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How to find a leak

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  • How to find a leak

    When we install a new gas system we test it with air to 30 lbs.. if there is a leak we have to spray every fitting with soap and water.. is there an easyer way?

  • #2
    that's not only the easiest way but the best. even when the line has gas in it, a sniffer is too slow and not as accurate as a soap test.
    the moral of this is not to have a leak. what was the cause of a threaded system leaking? find the cause and correct it for the next time.
    just located a leak tonight on a gas meter plastic dielectric bushing. the gas co. will come tomorrow to fix it. the leak was so small that a normal sniffer would not have found it. soap did it real quick and simple.



    • #3

      Do you really think soap is faster than a sniffer? I have both Tif and Bacharach sniffers and I can walk into a plant and test hundreds of fittings in a small portion of the time I could soap them. I agree it is a good idea to verify with soap once you've narrowed it down but I have been fairly impressed with sniffers.


      BTW: How was your trip?

      [ 11-14-2005, 11:27 PM: Message edited by: ToUtahNow ]
      "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

      I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!


      • #4
        mark, once again the trip was good. the mosquitos loved me.

        2 issues with a gas sniffer. the tif unit detects any flammable / combustable substance. it can and will pick up on pipe dope. also if you blow into it, it will register and you don't even have to be drinking. try it. a gas system can't be tested with anything other than clean air. co2 and nitrogen are accepted too. therefore a sniffer would be useless in this application. the other model you mentioned, i'm not sure of.

        the leak that i found today on a plastic dielectric bushing was so small that even with soap took over a minute to register small bubbles. i know that the tif sniffer would not have picked up on it. the leak found was not the real issue with the smell the customer called about.

        a soapy solution in a spray bottle is much faster than a sniffer and a ladder. plus there is no false readings on a soap test. the sniffer will give you a false reading under the right conditions. plus moving from joint to joint on a ladder is no fun. you should know that better than anyone.

        a sniffer is pretty good to bring you to a general location. such as inside of a metal fireplace, or a stud bay.
        3 years ago i spent 2 days looking for a major gas leak that the gas co. isolated to inside the 5 story building. after spinning my wheels with a small compressor and finally a 165 cfm compressor. i used more common sense than gas co. advice. there was no way that a leak of this size could hide from a human ear. a simple garden hose and water soaked on the dirt over the 30' of underground piping was all that it took. the ground started to bubble.
        so much for the gas co's sofisticated sniffers. same issue on another building.



        • #5
          Air test is the only way here to pass an inspection, and it's also the best. 30 pounds is a bit much though, I usually only pump in about 10 with a retard gauge and let it sit overnight, if it has'nt fallen any it's good to go.


          • #6
            Oh and yes, spraying soap solution is the best and fastest way to FIND a leak once you know you have one. I have a gas detector (sniffer) too but many times the thing has actually missed very small leaks where the soap bubbled up right away. If you have good light and keep a sharp eye on your bubbles and spray all the fittings good, you can't go wrong, and you can use the money you save to buy your wife a night on the town.

            [ 11-15-2005, 03:08 AM: Message edited by: AZPlumber ]


            • #7
              I love the sniffer, but to reply to the original post....on a new instalation the meter would not be hooked up so there would be no gas in the system, and the bubble spray is the best way to find leaking air. PS. If your confident in your work and suspect a leak, I always start with the ball valve packing.


              • #8
                Don't forget to soap your test gauge and valve as well. Disconnect the compressor and spay around the chuck or fitting.

                On rare occasions you will find a leak in the actuall pipe itself.
                Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.


                • #9
                  I did a job in a city required 30# test.

                  If the gauge indicates a loss of pressure, I spray the gauge first. I have a habit of not tightening up the gauge for fear of cracking the body.