Faulty geysers can cause a flood of problems in winter

Every year, the insurance industry spends millions of rands on water damage caused by malfunctioning hot water geysers.In winter, when geysers suffer more wear and tear, claims for geyser-related damage increase.

Budget Insurance is urging homeowners to give their geysers a little TLC this winter so that they can endure the bitter temperatures.

“A defective geyser is a serious concern. Besides destroying fixtures and fittings in the property, it can also cause serious injury or even death. Geysers that burst are dangerous and to prevent devastating consequences, it is worthwhile having your geyser checked out by a professional before the cold weather really sets in,” says Budget Insurance spokesman, Graham Craggs.

Expansion and contraction of the geyser tank and its components occur during normal usage as hot water leaves the geyser and is replaced with cold water. However, in winter the cold water temperature can drop considerably. The temperature difference between the cold water entering the geyser and the hot water leaving the geyser is therefore much greater than it is during the summer. This increases the rate of expansion and contraction, which can lead to metal fatigue.

“So, although cold weather won’t cause your geyser to burst, your geyser is more vulnerable to bursting during cold weather if it is old or if the valves or thermostat are faulty,” says Craggs.

Typically, geysers have a lifespan of five years and over this time they corrode. Craggs says that homeowners can lengthen the lifespan of their geysers by maintaining them properly.

Experts recommend that geysers be serviced by a qualified plumber every three years. A geyser service would entail draining the geyser and checking its components including the anode, element and thermostat. Lime scale and sludge should be removed from the tank and element, and the whole system should be checked for leaks.

At the same time, it is advisable to fit a drip-tray, if there isn’t one already in place beneath the geyser. The outlet pipe on a drip-tray carries away most of the water if the geyser does burst, making it a helpful measure for limiting water damage to walls, carpets and other home contents.

The plumber should also check that the thermostat temperature on the geyser isn’t set too high. 60 degrees C is the recommended temperature. Geysers are known to burst when the thermostat is incorrectly set or badly regulated as it will incorrectly control the heat levels of the water in the geyser and possibly cause an explosion due to the amount of steam that accumulates.

“Your geyser’s thermostat controls the temperature of the water in the tank, keeping the water at a constant temperature regardless of what the weather is like outside. Your geyser has to work so much harder when the weather is cold and your household’s hot water needs increase. That’s one of the reasons why your household energy bill increases during winter.

“To ease the burden on your geyser, turn down the thermostat to 60 degrees C and fit a geyser blanket to help reduce heat loss. This will help reduce your geyser’s power consumption and ultimately, your electricity bill,” says Craggs.

It is wise to switch off your geyser from time to time, especially during peak electricity demand periods, but it’s best to not let it get cold, as this additional contraction-expansion cycle could decrease the life of your geyser, while also consuming more electricity to reheat the water.

“Prevention is better than cure, and you must keep an eye out for the early warning signs of geyser failure. If you notice that water coming from the geyser isn’t as hot as it used to be, that the water pressure isn’t high enough, that too much water or steam is coming from the hot water overflow pipe on your roof, that the geyser is making strange humming, hissing or cracking noises, or you notice wet spots near the geyser, disaster may be around the corner and it must be inspected immediately,” says Craggs.

If your geyser bursts, switch off the electricity mains immediately, turn off the water mains, and call your plumber and insurer.

  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
Characters remaining

    Latest Property News
    • 23 May 2018
      Homeowners who are thinking of selling and “trading up” to a bigger or a better home had better be quick now if they want to get the best deal.
    • 23 May 2018
      The new Loftus Park development in Arcadia is really going to boost the demand for homes and rental accommodation close by and the neighbouring suburb of Sunnyside, says Gerhard Kotzé, MD of estate agency group RealNet Holdings.
    • 23 May 2018
      The importance of correctly pricing a property for sale is more imperative than ever. This is according to Debbie Justus-Ferns, divisional manager of Renprop Residential Sales, who says that despite this crucial selling fact being emphasised so often, in the current market, many sellers are still expecting unrealistic prices for their homes which is having a negative impact on the ultimate sale price.
    • 22 May 2018
      Extreme weather appears to be the new normal, evident by the volume of insurance-related disputes reaching the industry watchdog’s desk. To avoid a situation in which your insurer refuses to pay up, you should proactively ensure that your home is well-maintained and ready for whatever winter has in store.
    • 22 May 2018
      As the impact of technology on the real estate industry becomes more significant, it is clear that there is a need for an objective look at not only traditional real estate models but also online and other alternative low-commission real estate agencies, to examine what they offer and what their impact might be.
    • 22 May 2018
      According to Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, dealing with some sort of neighbour dispute is an unavoidable part of life unless, perhaps, you choose to live on a remote small holding for the rest of your life.
    • 22 May 2018
      Buyers feel that they are getting value for money in the Northcliff area without having to compromise on aesthetics and amenities
    • 21 May 2018
      Secure living is one of the growing property trends in South Africa and Nooitgedacht Estate in Stellenbosch certainly ticks the right boxes for buyers who want a secure, exclusive lifestyle in one of the Boland’s most sought-after estates, says Pam Golding Properties.
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us