Every year, building owners spend excessive amounts of money, repairing leaks that could have been prevented with proper early detection. Damage from leaks can result in increased insurance premiums and expensive repairs to the roof and building interior. A large portion of the repair requests we receive have something to do with leaks or water damage, and being able to detect those kinds of problems early is the best way to keep your building structure functioning at its best. Until recently, having this kind of in-depth analysis was not possible, nor was it cost effective. However, with electronic leak detection systems, we now have the ability to detect even the smallest electronic leaks before them become bigger problems. This is not a panacea and there are limitations to this technology.
What Is Electronic Leak Detection?
Electronic leak detection is a cutting edge technology that has completely changed the way to detect membrane leaks. Because ELD detects membrane faults directly, it eliminates the potential damage and danger that can happen during traditional flood testing. When it comes to keeping your roof in peak condition, and avoiding water damage, being able to check for leaks without cutting open the roof membrane is a huge advantage to insure your roof quality.
How Electronic Leak Detection Works
Electronic leak detection applies a low-voltage electrical current to the top of a wet membrane. The water used during the test passes through the membrane and must touch a conductive substrate (structural concrete or metal). When the equipment passes over a breach, the electrical current flows through the water to the concrete and the electronic sounds an alarm indicating a water path to building ground has been found.
What Kind of Roof Membranes Are Eligible?
Not all roofing systems are conducive to ELD leak detection systems. ELD requires a conductive substrate. Any non-conductive substrates (insulation, cover board, wood or lightweight concrete) block the electrical circuit. To get around this, a conductive medium must be added on top of it during construction. One such option is Detec’s conductive medium is which is called TruGround. It’s approved by most membrane manufacturers (including Siplast, Soprema, IKO, Carlisle Syntec) and works as a conductive primer that enables the electronic leak detection system to function.
Are there different kinds of ELD?
There are four different ways that ELD is facilitated based on the type of roof and the material.
The Integriscanner detects the precise locations where water is penetrating through a breach in the membrane, so repairs can be done as non-invasively as possible.
Vertical Scanning Unit:
The vertical scanning unit is used for areas that are harder to reach. It is used to test parapet walls, seams, and corners among other areas.
The conductive primer is used to allow for electronic leak detection on conventional assemblies. Electronic leak detection requires a conductive substrate directly below the roofing membrane in order for testing to take place.
The permascan system is a 24/7 installed leak detection system that identifies leaks as soon as they occur.
When Should Roofing Membranes Be Checked?
It is customary to either check membranes once or twice per year or else when leaks are reported.
How Long Does ELD Testing Take?
Most ELD test can be done in one working day, depending on the size of the roof in question. Technicians can often test up to 10,000 square feet per day depending upon the complexity of the roof assembly.
Electronic leak detection is one of the best ways to assess any damage to your roofing system and keep larger problems from happening. With this system, we are able to cover larger surface areas with greater accuracy and no augmentations to your roof, so that you can maintain the health of your building for as long as possible. That’s the Elite Advantage.
If you have questions about electronic leak detection, contact us here, or chat with us during working hours. We’re here to help.