Me and my gadget: Leak detector

21:25, Jan 23 2013
Mike Foote
Essential kit: Mike Foote with his Rothenberger Roleak leak detector.

Mike Foote, managing director of Hamilton's Plumbing and Gas Works, tells Chris Gardner how the Rothenberger Roleak leak detector is a money saver.

What's your favourite gadget?

My favourite gadget is the Rothenberger Roleak leak detector. Plumbing & Gas Works, through its membership of Master Plumbers, has access to a Rothenberger leak detector, which saves hours of breaking up concrete to trace water leaks.

As everyone knows, water will always take the path of least resistance, so when a leak's under concrete it could surface metres away from the actual leak source. Your first instinct, and the traditional method, is to start digging where the water is and keep following it until you find the leak, which can be days later. And believe me, that's spoken with the voice of experience!

We had a case a few years back where water was coming up through the floor in the kitchen. We dug and dug through the concrete floor and traced the leak. It was outside coming in. If we'd had the Rothenberger Roleak back then we could've listened to the water through the concrete and traced the leak back to the source and dug one hole and fixed it within hours; not days.

What do you mainly use it for?


Thanks to the evolution of plumbing we don't install copper pipework under concrete floors any more, but 40 years ago it was common practice.

Copper pipe doesn't last forever and leaks develop under the concrete and can be difficult to locate. We mainly use our Rothenberger Roleak to find the source of a leak under concrete floors, but it can be used to locate and trace water mains or anything that makes a noise.

The Rothenberger Roleak has saved clients hundreds of dollars - sometimes thousands - not only in the cost of repairs but in commercial premises that saving comes about through the cost of all the wasted metered water.

How would you change it to make it better?

The Rothenberger Roleak is great. However, an improvement would be a sign for the client to read: "Please don't talk to me while I'm using a Rothenberger Roleak Leak detector". It's super-sensitive to sound which means even a whisper (or someone moving around in the next room) gets amplified and ends up really loud in the headphones.