Best Hydrogen Gas Detector (for Underground Pipe Leaks)

H2 Detector, Hydrogen Detector, Hydrogen Tester -

Best Hydrogen Gas Detector (for Underground Pipe Leaks)

A Hydrogen Gas Leak Detectors is an essential tool for gas leak detection in underground pipes. This piece of leak detection equipment is used to pick up on the presence of hydrogen gas. It does this after a tracer gas has been introduced to the pipe system and leaks out from the hole in the pipe. The device may also be called a hydrogen gas analyzer. The detection of hydrogen gas in underground pipes is essential to pinpoint and repair a pipe leak.

Pros

Cons

  • Hydrogen gas detectors can be used to identify leaks in underground pipes.
  • The mixture of hydrogen and nitrogen used to identify leaks in underground pipes renders it non-toxic and non-flammable.
  • Hydrogen gas detectors can be purchased or rented.
  • Hydrogen leak detectors cost less than $995 and are very sensitive at picking up the smallest hydrogen gas to pinpoint a leak.
  • Hydrogen gas detectors are a sensitive tool and require care.
  • Hydrogen gas leaks identification is not as popular as other methods, but gaining popularity to the helium gas scarcity.
  • Hydrogen gas detectors do have a limited life and need to be calibrated once per year.

What are the Best Hydrogen Gas Leak Detectors?

There are a number of excellent hydrogen gas leak detectors. The top and most reputable hydrogen gas leak detectors are:

What is Hydrogen Gas?

Hydrogen gas, H2, is a colorless, odorless gas that is extremely light.

Its molecules are small and light. When release in the air, they quickly rises.  The small light gas molecules enable permeation through concrete, soil, grass and rises to the surface fast - making it a perfect tracer gas for pipe, pipeline, leak, crack and other tracer applications used in conjunction with a Hydrogen Gas Analyzer.

Is Hydrogen Gas Dangerous?

Hydrogen gas is non-toxic, meaning that it is not dangerous for human inhalation. It is, however, flammable and explosive on its own, so it can be dangerous in certain conditions.

How is Hydrogen Gas Detected?

Hydrogen gas can be detected through several different techniques. Some techniques are able to detect both the presence and the concentration of hydrogen. Examples of sensor technologies used to detect hydrogen gas include:

  • Electrochemical Sensors
    • Best Pick for Pipe H2 tracer gas detection.
    • Offers most sensitive at more reasonable price point.
  • Gas chromatography
    • Too Expensive.
    • Very accurate and made for for lab use applications.
  • Catalytic bead
    • Not sensitive enough for tracer gas leak testing.
    • Used for explosive LEL safety.

What is a Hydrogen Leak Detection Test?

Leak detection tests are used to identify tiny holes in underground pipes when homeowners continue to have water problems without knowing the exact source. Trace gas leak detection involves introducing a tracer gas, composed of 5% hydrogen and 95% nitrogen, to the pipes to identify tiny, seemingly invisible holes.

As the hydrogen exits the tiny holes in the underground pipe, the water pipe leak detector, a hydrogen detector, identifies the location of the hole.

hydrogen pipe leak gas

Why is Hydrogen Used as a Test Gas for Gas Leak Testing?

In the past, helium gas was actually used for gas leak testing. Nowadays, hydrogen gas is the preferred gas for gas leak testing because it is:

  • cheaper
  • more sensitive
  • requires less service than helium gas
  • non-toxic
  • can be safely used
  • small light gas molecules that enables permeation through concrete, soil, grass and rises to the surface fast
  • dilutes in the air (as it is light) allowing for quickly surface identification
  • hydrogen is renewable and cheap 

How Do You Detect a Hydrogen Gas Leak?

Hydrogen gas leaks are detected with hydrogen gas detectors.

These tools serve to accomplish pipe leak detection by detecting airborne hydrogen gas. Since hydrogen gas is light, it quickly permeates from the pipe leak, through the soil, and reaches the surface of the ground where it is detected by a hydrogen gas leak detector.

What is the Purpose of Gas Leak Testing?

Gas leak testing is used to detect water leaks in under ground pipes.

When there is not visible water or audible sound coming from the pipe, it can be difficult to find tiny holes - especially when covered with soil, and and many feet in length. Essentially, tracer gas is introduced to the pipe (Hydrogen with Nitrogen Gas) so that if it seeps out through a tiny hole, a hydrogen gas detector can pick up on it and the underground pipe can then be repaired so it no longer experiences leakage.

water leak

Why is Nitrogen Gas Used Along with Hydrogen Gas to Find Leaks in Underground Water Pipes?

