Learning to Weld and Other Subjects

Spotted a Leak in Your Pressure Gauge? Do This Now

Pressure gauges are filled with liquid—often glycerin or an oil—because the liquid provides some cushioning for the moving parts of the gauge. When pressure rises or falls rapidly, the needle in the gauge can move rapidly as well. The fluid helps prevent the needle from slamming into other parts.

Like other fluid-filled parts, a pressure gauge can leak. If you spot the fluid seeping or dripping out of the gauge, or if you find the fluid level is suddenly much lower than it was the last time you looked, it has a leak, and you need to take action now.

Find the Leak—and Start With Filling the Hole and Plugging It

First, obviously, you want to find the source of the leak and stop it. Luckily, a lot of the time the leak is due to a loose cap or plug in the hole you use to fill up the gauge. Maybe the cap wasn't put back on properly, or the cap is too loose, but in either case, get a cap that fits properly and install it properly after refilling the gauge and cleaning up the spilled liquid.

If the cap does not appear to be the problem, search around the gauge to find where the liquid is getting out. It may be time for a new pressure gauge if the leak is in a spot that isn't easily fixed.

Inspect and Clean Nearby Equipment

After stopping the leak, you'll need to inspect and clean nearby equipment to ensure the leaked fluid doesn't cause additional problems. How you clean it up will depend on what is spilled; for example, cleaning up water is a lot different from cleaning up clear oil. If the leak looked like it was due to damage in the gauge and you don't know what caused it, you may want to inspect the nearby equipment for damage as well.

Review the Last Few Measurements

The fluid leaking out of the gauge shouldn't affect the accuracy of the gauge, but it doesn't hurt to verify the last few measurements taken with a different or new gauge. It's a good way to double-check that the pressure gauge, either a new one or the old one fixed and refilled, is once again working well.

It helps to have some extra pressure gauges on hand in case you need to quickly replace one that's started leaking. Even if the leak is tiny, it's not something you want to deal with when operating equipment that's under pressure. 

For more information, contact a local company like Les Cooke Instrument Co Pty Ltd.