Söderhamn Nära saves customers from water damage

“Acoustic leak detection helped us identify leaks from day one.”

– Henrik Inancsi, Meter Manager at Söderhamn Nära

20% water loss each year

>100 leaks detected

The Challenge:

Illusive pipe leaks lead to damage and water loss

Each year, 400,000 m3 of water disappears on its way to Söderhamn Nära’s customers – that’s a water loss of 20%. Finding leaks was a costly, time-consuming hit-and-miss effort, taking anywhere from days to years. Once engineers suspected a leak, they would go from valve to valve to listen for it, shutting off areas one by one to verify their assumptions.

Areas with plastic pipes are particularly problematic. “You can’t hear the leak with our traditional equipment so unless it comes up to the surface, it’s almost impossible to find,” says Henrik Inancsi, Meter Manager at Söderhamn Nära.

The solution:

Acoustic leak detection accurately traces each leak

Today, Söderhamn Nära AB uses flowIQ® 2200 smart meters combined with the Leak Detector analytics tool to identify and verify potential leaks. The smart metering solution with acoustic leak detection enables targeted detection efforts at specific locations, ensuring efficient use of resources. So far, they have found more than 100 leaks in service connections or inside homes and properties in Söderhamn alone.
Acoustic leak detection traces leaks
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How can Leak Detector support your operations?

Leak Detector has become a part of Söderhamn Nära’s daily operations. Project manager Robin Lindberg and meter manager Henrik Inancsi currently have 15-20 addresses on their watch list where they follow noise level developments closely. So far, the new meters have found more than 100 leaks in service connections or inside homes and properties in Söderhamn.

“In the beginning, we checked every meter that detected an unexpected noise. But now we have learned to tell apart the different noise patterns, and we can tell if it is an actual leak or something else, like a heating pump or a dehumidifier,” says Robin.

Preventing property damage and unnecessary water costs 

Some customers are suspicious at first because they haven’t noticed anything out of the ordinary, but when they realise what could have happened, they often call back just to say ‘thank you!’

“So far we’ve made about 60 calls about leaks, running toilets and left-on garden hoses – all based on info codes from the READy Meter Data Management system or noise patterns in Leak Detector. We’ve helped our customers prevent property damage from a long-lasting leak, and we’ve helped them avoid paying enormous water bills for the leaking water,” says Henrik.

First leak after one hour

Robin and Henrik found their first leak after working with Leak Detector for just one hour. When they arrived at the address, they listened to the valve, and when they closed it off, the sound disappeared.

“According to the correlator, the leak was 4 meters from the wall,” says Robin.  “The size of the leak could have been substantial as it is in the middle of the city and close to the water reservoir where the water pressure is high."

Getting the full value from data

Söderhamn Nära’s goal is to have hourly measurements from all meters and to add district meters so they can implement additional analytics within 3 to 4 years. When all meters deliver hourly data, the enormous amount of data will provide a much better foundation, not just for leak detection and customer service, but also for maintenance and asset management investments.

“The more meters we install, the more we’ll know about trends and seasonal variations and the more effective the system will be,” Robin adds. “That is when we will see the full value of our data. We’re a small utility, so we have to take it step by step, but we’re definitely on the right track.”

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“Not only do we help prevent potential property damage from a long-lasting leak, but our customers also avoid paying for water they don’t use. This makes for great customer relationships, which is so important to us.”

– Henrik Inancsi, Meter Manager for Söderhamn Nära AB

Dig into the details of Leak Detector

Locate leaks in service connections and distribution mains based on acoustic noise data.

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