Underground plumbing leak

A while back a did a infrared inspection at an apartment complex where they were (are) loosing hundreds of gallons a month. Met the plumber, helped him diagnose the problem gave him a couple of my cards.

Yesterday I got a call from one of his clients who also had a plumbing leak under her concrete slab and was wanting me to come out with my camera to see if we could find the source.

Show up this morning with the plumber, took some reading and along with an inexpensive moisture meter was able to give them an approximation as to where I thought the leak was based upon 1.) my construction knowledge, 2.)infrared and 3.)protimeter

I just receive a call from the owner (whose water bill was close to $1000.00) and was elated that the leak was almost exactly where I thought it was. (the plumber had already cut up 3 large holes in her home and she was not thrilled with playing the guessing game)

I also discovered that her shower was leaking and organic growth was forming at the base of the wall. She was really happy that I found all that. She had a handicap child that she had to care for 24/7 and one could tell that their funds were very limited… my heart really went out for this lady…hopefully her expense will be reduced and the insurance company can assist her.

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Good work Jeff, that’s an amazing tool.


Excellent find. Congrats.

I love IR technology.

I did an IR scan at a hotel that was having leaks on embedded hot water supply pipes.

Here is the leak in infrared…

I marked out the area of concern and the plumbers got there in hours and cut open the floor and sucked the water out of the opening…

The leak is finally located at the Tee section. A small portion of the concrete rebar was sitting on top of the supply pipe causing a galvanic reaction. It was leaking at the green spot on the TEE section…

The gaping holes at the top of the pipes are from the jack hammer.





Which camera are you using?

Very nice find.



I typically use a b40 however it went down and I actually did this with an i5…I took my laptop with me to analyze the pictures in the field…quite frankly I wasn’t sure how successful I was going to be with the camera but it worked and the homeowner was elated to say the least.

For someone breaking into the thermogpraphy field I would advise against using this camera unless they have a keen understanding and knowledge of building principles and application.

I always tell clients that trouble shooting concrete slabs is very difficult…especially on the cold water side.
Even with the best cameras (costing in excess of 20,000) you will not yield a whole lot more information…just clearer pictures. Being that we are more interested in the qualitative method of measuring infrared, having a good understanding of what you are looking at is the key in my opinion.
(most courses ~ outside of John’s which is good, cost $1500 plus)
If you are looking at breaking into the filed then count on spending 5k - 7k at least.

I have seen Flukes, Flirs, and even some off the wall stuff…what it really comes down to is what you really need and can afford.

From what I remember David has some really nice equipment of which I think he has upgraded along the way (feel free to jump in David) as do others…he can tell you more about the equipment then I can.

I actually use IR more on the contracting side of my business more than anything…if it were not for that I seriously doubt that I would have it…most of the stuff I see with the IR is the same things I look for and find anyway.

There is a company on the east coast (Wilmington, NC) that will lease them for a month or more. I would suggest a person do that before they commit themselves to a camera.
Email me if you need their number.


PS. Did you do your CE already?

I own the Therma-Cam B-2 Series. It has a higher resolution than any other B-Cam.

That’s the only reason why I purchased this particular camera. I like the clarity of the images (which are crucial) when emailing the IR report to my clients.


I haven’t completed CE yet. I am waiting on Pontello.

I am considering the Fluke TiR 1 mostly for Energy Audits, but I will use it for Home Inspections and troubleshooting as well.

Are you charging a premium when you use it for HI work? I would think you are.

I am also looking into becoming RESNET HERS certified. Listening to the political mumbo jumbo about requiring older homes to be Rated and upgraded sounds like there will be a market for it.

Can’t find your e-mail address for some reason. shoot me an e-mail at ciawarner@aol.com and I will save it in my address book this time.

David, I thought you upgraded to a used P660 or something similar. Did you change your mind?

I do recall wanting to upgrade to a much higher resolution IR camera last year, but I finally realized that it wouldn’t be wise cost effective decision. My present IR camera does what I need it to do anyways. It simply gives me clear IR images and I’m very happy with my B-2.

If I did decide to upgrade, it would definitely be the P660.

Sounds like a good decision for yourself.

I was thinking along the P660 line also but my B400 is outstanding for now. :smiley: But give me some more time, jobs and experiences to gauge by. :wink: