5 Common Mistakes to Avoid in Pressure Decay Leak Tests

When it comes to ensuring the integrity and safety of your products, pressure decay leak tests are a crucial tool in your quality control arsenal. These tests help detect even the tiniest leaks in various applications, from automotive components to medical devices. However, like any testing method, pressure decay leak tests can go awry if not performed correctly.

In this blog post, we’ll dive into the world of pressure decay leak tests and highlight some common mistakes that you should steer clear of to ensure accurate results and airtight quality control.

The Significance of a Pressure Decay Leak Test

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the common mistakes, let’s briefly explain what a pressure decay leak test is and why it’s such a big deal.

A pressure decay leak test is a non-destructive testing method used to check for leaks in sealed components, containers, or systems. It operates on a straightforward principle: you pressurise the item being tested and then measure any pressure drop over a set period. If the pressure decreases beyond a specified tolerance, it indicates a leak.

Now that we’ve got the basics covered let’s explore those common mistakes you’ll want to avoid:

  1. Neglecting Proper Equipment Calibration

One of the primary missteps in a pressure decay test is neglecting the calibration of your equipment. Your testing equipment, including pressure sensors and flow meters, must be calibrated regularly to ensure they provide accurate measurements. A failure to calibrate can result in false positives or negatives, jeopardising the reliability of your test results.

Calibration isn’t a one-time affair either; it’s an ongoing process to maintain the precision of your equipment. So, make sure to schedule regular calibrations to keep your tests on point.

  1. Inadequate Seal and Connection Inspection

A leak test is only as good as the seal it’s testing. Overlooking the inspection of seals, connections, and fixtures can lead to inaccurate test results. You may mistakenly identify a false leak due to a faulty seal or, conversely, miss a genuine leak if the seals aren’t secure.

Take the time to visually inspect all seals and connections before running a pressure decay leak test. It might seem like a minor step, but it’s one that can make a substantial difference in the accuracy of your results.

pressure decay leak test

  1. Incorrect Test Pressure Settings

Setting the correct test pressure is crucial for the success of your pressure decay test. If the test pressure is too high, it can lead to false positives, where you detect leaks that don’t actually exist. Conversely, if the test pressure is too low, genuine leaks might go undetected.

Ensure that the test pressure is set within the specified range for the component being tested. It’s often recommended to use the lowest pressure possible while still maintaining test sensitivity. Finding the right balance is key.

  1. Ignoring Test Environment Variables

The environment in which you conduct your pressure decay leak test can significantly impact the results. Temperature, humidity, and atmospheric conditions can all influence the pressure inside the component, leading to false readings.

To avoid this mistake, always take into account the environmental variables during your testing. If possible, conduct tests in a controlled environment or apply corrections to account for environmental changes.

  1. Overlooking Data Analysis and Documentation

After performing a pressure decay test, it’s not just about getting a pass or fail result. Proper data analysis and documentation are equally important. Neglecting these steps can make it challenging to identify trends, track improvements, or validate the integrity of your quality control process.

Create a system for recording and analysing your test data. Document each test’s parameters, results, and any abnormalities observed. This documentation can serve as a valuable resource for process improvement and troubleshooting down the line.


Incorporating a pressure decay leak test into your quality control process is a smart move, but ensuring its accuracy and reliability is paramount. By avoiding the common mistakes discussed in this blog, you can maintain the effectiveness of your tests and, in turn, the quality of your products.

Remember, proper equipment calibration, seal inspections, correct pressure settings, accounting for environmental variables, and robust data analysis are all essential components of a successful pressure decay leak testing process. So, embrace these best practices and keep your quality control airtight!

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