One can hardly imagine modern life without the use of a hot-water geyser in our homes. We have become so dependent on the convenience of this appliance, yet we tend to give very little thought to the maintenance and care of this vital addition to our homes.
Generally, this is not a problem. A quality geyser that has been installed properly can last for years without causing any problems. Therein lies the secret: proper installation by a professional, accredited plumber. Cutting corners can lead to many complications and the potential damage caused by a burst geyser can be immense. That said, there is no need for alarm. Simply make sure that you educate yourself on the basic information related to proper geyser care and always use trusted plumbers when it comes to the installation or repairs of geysers. We’ve collected some of the most important facts pertaining to geysers to help you understand the necessary basics.
What Can Cause A Geyser to Burst
Some of the more common factors that can lead to a geyser bursting are:
● The build-up of sediment: Water naturally contains minerals. The “harder” the water in your area, the more minerals it generally contains. Over time, these minerals can settle at the bottom of your geyser’s water tank. If this is left unattended, it could eventually lead to your geyser overheating which, in turn, can cause it to burst.
● Rust: As geysers are generally made of metal, it is subject to deterioration and rust over long periods of time. This can compromise the structural integrity of the geyser’s water tank. If weakened enough, it can burst.
● A faulty or incorrectly set thermostat: The thermostat is one of the most important parts of a geyser, as it is the thermostat that regulates the temperature of the water. If the thermostat is set too high, or if it malfunctions and the temperature increases by too much, it will cause the internal pressure to build up. If the pressure gets too high, it could cause the geyser to burst.
● A faulty pressure-relief valve: Aside from the thermostat that manages the temperature, there is an equally important pressure-relief valve that regulates the pressure. When a certain level of pressure is reached, this valve releases some water in order to lower the pressure. Again, if the valve is faulty, it could malfunction, leading to a pressure build-up – and a potential burst geyser.
Tips to Help Prevent Your Geyser from Bursting
As mentioned, there is no need to worry unnecessarily. A burst geyser is not something that happens every day. However, there are some precautions you can take to make sure your geyser stays in top shape and lasts longer. Some of these precautions include:
● Having it serviced: It is recommended that you have your geyser serviced every three years by a qualified and registered plumber. The service should include the plumber checking the element, valve, and thermostat, as well as check for any leaks and remove any sediment or dirt.
● Maintaining an acceptable temperature: Do, under no circumstances, simply turn up the heat on your geyser. Generally, the recommended temperature is 60 °C.
● Fitting a drip tray: Your geyser should have a drip tray. Make sure this is present and in the correct position. While this does not prevent a geyser from bursting, it can play an important role in minimising the resulting water damage by directing the water towards the overflow pipe.
How to Recognise A Burst Geyser?
There are several signs that could warn you of either a potential burst or an impending disaster that could be averted. Some of the warning signs that you should keep an eye out for include:
● Water running down the walls or dripping from the ceiling where the geyser is located: This is obviously a clear sign that something is seriously wrong.
● Wet spots around the geyser: This is similar to the above point but more contained. Check for wet spots that could indicate a leak.
● The water is not as hot as it used to be: This could be an indication that either the thermostat is malfunctioning or that the water is escaping somewhere.
● The water pressure is not as high as it used to be: Again, this could be an indication that there is a problem with the pressure-relief valve or that water is escaping somewhere.
● Too much water or steam is coming from your overflow pipe: While it is normal for some water to flow through the overflow pipe, this should not be a continuous stream, and should not be boiling hot water. If this is the case. you may have a faulty thermostat or geyser component.
● Strange noises coming from the geyser: If you hear strange noises, such as a hum, knocking, cracking, or hissing coming from the geyser, it could indicate a fault.
Risks of A Burst Geyser
A burst geyser is dangerous for a variety of reasons. First and foremost is the risk of injury of people or pets in the house. If the burst is sudden and violent, it might cause the ceiling to collapse, or hot water to be sprayed onto unsuspecting victims. Water, whether hot or cold, is very damaging. It ruins ceilings, floors, carpets, and furniture permanently and repairs or replacements might be costly and time-consuming. It could also potentially cause structural damage, depending on the state of the building and the position of the geyser. Furthermore, it is also possible for the escaping water to cause a short in the electricity supply, which is at best inconvenient and at worst a fire hazard.
What to Do You If Your Geyser Bursts
If your geyser bursts or even if you are concerned that something is not right, act immediately. Before you do anything else, switch off your geyser at the main electrical distribution board. This will ensure that it does not continue heating the water. If the problem is related to overheating or pressure that is too high, this will help to alleviate it. Turn off your water mains, as this will also stop any more water from flowing through your geyser. After you have done this, you can also open a hot water tap to help alleviate the pressure. Do not drain your geyser if you have left the electricity on. Next, call a certified plumber to inspect the geyser. Do not attempt to fix or tamper with the geyser yourself. Finally, if you are insured, call your insurer in order to start the claims process as soon as possible.
Who to Call to Install A New Geyser or Fix A Broken Geyser
Any work that needs to be done on a geyser, whether it is the installation of a new geyser, servicing an existing one, or doing any repairs to it, must be done by a qualified plumber. In South Africa, it is also required by the so-called “geyser law” that a certificate of compliance is issued with every installation or repair of a geyser. In order to do this, a plumber must strictly adhere to SANS 10254 security measures and be registered with the Plumbing Institute Regulatory Board (PIRB).
Whether It Is Really Necessary to Use A Professional, Registered Plumber
Yes. This is not negotiable. It is a requirement of the law in order to ensure the safety of geysers. Failure to comply with this regulation could lead to you being a victim of unreliable work, which in turn could have dire consequences for you and your property. Also, if your geyser were to malfunction while it is still under the manufacturer’s warranty, the manufacturer has the full right to void the warranty if the installation or repair work does not meet the SANS 10254 regulations. Similarly, insurance companies will also not cover claims related to the replacement of a geyser and/or damage caused by a malfunctioning one if the installation did not meet SANS 10254 regulations. This could leave you with a massive bill in terms of renovations.
Why Alpha Plumbing Should Be Your Preferred Plumber
If you are in the greater Johannesburg area, your choice of plumber should be an easy one: Alpha Plumbing. We are registered with the Institute of Plumbing of South Africa (IOPSA), the Plumbing Institute Regulatory Board (PIRB), and the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA), ensuring that all work performed is always of the highest quality and meets all the relevant regulations. What’s more, all parts used are SABS-certified and carry a manufacturer’s warranty.
We have nine plumbing teams that provide same-day service wherever possible and no subcontractors are used for that extra peace of mind that you are receiving the quality of service you are expecting. What’s more, we all know that plumbing emergencies do not keep office hours, so Alpha Plumbing offers a 24-hour service in the greater Johannesburg area and do not charge a higher rate for plumbing emergencies that happen outside of normal “office hours”.
If you need a reliable and PIRB-registered plumber, look no further than Alpha Plumbing