Leak detection tech develops with smart H2O meters

Taggle Systems has rolled out its smart meters across Australia. This has resulted in other enterprises utilising the information to improve their business practices and even start a new business; such is the case for leak detection specialists Global Leak Solutions.

Taggle Systems has rolled out its smart meters across Australia. This has resulted in other enterprises utilising the information to improve their business practices and even start a new business; such is the case for leak detection specialists Global Leak Solutions.

A trickle of water doesn’t look like much. However, 10 litres per hour can add up to over 30 kegs of beer a week. That could be an extra $54 on top of your average quarterly bill.

A broken toilet leaks about 700 litres daily, costing an additional $630 a year. Most people can find that themselves. However, small hidden leaks have typically been very hard to locate.

Taggle has found that about 10 per cent of households have a leak of this smaller scale. A town of 50,000 homes would leak more water than 2.5 Sydney Harbours. Fixing those leaks can save over $3 million in a year.

Stopping even tiny leaks, especially in times of drought, is vital for water security.

Taggle’s smart water meters can sense these tiny leaks. For most leak detection companies, this is too small for their technology, so they concentrate on leaks of over 100 litres per hour. That is not the case for Matt Selby, the founder of Global Leak Solutions.

Who is Global Leak Solutions?

Global Leak Solutions is a water leak detection training and equipment manufacturer. It sells high-quality equipment, including its designed and patented leak detection product. They also offer training at their Brisbane water leak detection training facility. Selby’s training and equipment give future leak detection specialists the confidence to locate water leaks from day one. He has been a licenced plumber for nearly two decades, understanding the technology and the industry.

On top of their own designed and manufactured equipment, Global Leak Solutions is also a Sewerin distributor. Sewerin is an internationally successful and trusted German company that makes high-end equipment for detecting leaks.

How did Global Leak Solutions and Taggle come together?

Selby was a plumbing contractor from Mackay in central Queensland. His specialty was in new homes and maintenance plumbing.

“Around 2014, my phone exploded with calls wanting me to locate water leaks on properties. I had no idea at the time why there was such an influx of water leaks,” said Selby. “I soon found out that most homeowners were getting notified of leaks from the Mackay Regional Council through an online portal called MyH2O.”

MyH2O is the Taggle customer portal for residents of Mackay to review their water use. It allows customers to identify leaks and manage their water consumption while determining when excessive water use occurs. Customers could also set up SMS and email alerts when water leaks occur on their property.

“As more and more leak detection service requests came in, I wanted to learn more about the smart meters and leak notifications,” he said. “With that in mind, I met with the Mackay Water Services team, who explained the setup that Taggle had implemented.”

Selby got to understand how Taggle’s Aqualus software and customer portal worked. His perspective allowed him to become a quasi-external tester. He also saw an opportunity to refine and simplify conventional leak detection processes.

What does Global Leak Solutions offer?

While Taggle and Global Leak Solutions do not collaborate in an official capacity, they do work together unofficially. Selby believes that understanding Taggle’s Aqualus Water software helped him develop his solution.

“Taggle was notifying customers of leaks that were less than 10 litres per hour. That’s a tiny amount of water to try and detect. No other company could guarantee that their technology could find such a leak. I went out there to design and manufacture a device that could find a 10-litre leak,” he said.

That product is the AWR200 air/water/tracer gas controller. The patented device simplifies the water leak detection process for leak detection experts in any field. The microphone technology can listen for specifically engineered air slugs using compressed air. These air slugs are very loud as they move through the pipes and travel only to the leak location. It enables the operator to locate the pipe and the leak with ease.

“There are two distinctly different sounds when we are listening to the air slugs,” Selby said. “When they are travelling through the pipes, it sounds like water lapping against the hull of a boat on a relatively calm day. The sound is unmistakable, like nothing around you. When the slug escapes through the leak, it sounds like a whale breathing out its blowhole constantly. We hear that for the entire duration of the leak location.”

Selby designed a specific manifold configuration that injected the air slug into the line. It travels from the AWR200, through the pipes, and to the water leak. By picking up the changes in sound, users can determine exactly where the leak is. Selby has found that almost anyone trained on their systems can find a 10-litre-per-hour leak in under an hour.

New leak detection technology attracts companies

The new technology is currently being used by hundreds of plumbers across Australia, all trained by Selby and his team. Selby is also running hybrid training with US and Australian companies. More companies are approaching Global Leak Solutions to understand the technology.

The other thing that Selby is learning to teach his trainees about is asking onlookers to be quiet. As men are fascinated with new tools, they can ask too many questions. This is tough when he must listen carefully for the air slugs travelling through the pipes.

“They’re fascinated with the technology. We love our customers. However, sometimes they love to ask questions while we are using the tech, which can be very challenging. One woman asked her husband to stop asking questions until the leak was located. I was grateful because she understood I needed silence,” said Selby.

Australian innovation solving water problems

Communities will be better off when the next drought hits with the combination of Taggle’s smart water meter solution and Global Leak Solutions technology. These small leaks might not seem like much, but every drop counts. Australian innovators are working together to provide water security for a more sustainable future.

For more information, visit https://taggle.com/

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