Electronic Leak Detection (ELD) FAQ's

Detec Systems is often asked questions regarding leak detection testing and leak detection systems.  We want to assist in ensuring your waterproofing or roofing membrane is breach free.  If you have a question that hasn’t been answered here, please feel free to call us at 855-75DETEC (855-753-3832) or email us. We would be happy to guide you to the best solution for your project.

ELD (Electronic Leak Detection) is the industry term used to define products and services that test and monitor for leaks or moisture presence in waterproofing membranes and roof assemblies. Detec provides ELD testing and fully monitored systems for inverted and conventional roof assemblies and is the only low voltage service that can reliably test vertical membrane surfaces.  Only Detec Systems can test Black EPDM.

Below are some frequently asked questions regarding Electronic Leak Detection.

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Electronic Leak Detection Testing

  • Q: What is Electronic Leak Detection (ELD)?

    A: Electronic Leak Detection (ELD) is a quality control testing procedure designed to locate discontinuities in waterproofing and roofing membranes. ELD determines the location of the membrane discontinuities (breaches/seam voids) by applying an electrical voltage to the surface of the membrane. ELD can also be called: electronic water test, electronic breach detection, membrane integrity testing, membrane integrity survey and electrical conductance testing. ELD can be low voltage or high voltage.

  • Q: How does the IntegriScan differ from EFVM®* (Electric Field Vector Mapping)?

    A: How they are similar:

    • – Both are low voltage testing methods.
    • – Both use water to test.
    • – Both require a conductive substrate DIRECTLY below the waterproofing/roofing membrane for a valid test.
    • – Both are listed on the ASTM D7877 Standard Guide for Electronic Methods for Detecting and Locating Leaks in Waterproof Membranes.

     

    A: How they are different:

    • – Unlike EFVM’s sampling method, Detec’s IntegriScan™ service tests 100% of waterproofing/roofing membrane to pinpoint any leaks.
    • – The IntegriScan’s testing area is directly beneath the scanning platform unlike vector mapping, which requires a perimeter wire to be installed prior to testing.
    • – EFVM must isolate penetrations.  The IntegriScan’s patented design “hides” penetrations around the platform.
    • – Vector mapping can not reliably test verticals whereas the IntegriScan uses a belt mounted apparatus to pinpoint breaches in verticals.
    • – EFVM can not test black EPDM & other semi conductive cold fluid applied waterproofing.  As of October 2017, Detec’s IntegriScan can test black EPDM & semi conductive waterproofing.
    • – The IntegriScan can test up to 40,000 sq ft per day.  EFVM can test up to 20,000 sq ft per day.
    • – The IntegriScan is user friendly.  Vector mapping test results rely heavily on the technician.
    • – Minimal set up time for the IntegriScanner.  The equipment can be test ready in 10 minutes.  EFVM must set up all of their perimeter wire and isolate penetrations prior to testing.
    • – Detec Systems makes advancements to their technology often.  Vector mapping hasn’t changed in 30+ years.

     

    *EFVM is a registered trademark of International Leak Detection

  • Q: Is an IntegriScan a viable alternative to flood-testing?

    A: Yes! Detec’s patented scanning technology can safely and accurately pinpoint leaks without the threat of water damage – a concern which is frequently associated with flood testing. Breaches are found immediately, so repairs can be done on the spot, with little or no down time.  Flood testing will tell you if there is a leak but can not pinpoint where the breach is located.

  • Q: Can black EPDM be tested using Electronic Leak Detection?

    A: YES! In October 2017, Detec Systems released the ONLY technology available for electronically testing black EPDM.  Click here to view the technical bulletin.  Detec’s EPDM flyer can be viewed here.

  • Q: How does Detec’s IntegriScan compare with Infrared Thermography?

    A: Both are effective tools and can work well together.  Infrared Thermography is typically used to confirm that there is hidden moisture accumulation below the surface of the roof. Infrared can not determine the origin of a breach. The IntegriScan will pinpoint any breach in the waterproofing membrane. Any breaches found can be repaired and re-tested the same day.

  • Q: Can the IntegriScan test verticals for breaches?

    A: Yes!  The IntegriScan method can reliably test vertical surfaces.  Detec has developed a patented set of electronics designed to test vertical surfaces.  As with all ELD testing, a conductive substrate is required directly below the membrane for valid tests.

  • Q: What setup is required before an IntegriScan can be performed? How long is the setup process?

    A: The IntegriScanner requires very little setup time (less than 10 minutes).  The waterproofing membrane must be broom clean.  A hose and water source must also be available.  There is no need to set up a perimeter wire like vector mapping and no need to isolate grounded penetrations.  Typically, a field technician will arrive on site and inspect the areas to be tested.  The technician will then connect to building ground, wet the area down and begin scanning.

