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Geyser inspection, crucial but overlooked

October 23, 2011

Geyser inspection, crucial but overlooked (Media24)

One of the last things we think about when buying a new home is the condition of the water geyser. We automatically assume that it is within building standards and plumbing regulations, but since plumbing regulations changed in 2001  faulty geysers and poor installation have attributed to a number of deaths in South Africa.

Electric hot water storage geysers installed before June 2001 need not comply with the legislation passed in 2001. What this means is that there are a lot of death traps out there, although insurance companies are advising their clients to upgrade their geyser installation for fear of no cover unless they are compliant with the new legislation.

Typically a geyser is installed on the roof trusses above the ceiling. In the event of the geyser bursting, water can pour down the ceilings, affecting light fittings, walls, carpeting and furniture in the room below, and if it should happen to burst in the middle of the night, could even pour on to a person fast asleep in their bed.

Water in a geyser should be set at 55°C, but in the case of a geyser where there is electrical control failure the water temperature increases beyond 100 degrees centigrade. In the event of the geyser being ruptured, superheated water at reduced pressure will increase in volume releasing energy in an explosive and catastrophic scale.

For many of us in South Africa we take hot water for granted. Imagine the delay in having your geyser fixed or replaced; no baths, no showers for a couple of days. You have to wait for your insurance company to pay out for any damages to your house, and if there was an injury involved there is the urgent trip to the Emergency Room.

Inspecting a house is a crucial step in the home buying process, which a lot of people overlook. Only plumbers or home inspectors are qualified to do inspections on the plumbing in a home, and a thorough home inspection by a professional will not only detect plumbing problems but also any other latent defects with the home.

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