Primarily used to locate very small leaks, or leaks in exceedingly difficult surfaces, helium is introduced into a water or gas line where it naturally escapes through the leak and rises to the surface where it is then electronically detected. Helium is one of the smallest gas molecules and because it is inert, helium is safe to use in any environment. A helium mass spectrometer is an instrument we use to detect where the helium is rising from. This instrument uses a vacuum chamber in which a sealed container with helium is placed. Helium then leaks out of the container, and then the rate of the leak is detected by a mass spectrometer.
By inserting helium into the water or gas line, CPL can identify the location of a leak with a sensitivity reading as low as 22 parts per million (PPM). We have filled pipes as large a 60” with helium to locate tiny leaks and have experienced great success statewide. By using this technique, even in loud environments, we can find leaks that are extremely difficult to locate.