  • Q: How many square feet can the IntegriScanner test in one day?

    A: Typically, a field technician using the IntegriScanner can test up to 40,000sqft in one day.  A field technician using the VSU (Vertical Scan Unit) can test up to 10,000sqft in one day.

  • Q: Can you test through overburden?

    A: Valid results from testing through heavy overburden is inconclusive.  Detec has determined that results are inconclusive for testing through over 4″ of overburden.  Vector mapping claims it can be done.

    • – #1 There must be a conductive substrate DIRECTLY below the membrane. If the substrate is not conductive, the test will rely on a water path to a grounded object.
    • – #2 There must be a continuous water path from the vector mapping perimeter wire to a breach.  A technician can not verify this is occurring.
    • – #3 Drain mat and insulation are electrical insulators, disrupting the electrical signal from atop the overburden.
    • – #4 Any grounded items above the membrane will produce false positives.

    Detec recommends a one time leak detection test (IntegriScan) prior to the installation of any overburden and a fully monitored leak detection system (PermaScan).  Please contact us if you would like more information regarding testing through overburden.

  • Q: How does the IntegriScan pinpoint a breach?

    A: The IntegriScanner is pushed along a horizontal surface.  When the platform is positioned over a breach, the electronics will produce a visual and audible alert. The breach location can be pinpointed by placing a hand on the secondary sensor located on the scanning platform and positioning the other hand on the breach.  The low voltage current will pass from the secondary sensor, through the technician’s body, and exits the other hand placed over the breach.  An audible alarm will sound when the hand is placed on the breach.  Click here for a video of the “finger scan”

  • Q: I have an existing leak in my roof. Is it possible to find the breach?

    A: It may be possible to find your breach.  There are a few variables.  The test relies on a continuous water path from the top of the membrane to a grounded object below the membrane.  Please contact us for more details on forensic scans.

  • Q: Can you test with a hollow core plank?

    A:  Sometimes, slabs are not touching each other which disrupts the electrical continuity from one slab to another.  The entire area directly below the membrane must have full continuity for any electronic leak detection test to work (low or high voltage).  If there is a break down in between slabs, then the ground connection can be lost.  We suggest bridging each hollow core plank on all four sides with a piece of aluminum tape.  Then, paint the TruGround Conductive Primer over the aluminum tape, making sure to paint some on to the slab as well.  Now, all slabs will have continuity.

  • Q: Is the IntegriScanner available for purchase?

    A: Yes!  The IntegriScanner is available for purchase.  All purchases require training.  This equipment is made in the USA.  Each IntegriScan package includes the equipment for electronically testing horizontals, including black EPDM, and verticals.  All 3 in 1!! Detec’s IntegriScan is the only low voltage method capable of testing verticals and the only ELD method (low or high voltage) available for electronically testing conductive membranes such as black EPDM.

  • Q: I’m considering a green roof for my building. How can Detec help?

    A: Detec’s patented PermaScan systems can be installed under Green Roofs to permanently monitor the performance of the waterproofing membrane. These permanent systems will pinpoint leaks early so corrective action can be taken immediately, preventing costly water damage from hidden moisture.

TruGround Conductive Primer

  • Q: What is TruGround Conductive Primer?

    A: TruGround Conductive Primer is a patented water based epoxy developed specifically for electronic testing of conventional roofing assemblies.  Once applied to a non-conductive substrate, such as wood, insulation or coverboard, the primer enables Electronic Leak Detection testing of the membrane for the life of the roof.  TruGround is required to be placed on the substrate directly below the membrane.  Other conductive mediums are placed below the coverboard, making the leak detection test invalid.  TruGround is NOT a substitute for required primers and adhesives for roofing installations and is intended as a conductive medium ONLY.

  • Q: What manufacturers have approved TruGround?

    A: Detec has received approvals from numerous manufacturers.  Contact us for more information.

  • Q: Is TruGround Conductive Primer UL listed?

    A: YES! TruGround Conductive Primer is UL listed.

  • Q: Do I still need to apply the required primer on top of the TruGround?

    A: YES! TruGround is not a substitute for required primers and adhesives.  TruGround is used for a conductive medium ONLY.

  • Q: What is a conductive substrate?

    A: Conductive substrates are typically concrete and metal.  TruGround conductive primer can be applied to non conductive substrates to facilitate valid electronic leak detection testing.  Non conductive substrate include but are not limited to wood, OSB, coverboard, protection board, insulation and light weight concrete (LWC).

