Water Leak Detection System
Water Leak Detection is an expression more commonly used for larger, integrated systems installed in “high-tech” buildings or those containing valuable artifacts, materials or other assets where early notification of a potentially damaging leak would be beneficial.
The Water Leak Detection industry is small and specialized with only a few manufacturers operating world-wide. The original application was in the void created by “computer room” floors in the days of large main-frame computer systems. These use a modular, raised floor based around a structural “floor tile” usually 600mm square and supported at the corners by pedestals. The void created gave easy access and routing for the mass of power, networking and other interconnecting cables associated with larger computer systems – processors, drives, routers etc. mainframe computers also generated large amounts of heat so a void under the floor could also used as a plenum to distribute and diffuse chilled air around the computer room. The void therefore was like to have chilled water pipes running through it along with the drains for condensates associated with refrigeration plant. In addition designers also found the floor void a very convenient place to route other wet services feeding bathrooms, radiators and other facilities.
Al leak occurring within a floor void would therefore go unnoticed until the hydrostatic head of pressure meant that the water found its way through to floors below where its dripping through the ceiling would be noted or, and more disconcerting, the water would penetrate the joints and connectors of the power or network cabling and cause system failure from short circuit
The mainframe computer room has largely disappeared but the application has remained with almost universal use of “computer-room” style raised floors in nearly all new commercial and office construction. To warrant the installation of leak detection the operator has to perceive the risk in addition to the circumstances but most Mechanical and Electrical Design Engineers will take a view of the risk of damage from a leak in terms of affect on the client’s own operations, services and assets and, often as important, those of their adjoining neighbors and the those on floors below.
The installation of leak detection systems is therefore becoming more commonplace in most new commercial office construction schemes along with the more obvious targets of museums, galleries and archives.
Leak detection systems must be unobtrusive, effective and robust enough to withstand getting dirty and the moderate physical abuse of other works being carried out under the same floor.
Zoned systems have a reputation for being safe, reliable and not prone to the same types of false alarms which those systems which use cumulative resistance techniques.
The leak detection industry is very small and it can be expected that manufacturers will also offer an installation and after sales service.
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