SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1991

Tracing Roof and Wall Leaks Using Alternating Electric Fields and Vapor Detection


Exterior water can penetrate a building and move in either continuous or discontinuous flow. In the case of continuous flow, from point of entry to point of observation, surfaces of construction materials are wetted and may provide a path of adequate conductivity to produce a detectable alternating electric field when a voltage is applied. Where this is the case, a suitable a-c ource and detector can be used to determine the source of water entry.

For cases where water flow is discontinuous, detection of vapor from water mixed with organic solvent can assist in tracing water movement and source of origin. Commercial equipment is available to measure, non-destructively, moisture behind and within non-conducting substrates such as wood and exterior foam panels. Using these methods one can often unambiguously locate the source of a water leak.

Author Information

May, JC
Vassiliades, JM
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Developed by Committee: E06
Pages: 160–164
DOI: 10.1520/STP17702S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5167-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1409-8