A water-heating cylinder, or geyser, is usually the most costly component of a home’s plumbing system. Geysers usually look like big metal cylinders and spend their time hidden out of view, either in the roof, basement, or a cupboard. Water coming into your home from the City of Cape Town is usually cold and needs to be heated up in order for you to take a warm shower or bath and use a dishwasher and washing machine, which is why you need a well functioning geyser
How a hot water cylinder works
While not looking like much, the average electric or gas geyser contains a very intricate mechanism to heat up incoming water, while keeping your home safe. Remember that a geyser that is overheated can be compared to half a kilo of TNT. A failing thermostat can push the temperature more that 70 degrees C with so much pressure on the rise faulty safety valves may not release and you can end up with a huge explosion.
Basically, water flows into the geyser through the dip tube, is heater by two elements, and the warm water then leaves the geyser through the heat-out or hot water pipe. Inside the water heater you find several safeguards that maintain the temperature (thermostats), keep the geyser free of corrosion (anode rod), and ensure that the pressure inside the water heater is within safe limits (pressure relief valve). If all these parts work together, you get hot water and an energy efficient geyser!
Causes for faulty geysers and hot water problems
- Water either hot or cold – If the hot water cylinder has a problem thermostat that is stuck in either the on or off mark, it results in either only cold water or boiling water and means that you need geyser maintenance. If the thermostat is stuck in the on position, switch of the geyser and call in a plumber immediately, as the geyser might burst!
- Only cold water – If the water is cold and the power is on you may have a faulty element or thermostat. You will need professional help
- Geyser leaking water – Should your geyser be in your ceiling and have water leaking, turn the geyser off at the main board and turn the water off as well as open the taps to alleviate some pressure. Then call a plumber!
- Steam coming from the overflow valve – This could indicate a problem with your thermostats and you will need to call in a professional plumber to evaluate this as soon as possible. Make sure to switch of the geyser until the problem is fixed
- Steady flow of water from geyser – This could mean that your pressure control valve needs replacement, which is a common geyser repair
- Noises coming from inside the water heater – If there are noises coming from your geyser, this could either point to sediment build up inside that tank. The other option is that the heating element is slowly burning out and the noise serves as a warning sound that it needs replacing. Call in a qualified plumber to do this job for you.
- Water smells – If you notice your hot water smelling like sulphur, there is chance that bacteria is building up in your geyser.
Tips on saving energy
- Insulate – Insulating the hot water cylinder and the pipes helps to retain the heat within your plumbing system
- Lower the temperature – Turn down the thermostat to around 55 degrees. This can have a dramatic effect on your electricity bill!
- Get a new geyser – If you have an old geyser, consider installing a new unit. Older models are more likely to run ineffectively and give you problems
- Use less hot water – Remember to switch off the hot water cylinder if you are going away for a few days. Also, taking a shower uses less hot water compared to bathing. Consider cleaning plates and dishes with cold water
Many homeowners who underestimate the need for geyser maintenance are compromising the safety of all those living inside. It is very important to check the geyser’s plumbing system regularly. Geysers that are installed in places like a ceiling are not very safe- imagine the consequences if the geyser burst and you were sleeping below. Many old installations were not done according to industry standards. Home ownership includes a regular check of the hot water system, in order to avoid problems and costly repairs.
Getting to know your plumbing system with regular maintenance could save you unnecessary geyser repair in the future and prolong its life
Solar Geyser Installations
With electricity prices increasing every year, many homeowners are opting to install solar hot water heaters. Solar hot water heaters basically capture and retain heat from the sun and transfer this capture heat to your water supply. The result is hot water and a lower electricity bill. Laws Plumbing is an ESKOM certified solar installation service.
Contact Laws Plumbing
You can either call us directly on 078 225 9939 or send us a quick message and we will get back to you