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Smoke Testing For Leak Detection

 
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Old 03-06-2018, 11:40 PM   #1
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Smoke Testing For Leak Detection


Anyone ever use smoke testing equipment to detect roof leaks? NYC is becoming popular with roof decks. And that itself presents a challenge when called to address leaks.

Im guess this can be used to detect plumbing leaks as well .
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Old 03-06-2018, 11:59 PM   #2
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Re: Smoke Testing For Leak Detection


Why don't you just get a FLIR Camera? They are getting very affordable the last few years. Mine cost $5,000 4 years ago and now for less than a $1000 I could get a better one.

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Old 03-07-2018, 12:03 AM   #3
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Re: Smoke Testing For Leak Detection


I used to sell smoke machines for automotive repairs. They are a tool that has no equal in the auto industry, mostly used for vacuum leaks. To test for water leaks in vehicles the best way is to pressurize the vehicle using the HVAC fan, and in a calm setting blow the smoke over the outside of the vehicle and look for air blowing the smoke away. The last thing you would want to do is fill the inside of the vehicle with smoke as it would...smell. So I would assume houses would be the same way. Therefore you would need a way to pressurize the home, more specifically the attic, which would mean sealing up the vents.

Looking forward to hearing/learning how it works on houses!
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Old 03-07-2018, 08:26 AM   #4
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Re: Smoke Testing For Leak Detection


Just hire a leak detection specialist, They use cameras and will save you headaches. There are many around the NY area, job I was on had 5 or 6 roofers who could not find the leak until they came. They found it and problem fixed
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Old 03-07-2018, 01:58 PM   #5
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Re: Smoke Testing For Leak Detection


Not going to hire someone to locate a leak . I want to improve my services and invest in the proper equipment to do so .


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Old 03-07-2018, 03:56 PM   #6
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Re: Smoke Testing For Leak Detection


The company that I saw used a $50k system to find the leak. Do you have any idea how much smoke you would need inside a building to find such a leak?

And the cost of cleanup of smoke damage?
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Old 03-07-2018, 08:35 PM   #7
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Re: Smoke Testing For Leak Detection


you are thinking about huge buildings. Im talking about residential homes , single fam, brownstones in brooklyn, and manhattan. Its do able.
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Old 03-07-2018, 08:36 PM   #8
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Re: Smoke Testing For Leak Detection


i was looking into flir cameras also ...
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Old 03-07-2018, 08:47 PM   #9
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Re: Smoke Testing For Leak Detection


I’ve seen “smoke”testing attempted before. They used a Low Volume sprayer with a fogging agent. The pressure in the cavity was the problem so it was not successful.
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Old 03-08-2018, 04:04 PM   #10
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Re: Smoke Testing For Leak Detection


Quote:
Originally Posted by plazaman View Post
you are thinking about huge buildings. Im talking about residential homes , single fam, brownstones in brooklyn, and manhattan. Its do able.
The leak that they found where I was working was in a 2 br apt., I think they were charged $600
What is going to make smoke come out of the small openings? increased air pressure which also will disburse the smoke. Ask any fireman how much smoke has to be in a house before it is seen coming through small openings . You would also have to seal any other openings in the walls and floors.
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Old 03-10-2018, 05:00 PM   #11
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Re: Smoke Testing For Leak Detection


Quote:
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The leak that they found where I was working was in a 2 br apt., I think they were charged $600
What is going to make smoke come out of the small openings? increased air pressure which also will disburse the smoke. Ask any fireman how much smoke has to be in a house before it is seen coming through small openings . You would also have to seal any other openings in the walls and floors.
What was the name of the company? $600 seems reasonable.
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Old 03-12-2018, 09:00 AM   #12
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Re: Smoke Testing For Leak Detection


We purchased a Flir E5 camera several years ago to aid in leak and wet insulation detection.

I've attached an example for you to see.

In the example, the camera takes two photos at once. One in IR and the other in standard photo format. The example shows a known leak area.

Photos were taken late in the day after sunset on a clear day. The sun was on the roof most of the day. The sun warms the moisture trapped under the membrane and in the insulation therefore showing up as warmer than the surrounding area. The brighter the image the warmer the temp. The suspect area is under the window just off the wall flashings and migrating into the surrounding area.

The standing water on the roof surface shows up as cooler because this area is now in the shade and cooled off.

These photos directed the crew to investigate the area and we found two open seams and a core cut confirmed damp insulation.
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Old 03-13-2018, 05:22 AM   #13
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Re: Smoke Testing For Leak Detection


Yes! Actually using leak detector is quite complex but gives fantastic results.
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Old 03-14-2018, 01:13 PM   #14
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Re: Smoke Testing For Leak Detection


Never heard of anyone using smoke to find a roof leak. Usually a visual inspection is all it takes to find a roof leak. I would think smoke would not work well as the attic is not air tight enough to get a good read on it. I do like the FLIR idea but to me even that is overkill. I would be amazed if you mis-diagnose on visual by any more than 1%.

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