Leaking pipes - any assistance with costs to fix

Discussion in 'Water metering and charges' started by Murph2015, Jul 14, 2015.

  1. Murph2015

    Murph2015 New Member

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    Hi,

    My Mam received a bill from Irish Water for €8500 for the first quarter of the year! Her pressure has been getting steadily worse and at this point she now has no hot water at all as there is not enough pressure to get water up to the tank in the attic. Clearly there is a leak so we contacted Irish Water and they have come out to investigate.

    They have confirmed there are a series of leaks in the pipes (house was built about 60 years ago) - they will fix their part of the leaks but it is our responsability to fix anything in/under the house. They have advised that there are "numerous and significant" leaks that we will need to fix.

    Waiting on a plumber to come back to us now with the options and costs - the Irish Water rep advised that potentially we would have to take up the floors in the house; another possibility may be to lay a new pipe around the house to bypass the existing leaky pipes and then join up with the existing system outside.

    Don't have definite figures yet but it seems like the above could be very costly and I had thought that the home insurance would cover it. However, they have said they do not cover repair of leaking pipes and will only pay up to €650 to repair any damage caused in the process of fixing the pipes. Has anybody come across this type of situation? Don't really want to end up with a bill for a few thousand euro. On the other hand, we can't leave my Mam without water. Any suggestions greatly appreciated!

    Thanks
     
  2. Leo

    Leo Moderator

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    Unfortunately there is no assistance available. Identifying the source of leaks can be quite difficult and require a lot of stripping back to locate and remedy. Get the opinions of a few plumbers, a full or partial re-plumb might be the best option as if you have that many leaks, it's likely the pipes are very badly corroded.

    Does the house have central heating and is it working well?
     
  3. Murph2015

    Murph2015 New Member

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    Thanks Leo. Yes there is central heating...recently had someone out to look at it as it was only working on and off but seems to be fine now.
     
  4. DirectDevil

    DirectDevil Frequent Poster

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    Just came across this.

    I do not understand why the household insurers say that they do not cover the repair of leaking pipes or that their maximum liability is €650.

    Most household insurance policies cover the cost of repairing burst water pipes. Technically, a leaking pipe should be regarded as being burst ! By any chance was this notified to the wrong insurers ? The buildings insurers should cover the repair of burst pipes.

    Follow it up again as I would not be happy to accept what you have been told.
     
  5. Leo

    Leo Moderator

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    Unfortunately they have themselves covered in their T&Cs. A leaking pips is not considered a burst pipe, as a leak is considered a gradually operating cause, and are explicitly excluded in many policies. Gradually operating causes cover many of the issues that proper maintenance should mitigate.

    If you want additional coverage, you would need to arrange for specific cover.
     
  6. Guns N Roses

    Guns N Roses Frequent Poster

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    This option should be the cheapest and better option. The existing pipe is likely to be beyond repair.
     
  7. W200

    W200 Frequent Poster

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    Depending on the design of the house it may not be necessary to re rout a new pipe around it.
    If the house has a subfloor i.e. a gap under timber floors downstairs then a new supply can be installed via this rout. It would be much cheaper and any plumber will be able to tell you if it’s possible. £8500!! That’s frightening.
     
  8. newirishman

    newirishman Frequent Poster

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    Not entirely sure why someone else - be it an Insurance company or the general public by way of taxation - should pay to fix someone's leaky plumbing in a house. Don't know how old the house is, but no plumbing lasts forever.
     
  9. DirectDevil

    DirectDevil Frequent Poster

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    I would not accept this quite so easily.

    I had this point out with a reputable insurance company with whom I had to contend on behalf of an elderly relative being given the run around.

    You are perfectly correct in what you say about gradually operating causes, the actual wording of the policy as well as the associated Ts and Cs.

    My argument was that the nature of the contingency [leaking pipe] was actually an insured peril within the wording of the policy. To attempt to dismiss a leaking pipe case as a gradually operating cause - and therefore excluded - was both lazy and a very poor interpretation of a contract wording. Paradoxically, the pipe in question might have been leaking for a while in the sense that it was not a sudden violent cascade of water which was instantly obvious. I argued that it was a properly insured peril which had a gradually operating character to it but that the proximate cause was a contingency well within the scope of the policy.

    After minimal consideration they got the point, backed off and settled my uncle's claim entirely satisfactorily.
     
  10. AidanG

    AidanG New Member

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    This may be a red herring but my mams house was built circa 1960 with raised timber floors. The central heating was all plumbed with the old gun-barrel pipe and this had corroded leading to several leaks below the sub floor. The water was all draining away happily into the ground and I only investigated it when I realised how much she was spending on fuel. The point I am slowly getting to is that the water was leaking from the heating system and had it been in recent times with metering she would have had a large water bill as a result because the heating system was constantly filling to compensate for the leaks. This may be part of the problem in your mam's house also. If so, you will have to fix the heating system leaks.

    BTW - if you do have to replace the incoming water pipe make sure you bury it deep enough to avoid frost
     
  11. postman pat

    postman pat Frequent Poster

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  12. Thirsty

    Thirsty Frequent Poster

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    Am interested in the insurance aspect here.

    After a full year since the meter was installed, IW contractors came out, chopped out concrete, dug a nice big hole and then told me they couldn't fix the leak as the pipe in question was under the front step. They then filled back in the hole and concreted over it again. So now I have to get someone to do it all over again :(

    DirectDevil would you have a good template letter I should send to my insurers?
     
  13. Palerider

    Palerider Frequent Poster

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    The fix is yours to cover, bypass the old works by taking the new pipes around the house burying enough to avoid risk from freezing, rejoin the house system at a suitable junction, hard cheese but there you go.
     
  14. Leo

    Leo Moderator

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    DirectDevil has stated they successfully negotiated a claim for a similar issue, so they're just looking for guidance on that.
     
    Thirsty likes this.
  15. Thirsty

    Thirsty Frequent Poster

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    @Palerider
     
  16. Clonback

    Clonback Frequent Poster

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    Check your policy for trace and access cover.I made a successful claim under this section some years ago.
     
    Thirsty likes this.
  17. SDMXTWO

    SDMXTWO Frequent Poster

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    Am looking for information on leaks myself as we have just discovered the expansion tank in attic is constantly trying to fill but cannot due to underground leak. Saw this method and am looking for cost of charge out fee. See:
    Acoustic method – Simply listening for the hissing/rumbling noise emitted by the leak through the pipe network and surrounding floor the leak can be detected down to a square foot.

    Gas Tracer method - Involves pressurising the system with an inert non-toxic gas the gas will escape through the leak and rise to the floor surface to be traced using a “sniffer probe”. Traditionally plumbers would simply explore and dig numerous hole until water is located. Lowflo’s Tracer Gas method removes all the doubt and saves customers damaging tiling & wooden floors.

    Once the leak has been located Lowflo’s extensive plumbing experience means that we lift flooring, excavate and completely repair the leak.