Nitrogen gas is used in combination with hydrogen gas to find leaks in underground water pipes because the nitrogen serves to stabilize the hydrogen to make it safer to use.

On its own, hydrogen gas can be flammable and explosive, so it gets combined into a mixture with nitrogen gas to make it non-combustible and, thus, safe for people to use in hydrogen gas leak detection.

What is a Hydrogen Gas Detector?

A hydrogen gas detector is a piece of equipment used for underground leak detection. It acts by detecting the injection of hydrogen within underground pipes that may be leaking. The sensor picks up on the presence of hydrogen that is released through tiny holes present in the underground pipes.

How Does a Hydrogen Gas Detector Work?

Hydrogen gas detectors and hydrogen gas monitors possess a sensory component that recognizes the presence of hydrogen.

When undergoing underground leak detection, these devices pick up on the presence of hydrogen as it is released through tiny holes in the underground pipes after a gaseous mixture of hydrogen and nitrogen is introduced to the pipes.

How Much Does a Hydrogen Gas Detector Cost?

Hydrogen gas detectors do have a range of cost, but they are not cheap. The most expensive can surpass $1,000. Best value for money is the Forensics Detectors Hydrogen Gas Analyzer that comes with a telescopic probe.

hydrogen gas pipe leak

What Are the Typical Applications Used for Hydrogen Gas Leak Testing?

The most common application of a hydrogen leakage detector is to identify holes in underground pipes. This pivotal application serves to pinpoint the location of a water leak in pipes located below the surface of the ground, thus allowing for the proper repair of the damaged pipes.

hydrogen tracer gas detection

What is the Gas Mixture Used to Source Hydrogen for Gas Leak Testing?

The gas mixture used to source hydrogen for gas leak testing is 5% H2 gas and 95% N2 gas.

How Much Does it Cost to Find an Underground Water Leak?

Underground water leaks that need to be located have a wide range of cost, especially when hiring a professional. Typically, these services can cost $500-$2000. Factors that determine price include equipment used, the severity of the leak, length of pipe, depth of pipe and terrain difficulty.

Who is Responsible for an Underground Water Leak?

The responsibility of an underground water leak is dependent on where the leak is located. If the leak in the underground pipe is on the homeowner's side of the water meter, then it is the homeowner's responsibility to find the leak and repair the leak-- either by doing it themselves or by hiring a contractor. 

If the leak is due to problems on the water meter, then it is the water company's responsibility. In some cases, the water company may still offer to pay for repairing leaks that technically fall into the homeowner's responsibility but this is not guaranteed.

Can an Underground Water Leak Cause a Sinkhole?

Unfortunately, underground water leaks do have the capability to cause a sinkhole. Sinkholes are ultimately caused by water's erosion of soil, so pipes that are continuously leaking water may cause erosion and eventually a sinkhole. 

The potential for sinkholes as a result of water leaks highlights the importance of underground water detection using a hydrogen gas detector. 

sink hole

Final Words

  • A hydrogen gas detector is also known as a hydrogen gas monitor, plumbers leak detector, water pipe leak detector, hydrogen leakage detector, hydrogen leak detector, underground leak detector, and underground water leak detector.
  • A mixture of 5% hydrogen gas and 95% nitrogen gas is used to identify small holes in underground pipes.
  • Hydrogen on its own can be explosive and flammable, but when combined with nitrogen, it is non-toxic and non-flammable.
  • Hydrogen gas detectors function by sensing the presence of hydrogen after it seeps out of underground pipes as a result of its low density and molecular weight (very light).

About the Author

Dr. Koz is the President of FORENSICS DETECTORS, where the company operates from the scenic Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles, California. He is a subject matter expert on gas sensor technology, gas detectors, gas meters, and gas analyzers. He has been designing, building, manufacturing and testing toxic gas detection systems for over 20 years.

gas detector expert

Every day is a blessing for Dr. Koz. He loves to help customers solve their unique problems. Dr. Koz also loves spending time with his wife and his three children going to the beach, grilling burgers, and having a cold beer. 

Read more about Forensics Detectors here.

Email:  drkoz@forensicsdetectors.com
Phone: +1 424-341-3886


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