Using an infrared laser thermometer to find a leak in your home is something that more and more plumbers are actively pursuing. It used to be that you would have to tear up some of the floor, remove cabinets, and have to remodel the kitchen, or bath, just to find the leak. Today, with the use of infrared technology you can easily locate the spot where the leak is coming from without the need for extensive renovations.
What You Need
- Infrared Laser Thermometer
Understand Laser Thermometer
The infrared laser thermometer works in the same way that a radar gun would work. You point the device at the area where you want to take a reading. A small laser is emitted from the device to the place where you are taking the reading. Depending on the temperature of that spot you will have a different color laser shine.
Understand Laser Colors
Most of the infrared laser thermometers all work in the same fashion. The color that the laser is will determine the temperature of the surface at which you are pointing it. For example, if you point the device at something that is colder than the surrounding area, the laser will be blue in color. If the area where you are pointing the device is warmer than the surrounding region, then the laser color will be red. In the event that the area where you are pointing the infrared laser thermometer produces a green or a neutral color laser, as specified in the manual, then the area is at room temperature.
Set Temperature on Thermometer
In order to find water leaks with your infrared laser thermometer you are going to need to make sure it is set at the current temperature. Turn the device on and wait for the system to tell you that it is calibrated with the surrounding temperature. This will give you the ambient air temperature of the home. If you want to have a wall reading then you will need to aim the device at the wall and have it set at that temperature.
Using Infrared Laser Thermometer
When using the infrared laser thermometer you should stand a few feet away from the wall, or hold the device a few feet off the floor, for an accurate reading. Standing too far away will cause the device to give a false reading.
Locate Water Leaks
Once the system is calibrated for your wall, floor, or air temperature you can begin to locate the water leak. Start at the point where you notice the water and follow the laser beam from there. Take notice of the surrounding area and the laser color. If it starts to turn a neutral color then you are straying away from the water leak.
Navigate to Pinpoint Leak
Trace the water trail until you can locate the source of the leak. You will know this by keeping a close eye on the laser color. If you find a place where either the blue or the red color stops, then you have found the source of the leak.