Pathologies caused by pressurized systems: how to identify a leak with visual inspection


Emma Potter

Colonization of biological formations

Biological formations can also be generated in the presence of leaks in supply systems. This case history And very bland compared to the contamination generated by the water dispersed by the drains, since the quantity of water present in the masonry can change significantly even in a few centimeters, if in the presence of horizontal barriers or more water-repellent materials.

Food for contaminants is also limited in this case. In order for the colonization of biological formations to occur, the water must disperse the chlorine present in good quantities. Chlorine can evaporate following heating of the water itself, or it can be removed from the water following the installation of water purification accessories. Filtering through masonry can also generate chlorine dispersion. Therefore, it is plausible to state that there are no biological formations in the immediate vicinity of a leaksince the chlorine still present acts as a deterrent to contamination. Moving away from the area of ​​origin, biological phenomena can manifest themselvessince this deterrent agent will be less and less present.

Area of ​​origin

Leaks can also originate in systems external to the building, as in the common public policy and in the private sections present within one's garden. Leaks can infiltrate the interior of the building if supply systems are positioned closeor in the presence of slopes which conduct water in the direction of breaches beneath the flooring, in which other technological systems have been inserted.

It is important in this case to be able to distinguish the exact origin of the water, as expressed in the previous article, discharges tend to cause bacterial colonization and biological formations to a greater extent compared to the supply water, since the sanitizing action of the chlorine is dispersed in the drains and contamination is rather slow.

Usually, when the water leak is outside the building, the pathology initially manifests itself in the masonry immediately bordering the origin of the leak.

Size of degradation

There leakage of sulphate and nitrate salts from the flooring aggressively is quite rare. When such an evident manifestation occurs, it must be considered that there is a important force which generates pressure in the capillaries, washing away the salts from the masonry. The amount of salt and water in this case is infinite, since one occurs continuous contamination by adjacent land. When the adjacent land does not have drainage and is composed of high percentages of compacted clay; the water forced into the most favorable spaces can reach the necessary pressure in these cases it is usually possible to easily recover water from the basins under the flooring and then analyze it.

In the presence of water coming from supply pipes we will have the presence of chlorine, but we will not have the presence of surfactantsgenerally contained in waste water.

Geometry of the event

The building pathology that can arise following a leak from a pressurized pipe becomes a real discipline depending on the type of building and its components. Damage can occur immediately, with a localized detachment of plaster and one violent release of saltsbut it can also appear after several months, with degradation distributed evenly throughout the building. On the contrary, in a historic building, renovated and used as a common residence, equipped with walls made of clay bricks and an attic without a crawl space, the problem can manifest itself in a very short period.

A few years ago I had to deal with a suspected case of rising damp which affected all the apartments on the ground floor of an apartment building. The problem manifested itself equally at the same height in all walls, both perimeter and non-perimeter. The source of the problem was a leakgenerated by a single water pipe, which was installed inside the crawl space during construction. The water leaking from the pipes was able to flow into the entire surface of the crawl space, which transmitted the water as it communicated with other properties. Due to this factor, all the walls became equally damp. Following the filling of the crawl space, damage began to appear in the walls as well.

Extension speed

In presence of leaks below the flooringit is possible to observe strong salt expulsions and damp walls at the same time. The wall cutter, if well constructed, can prevent the water from rising to higher altitudes, generating in this area, very quickly, saturation of the masonry. Even if the masonry is several meters away from the leak, leakage of salts into the surfaces of the bricks can occur, especially during the winter period, where heating can cause the liquid to evaporate completely.

Unlike the losses generated by drains or rain, this water is not acidic, given theabsence of acidic elements and the presence of the elements necessary to generate thetotal alkalinity of the liquid. Total alkalinity is a set of elements, precisely alkaline, added to prevent an excessive variation in the pH itself from being generated: this practice is used by water suppliers in order to guarantee its quality.

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