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 current 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.

     

    A: How they are different:

    • – Detec’s IntegriScan tests 100% of waterproofing/roofing membrane, pinpointing any breaches unlike EFVM’s sampling method.
    • – Testing with the IntegriScan does not require a perimeter wire unlike vector mapping, which requires a perimeter wire to be installed prior to testing.
    • – Testing with the IntegriScan does not require the penetrations to be isolated whereas EFVM must isolate each grounded penetration.
    • – The IntegriScan technology pinpoints breaches in verticals using our belt mounted roller apparatus. Vector mapping can not reliably test verticals.
    • – Detec’s IntegriScan can test black EPDM & semi conductive waterproofing. EFVM can not test conductive membranes.
    • – 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: Detec’s patented scanning technology can quickly, 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 can 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 (EFVM) 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: Is testing through heavy overburden possible?

    A: Results from testing through heavy overburden are invalid and inconclusive.  Detec Systems has determined that results are unreliable for testing through over 4″ of overburden due to limitations such as:

    • – #1 There must be a conductive substrate DIRECTLY below the membrane.
    • – #2 There must be a continuous water path on top of the membrane.  Breaches will be missed if there is a gap in water coverage.
    • – #3 Drain mat, root barrier and insulation are electrical insulators, disrupting the electrical signal from the top of the overburden.  A conductive path must be present from the top of the overburden, through the electrically insulating materials to the saturated membrane.  There is a high probability of false negatives due to all the potential breaks in the electrical circuit.
    • – #4 Any grounded items above the membrane will produce false positives.

     

    Detec recommends a quality control leak detection test (IntegriScan) immediately prior to the installation of any overburden.

  • Q: How does the IntegriScan pinpoint a breach?

    A: When the equipment is positioned over a breach, the electronics will produce a visual and audible alert pinpointing any breaches.

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

    A: Yes. If there is a continuous water path to building ground, it is likely we will find the breach.  Please contact us for more details on forensic scans.

  • Q: Is the IntegriScanner available for purchase?

    A: Yes!  The IntegriScanner is available for purchase.  This equipment is made in the USA.  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 semi conductive and 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.  Any other conductive mediums placed below the coverboard results in invalid leak detection tests.

  • Q: What is a conductive substrate?

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

  • 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: 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 such as wood requires 2 coats.

  • Q: What is the desired mil thickness for applying TruGround®?

    A: TruGround® is to be applied as thin as possible therefore it can not be measured in mil thickness.

  • Q: Who applies the TruGround® primer?

    A: TruGround® is typically applied by the roofer or waterproofing contractor.

  • Q: Do I have to tape the seams when applying TruGround®?

    A: No. If the joint is larger than 1/8″, apply the TruGround® with a paint brush to the joints to confirm continuity from board to board.

  • 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: Do I have to have a dedicated connection to the TruGround®?

    A: No. When TruGround® is applied to the substrate, apply the TruGround® from the field to all metallic/grounded penetrations. Those penetrations can then be used as a ground connection for electronic testing.

  • Q: How fast does the TruGround® primer dry?

    A: Typically, TruGround® dries in approximately 30 minutes.  Drying time depends on the substrate, temperature and relative humidity (RH).

  • 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 (aka VMG or wire mesh) conductive medium to be installed directly under the membrane which results in the incorrect placement under the coverboard or insulation.  The accuracy of the test depends on water penetrating a breach in the membrane, saturating the substrate below the membrane 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.  Detec’s TruGround® is the preferred conductive medium by manufacturers and contractors as it will not affect adhesion or compatibility, is easier to install and can be applied to verticals and transitions.

    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.

Monitored 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 is a difference between control tests (IntegriScan), conductive mediums (TruGround® Conductive Primer) and fully monitored leak detection systems (PermaScan).

  • 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: 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: There are several options available.  The moisture performance of the building enclosure and/or waterproofing assembly can be sent to predetermined facilities management.  Clients can access their building reports in real time by logging in to the online monitoring center. 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 structural concrete and metal.  TruGround® conductive primer can be applied to non conductive substrates to facilitate valid electronic leak detection testing.  Non conductive substrates 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 (aka VMG or wire mesh) conductive medium to be installed directly under the membrane which results in the incorrect placement under the coverboard or insulation.  The accuracy of the test depends on water penetrating a breach in the membrane, saturating the substrate below the membrane 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.  Detec’s TruGround® is the preferred conductive medium by manufacturers and contractors as it will not affect adhesion or compatibility, is easier to install and can be applied to verticals and transitions.

    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: Is testing through heavy overburden possible?

    A: Results from testing through heavy overburden are invalid and inconclusive.  Detec Systems has determined that results are unreliable for testing through over 4″ of overburden due to limitations such as:

    • – #1 There must be a conductive substrate DIRECTLY below the membrane.
    • – #2 There must be a continuous water path on top of the membrane.  Breaches will be missed if there is a gap in water coverage.
    • – #3 Drain mat, root barrier and insulation are electrical insulators, disrupting the electrical signal from the top of the overburden.  A conductive path must be present from the top of the overburden, through the electrically insulating materials to the saturated membrane.  There is a high probability of false negatives due to all the potential breaks in the electrical circuit.
    • – #4 Any grounded items above the membrane will produce false positives.

     

    Detec recommends a quality control leak detection test (IntegriScan) immediately prior to the installation of any overburden.

  • 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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