  • Q: Where does the TruGround Conductive Primer get applied?

    A: Detec’s patented TruGround Conductive Primer provides the required conductivity for an Electronic Leak Detection test to be valid.  TruGround is to be applied on the substrate located directly below the membrane.  Once the TruGround is dry to the touch, the waterproofing/roofing membrane can be installed.  Other materials, such as the vector mapping grid wire mesh, is typically placed under the coverboard or under the insulation, which produces invalid testing results.  To detect breaches, water would have to penetrate a breach and saturate any electrically insulating materials to reach the incorrectly placed wire mesh.  ELD requires a conductive substrate directly below the membrane to complete the electrical circuit (ASTM D7877, section 4.4).  Click here for a technical note on testing conventional roofs using Electronic Leak Detection.

  • Q: How much area can TruGround cover?

    A: Detec’s TruGround Conductive Primer is sold in 5 gallon pails.  One 5 gallon pail of TruGround covers approximately 1,250 square feet.  Coverage depends on the substrate the primer is being applied to as well as how it is applied. Porous substrates require 2 coats.

  • Q: Who applies the TruGround primer?

    A: TruGround is typically applied by the roofer.

  • Q: How many coats are required when applying TruGround?

    A: TruGround conductive primer only requires one coat on most substrates.  Any coloration of the substrate visible through the primer indicates more primer is required.  Porous substrates such as plywood require two coats of primer to ensure proper coverage.

  • Q: How fast does the TruGround primer dry?

    A: Typically, TruGround dries in approximately 30 minutes.  Drying time depends on the temperature and relative humidity (RH).  A torch may be used to quicken dry time.  TruGround is non-flammable.

  • Q: I’ve seen a wire mesh used as a conductive medium installed under the coverboard or under insulation. How does that work?

    A: Most membrane manufacturers do not approve the vector mapping grid / wire mesh to be installed directly under the membrane resulting in incorrect placement under the coverboard or insulation.  The accuracy of the test depends on water penetrating a breach in the membrane, saturating the substrate (coverboard/insulation) and contacting the wire mesh.  If water does not have the continuous path from the top of the membrane to the wire mesh, then the breach will be missed.  The further the water has to travel, the less likely the breach will get detected.

    As described in the ASTM Standard D7877, Electronic Leak Detection (low and high voltage) requires a conductive substrate directly below the membrane for a valid test.  Detec Systems strictly adheres to the ASTM D7877.  It is vital that membrane manufacturers, building owners, architects, consultants, roofers and waterproofers know what’s required for a valid ELD test.  Click here for a technical note regarding improper placement of the conductive medium for ELD.

Leak Detection Systems

  • Q: What is a leak detection system?

    A: A leak detection system can have different meanings depending on who you ask. A conductive medium below the membrane is often referred to as a “system”. The testing technology can also be referred to as a “system”. Detec considers a “system” to be an embedded, monitored product. There are quality control tests (IntegriScan), conductive mediums (TruGround Conductive Primer) and monitored systems (PermaScan).

  • Q: Do you offer passive leak detection systems?

    A: The purpose of a leak detection system is to know when an issue occurs, rather than when the issue has presented itself in the building.  Detec Systems offers fully monitored leak detection systems only.  PermaScan passive leak detection systems are only available in British Columbia for the RCABC extended warranty.

  • Q: Can you test through overburden?

    A: Valid results from testing through heavy overburden is inconclusive.  Detec has determined that results are inconclusive for testing through over 4″ of overburden.  Vector mapping claims it can be done.

    • – #1 There must be a conductive substrate DIRECTLY below the membrane. If the substrate is not conductive, the test will rely on a water path to a grounded object.
    • – #2 There must be a continuous water path from the vector mapping perimeter wire to a breach.  A technician can not verify this is occurring.
    • – #3 Drain mat and insulation are electrical insulators, disrupting the electrical signal from atop the overburden.
    • – #4 Any grounded items above the membrane will produce false positives.

    Detec recommends a one time leak detection test (IntegriScan) prior to the installation of any overburden and a fully monitored leak detection system (PermaScan).  Please contact us if you would like more information regarding testing through overburden.

  • Q: I’m considering a green roof for my building. How can Detec help?

    A: Detec’s patented PermaScan systems can be installed under Green Roofs to permanently monitor the performance of the waterproofing membrane. These permanent systems will pinpoint leaks early so corrective action can be taken immediately, preventing costly water damage from hidden moisture.

  • Q: What is a PermaScan leak detection system?

    A: Detec offers several permanently embedded fully monitored leak detection systems.  A PermaScan system is installed in a grid like patter and can be installed wherever hidden water intrusion is a concern.

