When you buy a new home have you ever thought about how long the geyser may last before you encounter problems? Probably not!
Your homeowner’s insurance may replace a burst geyser. However, be sure to check if you can claim the cost of repairs or if your home is unlivable due to water damage. Some policies allow you to claim for accommodation for the time it takes for your home to be habitable again.
Most geysers will not give you problems for ten years or more in new houses. Check with the seller how old the house is if you are buying a house. Also, check if the geyser has been replaced and when.
Most modern geysers in South Africa are high-pressure hot water heaters.
Never work on geysers yourself unless you are a licenced plumber and you know what you are doing! They are high-pressure vessels and can explode.
Home inspectors report that the most common defect in South African homes is an incorrectly installedgeyser. Notably, this defect is potentially dangerous and is mainly a result of untrained, or un-supervised workers installing hot water heating systems.
Exploding geysers kill people in South Africa every year.
Temperature and pressure release valves
All high-pressure water heaters must have a temperature and pressure release valve (TPR valve). This valve controls two critical functions: pressure and temperature. Therefore, do not tamper with this valve!
If the thermostat fails and the temperature rises beyond 70°C, pressure increases. In this case, with the rising temperature, the TPR valve on the geysers will release if it is working correctly. Moreover, this happens either because of excessive heat or pressure.
If the TPR valves are faulty, the boiling point of water can rise above 120°C! The pressure will reach a point where the geysers’ pressure tanks rupture. At this point, the water turns into steam instantly. As a result, the 150 litres water in your geyser will now occupy 240,000 litres of space! This results in an explosion of the ferocity of a half kilogram of dynamite ( approximately 2½ sticks). Not only will the damage be excessive, but, as a consequence, lives can be at risk.
The intention of this article is to inform you, in the interests of your and your family’s safety, what you should and should not see if you happen to stick your head into the ceiling space to check out your hot water geyser. If your geyser installation is significantly different from what is described here, I suggest that you get a reputable plumber to repair it. Check out the videos at the bottom of this article!