Acoustic Leak Detection (ALD)
Internet of things (IoT)

Posted on Monday, October 7, 2019 by Sune Dupont

Test your leak detection skills

Can you identify different sound patterns and tell whether it is a leak or not?

Sound of a leak

Not all acoustic noise in your pipes come from leakages. In fact, there are several noises that can interfere when you are trying to detect a leak. Other sounds such as a water pump, the traffic above ground or even rain can cause interference as well. All these sources creates noise that our water meter, the flowIQ® 2200, registers. During the development of the water meter we collaborated a lot with different utilities in order to learn how a leak does and does not sound. So we had several meetings where all we discussed was where to listen and what to listen for. These meetings and tests provided us with valuable insight about how water leaks sound like and what kind of acoustic pattern they create. .

In the videos below you can test your own leak detection skills and try to listen to four different source of noise. See if you can separate them and guess which one is an actual leakage.


Test your listening skills and detect a leak

Could you recognize all four sounds of noise and guess which ones were leaks? 

Leak detection before the meter installation in service connections and distribution mains can be a big challenge, so we decided to create a new water meter that could assist in the leakage detection process of tracing water leaks. The idea behind was to integrate acoustic leak detection directly in the meter by using the ultrasonic technology to detect noise patterns that indicate a possible leak.

We tested our ideas and prototypes a lot with utilities in order to understand the regular way of identifying leaks and how best to use noise as a way to optimise how utilities locate leaks today. 

                                                            Fun fact - we actually started testing prototypes in a sandbox that we built at our headquarter in Stilling, Denmark. 

But how does it work?

When water flows through a leaking pipe it creates a different sound pattern than water flowing through an intact pipe. The acoustic will change and make different sounds and noise value depended on the size of the leak or burst.

With ultrasonic sensors, the flowIQ® 2200 registers these sound patterns and sends back the lowest value recorded over a 24-hour period. This is done to ensure that it filter out background noises such as the traffic aboveground or the normal daily water consumption within the house. If the lowest registered noise value exceeds a certain level, there is a high risk of leakages or bursts in that given installation or area.

Along with the accompanying analytics tool, Leak Detector, you will be able to get more transparency in your network than ever before.

Click here to read more about the next generation of smart meters and watch the video below to see a real-life case of the new smart meters in action


Field test example

VCS Denmark participated in the field testing of the new solution with Acoustic Leakage Detection. Watch the video below to see a real-life case of the new smart meters in action.

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