Water Leaks : The First Fix Free Scheme

Irish Water and the local authorities have always said that there appears to be a high level of water leakage on the “customer side”.  In an Irish Water usage survey in 2014 – it was found that 1% of the 1650  houses  surveyed were using 20% of the water used by all the houses in the survey .  If the figures from that survey were replicated nationally – that could mean as many as 12,000 homes leaking  10 million litres a day between them.

It is estimated that about 77,000  homes could have leaks – with about  23,000 of those being external leaks outside the property.  In a 2014 pilot scheme  – it was found that  63% of leaks identified occurred within the Dwelling and  37% of leaks were on the External Supply Pipe .

To help fix these leaks it was mentioned by Minister Hogan at the time Irish Water was being set up that a scheme would be implemented that would enable certain leaks on  private property to be fixed free of charge by Irish Water. The government did promise funding of €51 million to pay for this.
Because water bills are suspended until  later in 2017  – homeowners won’t see the effect of large leaks on their  bills , so maybe they won’t be as concerned. Regardless of cost. a large leak could badly damage your home even if it is outside.

Normally – as with all utilities – any pipework inside private property boundary  is the responsibility of the property owner to maintain and repair at their own expense. There are some companies that specialise in finding leaks such as Lo Flow
The  First Fix Free  scheme is  available to domestic, metered customers who have registered with Irish Water and whose property has a working and accessible inside stop valve.  By Feb 2017 over 26000 leaks had been fixed under this scheme.

Customers were be notified by Irish Water where their meter indicates a potential leak.  Only larger leaks will be highlighted by Irish Water  (over 6l an hour for 48 hours or more). So that means as much as 53000 litres a year could be leaking  and the householder won’t know. It is estimated that  about 70,000 leak notification letters  were sent out before the end of 2016.
Customers had to respond within 14 days to this letter. If they did  not respond they would have got  2 reminder letters – and no more.

If someone does not have a meter installed, but has a visible leak on their property – they may also be eligible for help and should get in touch with Irish Water . (Property means any garden / driveway etc within the property boundary)

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Leaks qualifying for “first fix free”  will have to be on the supply pipe between the  property boundary and the actual dwelling.   Any leaks in or under the dwelling  will not be covered.

Householders will be first asked to carry out checks for internal leaks – the most common of which are faulty toilet cisterns that leak water into the toilet. Call Irish Water on 1850 278 278

If no internal leak is obvious then an an engineerfrom Irish Water will need to  carry  out an investigation at the property to identify the source and location of the leak (using a ground microphone and pulse wave generator) .  If this establishes that the leak is external to the property and it can be located, Irish Water will offer a leak repair.

Irish Water will repair all leaks (even where multiple leaks are found on a single supply pipe
for a single customer) and in some cases carry out pipe replacements.