Understanding the Working Principle of Acoustic Water Leak Detectors  


Leakage is a serious pipeline related issue that often leads to financial losses, in addition to severe impact to the environment as well as humans.  Acoustic emission (AE) is a popular technique for non-destructive testing that is used extensively for leakage detection. A stress-wave process is initiated by the local energy released within the pipeline material resulting from impacts, fluid flow, and crack propagation. Acoustic water leak detectors can record the waves propagating through the pipe wall with the help of an accelerometer or acoustic sensor. Acoustic inspection is now considered to be a trusted industry standard for managing any pipeline infrastructure because of its cost-efficiency.  This method allows us to prioritise maintenance requirements and avoid wasting time and resources on minor issues.  

How do they work? 

While leaking through burst pipes, water makes a specific type of noise and this is what allows acoustic leak detectors to locate the area of concern. The frequency of noise created by water leaks can be picked up easily by acoustic detectors.  

Burst pipes are generally characterised by some common signs. 

  • Unusually wet areas in the house’s interior and exterior such as puddles 
  • Sudden water pressure drops 
  • Sudden spike in water bills 
  • Watermarks on your walls and floors 
  • Depending of certain factors mentioned below, the sound resulting from a water leak may vary.  
  • The severity of damage or leak 
  • Pipe location 
  • Pipe construction or installation 
  • Water pressure 
  • Surface cover  
  • Type of soil 
  • Pipe location depth 

The components of acoustic detectors include a headphone, microphone, electronic monitor, and acoustic listening sticks. A stopper is connected to the pipe that is suspected to be damaged. This stopper creates a rhythmic pulsation by opening and closing of the valve and this pulsation is detected by the acoustic listening stick. The detector of the microphone is then placed above the buried pipes for listening to the sound. The sound is the loudest in the location of the leak.  

Acoustic leak detectors are highly recommended in modern-day pipeline maintenance and rehabilitation because they eliminate the need for removing structures or digging out the ground to check the pipes. Locating leaks physically requires a lot of time and often involves trial and error. Use of acoustic detectors not only eliminates this concern, but also saves time and money. It also helps protect the environment because it doesn’t cause any damage to the surrounding by excavation. No wonder acoustic leak detectors are considered to one of the most effective weapons in the arsenal of pipeline maintenance personnel.   


  • Extremely accurate in finding the exact location of leakages 
  • Allows to fix the problem right away without any guesswork 
  • Causes minimum to no damage to property 
  • Saves time and effort  
  • Less labour intensive compared to traditional methods because  there is no excavation or concrete removal 
  • One of the most cost effective pipeline rehabilitation methods 

At Austeck, we offer some of Australia’s most sophisticated range of acoustic pipeline and sewer assessment tools. Please contact our experts today to discuss your needs.