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Ultrasonic Leak Detector Basics

We can hear a wide range of sound waves, but ultrasonic sound waves are outside of human hearing capability. Ultrasonic sound waves are emitted from tiny holes where highly pressurized air or gas escapes through. These tiny leaks, in addition to vibration and electrical discharge, are all issues that can cause equipment to fail. An ultrasonic leak detector such as the Amprobe ULD-420 can hear these leaks for you and alert you to the leakage point.


Ultrasonic leaks of all sizes happen all the time, whether it’s an air leak or a refrigeration leak. Every year, you may need to recharge your pneumatic system because there’s a leak in it that is just so tiny, it doesn’t necessarily show itself right away. But as that system works, air slowly and continually leaks out.

If there is a leak in the compressed air system the compressor will turn on more frequently to keep the lines pressurized. This means the compressor is running inefficiently and leads to increased energy loss as the compressor works harder to maintain the PSI level it was designed for. Once the PSI drops below a specified level, the compressor will kick back on. The more leaks, even little leaks, you have throughout the facility, the more the compressor will need to run.

Many facilities use compressed air in their operations, including power plants that use compressed air to help with actuators opening and closing. If the actuators can’t fully open or close correctly, that could indicate a leak somewhere. These plants also generally have multiple compressors with huge tanks working in different areas—some need to stay constantly up and running. With so much use, it is likely there is always some type of leak that can only be identified by an ultrasonic leak detector.

Having an ultrasonic leak detector allows you to go out to the jobsite and find high frequency leaks that would otherwise go unnoticed by the human ear. An ultrasonic leak detector can be adjusted and tuned to the environment to really pinpoint exact locations of leakage points that can then be repaired. If these leaks go unchecked, equipment is left to work overtime and use more energy. 

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