Pressure system leak alert

Hi, from a brand new poster.
I have a farm water pressure system in a shed, mostly watering troughs for stock.
When there is a slow or fast leak, I waste water, at expense.  They could be broken valves to pin holes in pipes.
The pressure is system is run by 240V mains, (Australia) via a plug into a socket, as normal.
There is a smart meter in the shed.
Stock generally don't drink much from midnight to 5am.
If there is a constant leak, the pressure system will cycle during the night.

What I want to know is, is there a way to trigger an indicator that shows the pressure system is cycling overnight between set hours (12 - 5am)?  Eg, a few cycles may be acceptable, 5-10 are not.  When noticed, I can go to the shed, further investigate, and reset the trigger.

I also have capacity to read water pressure at my house, on the same system, which will fluctuate as the pressure system cycles.  If I could easily track and record the pressure fluctuations, I would also know if there is a leak.

Apparently I could install a flow meter with a wifi or sms system, but that sounds expensive and complicated.  I don't use a flow meter as it is not needed.

So we have power usage, pressure switch triggering, water flow, water pressure , noise, and pump heat as indicators, at the pump shed.

I have line of sight to the shed from my house, about 500m away.  I could see any alert lights daily, both at dark in the evening, and in morning daylight.  They could be 240V or battery powered.  I am currently tapping into the pressure switch to run a light.  The problem is 1. I have to be awake then to check a light. 2. it takes time for long cycles to occur.
For all I know there may be something available already, which I have not yet found.

I don't have need, yet, to be alerted as an absentee manager (eg sms alert). I know there are fancy systems available for sale for that.

Any technical ideas would be most welcome, thanks, including combinations of the engineers parameters - cheap, strong, quick.





Downunder35m9 months ago

With a demand system I simply assume you do have a pressurised tank with air bladder attached to the pump...
This would be one of two places to check for pressure, the other would be right in the pipe going out to your animals.
The pump works with a pressure differential, the tank makes sure you have no banging and a chance to get good water flow until the pump is running at normal speed when water is used.
The pressure tank should have a standard air valve like on bikes and car tires somewhere at the top.
Depending on the design the bladder needs to be pressurised either without water in the tank or when full - you need to check which one it is.
Now comes the fun part.
The pump checks the pressure and once too low it starts running again.
If you attach a gauge to the air valve you will be able to see if the pressure drops, even if it drops very slowly - this would indicate a leak (or usuage).
With all taps closed the pressure will stay the same for at day or two, on a good system up to a week.
These cheap valve caps that indicate tyre pressure might work too but they are not really reliable...
A pressure snder as used in cars for oil should work on the air tank too.
As for any alarm the only thing I can think off would be a pressure switch for a compressor.
They are adjustable and on the contacts you can install a lamp, siren or whatever you like and they are good for 240V and at least 10amps.

Downunder35m9 months ago

Well, best option would be to do a proper pressure test and to check for leaks, if present then fix them.
There is little to no chance for any detection system to decide if a slow leak is a leak or actual water usage.
Did you check the pressure in the expansion tank that is connected to the pump?
Quite possible there is no leak but a faulty expansion tank - or one that is too small for your application....

farmfencer (author)  Downunder35m9 months ago

Thanks Downunder35m.

I have no problem with the pressure system itself. I have troughs and 10+km of buried poly pipe. A broken trough valve will almost let the pump run continuously. A small leak may cycle the pump a few times per hour. I'm not so worried about tiny leaks, just abnormal usage, and not noticing it for days.