicals, which occurs with more involved detection processes.
Also, with the help of the portable ultrasonic leak detectors, technicians with little to no experience are able to use this product and successfully detect and mark a pipe or vessel that is leaking.