  • Q: How does Detec’s PermaScan system differ from point-monitoring systems?

    A: Point monitoring systems utilize random sampling techniques. It is impossible to detect every moisture event with point sensors, because placement of these sensors is indiscriminate. Detec provides contiguous, linear coverage and constant monitoring therefore offering a complete solution for the problems related to unseen moisture intrusion.

  • Q: How does the PermaScan system report the information it collects?

    A: The moisture performance of the building enclosure and/or waterproofing assembly is emailed to predetermined facilities management monthly.  Clients can access their building reports in real time by logging on the monitoring center on-line. This information can then be reviewed by the facilities management staff so that corrective measures can be implemented, ensuring that small moisture problems do not become expensive repairs.

  • Q: How is the PermaScan system powered?

    A: PermaScan systems operate on low voltage. There are no batteries to replace, unlike wireless point-monitoring systems. This means that there is no radio frequency interference from our system, and no battery recycling issues.

General Questions

  • Q: Where are Detec’s products made?

    A: Detec Systems proudly manufactures the IntegriScan testing equipment, TruGround Conductive Primer and PermaScan Leak Detection Systems in the USA.

  • Q: What is a conductive substrate?

    A: Conductive substrates are typically concrete and metal.  TruGround conductive primer can be applied to non conductive substrates to facilitate valid electronic leak detection testing.  Non conductive substrate include but are not limited to wood, OSB, coverboard, protection board, insulation and light weight concrete (LWC).

  • Q: Can black EPDM be tested using Electronic Leak Detection?

    A: YES! In October 2017, Detec Systems released the ONLY technology available for electronically testing black EPDM.  Click here to view the technical bulletin.  Detec’s EPDM flyer can be viewed here.

  • Q: I’ve seen a wire mesh used as a conductive medium installed under the coverboard or under insulation. How does that work?

    A: Most membrane manufacturers do not approve the vector mapping grid / wire mesh to be installed directly under the membrane resulting in incorrect placement under the coverboard or insulation.  The accuracy of the test depends on water penetrating a breach in the membrane, saturating the substrate (coverboard/insulation) and contacting the wire mesh.  If water does not have the continuous path from the top of the membrane to the wire mesh, then the breach will be missed.  The further the water has to travel, the less likely the breach will get detected.

    As described in the ASTM Standard D7877, Electronic Leak Detection (low and high voltage) requires a conductive substrate directly below the membrane for a valid test.  Detec Systems strictly adheres to the ASTM D7877.  It is vital that membrane manufacturers, building owners, architects, consultants, roofers and waterproofers know what’s required for a valid ELD test.  Click here for a technical note regarding improper placement of the conductive medium for ELD.

  • Q: Can you test through overburden?

    A: Valid results from testing through heavy overburden is inconclusive.  Detec has determined that results are inconclusive for testing through over 4″ of overburden.  Vector mapping claims it can be done.

    • – #1 There must be a conductive substrate DIRECTLY below the membrane. If the substrate is not conductive, the test will rely on a water path to a grounded object.
    • – #2 There must be a continuous water path from the vector mapping perimeter wire to a breach.  A technician can not verify this is occurring.
    • – #3 Drain mat and insulation are electrical insulators, disrupting the electrical signal from atop the overburden.
    • – #4 Any grounded items above the membrane will produce false positives.

    Detec recommends a one time leak detection test (IntegriScan) prior to the installation of any overburden and a fully monitored leak detection system (PermaScan).  Please contact us if you would like more information regarding testing through overburden.

  • Q: Can you test with a hollow core plank?

    A:  Sometimes, slabs are not touching each other which disrupts the electrical continuity from one slab to another.  The entire area directly below the membrane must have full continuity for any electronic leak detection test to work (low or high voltage).  If there is a break down in between slabs, then the ground connection can be lost.  We suggest bridging each hollow core plank on all four sides with a piece of aluminum tape.  Then, paint the TruGround Conductive Primer over the aluminum tape, making sure to paint some on to the slab as well.  Now, all slabs will have continuity.

  • Detec acronyms

    EGLL (Electric Gradient Leak Locate)

    ELD (Electronic Leak Detection)

    MDT (Moisture Detection Tape)

    PermaScan-C (Conventional Assembly)

    PermaScan-I (Inverted Assembly)

    RMIS (Roof Membrane Integrity Scanner)

    RMU (Remote Monitoring Unit)

    VSLL/VSU (Vertical Surface Leak Locator/Vertical Scanning Unit)

     

     

     

  • More questions?

    Call us at 1-855-75DETEC (753-3832)

    or email us at info@detecsystems.com

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