Does your hot water appear to be brown when it comes out the tap or does your geyser not heat up correctly? Chances are that your geyser or a component is damaged. Don’t worry we can help. Drain Geyser Plumbing Experts cc has years’ experience in the repair and installation of geysers. Our professional team of plumbers and electricians can assist you with every part of the process from general maintenance to fitting a brand new geyser to your property.
We will describe the typical basic requirements of a sound, modern high pressure, horizontal installation. The following description relates to a modern high pressure (400/600Kpa) system typically made by Kwikot South Africa and others. Horizontally mounted 150 or 200 litre units are by far the most common in modern domestic installations. Less common are old low pressure systems (100kpa) open pipe or "Latco" type systems. Be aware that the parts are NOT interchangeable between the two distinct systems - High pressure and Low pressure! It is possible to remove an old low pressure system and replace it with a modern high pressure system however - you buy a new high pressure geyser and install it according to the current specification. Vertical geysers are also common. The same rules apply but there are some special considerations detailed at the end - with a diagram..
Drip Tray. The most obvious thing that you should notice right away. The geyser sits in a tray made of plastic (often red) or tin plate. I prefer the plastic ones. They don't leak. Since June 2001, the drip tray is not optional - its got to be there and there has to be a drain pipe for it! The drain is a 50mm PVC waste pipe that drains the tray by piping the water out the house. I have seen many drip trays installed without drains! If your installation pre-dates June 2001 you may want to get a plumber to look at it. There is a fair chance that there is no drip tray.
The next most noticeable feature would be the vacuume breakers. These are small brass components mounted at the end of a 30cm length of pipe. They two vacuume breakers stand vertically about 30cm above the geyser. These are important. They stop the water siphoning out the geyser when the cold supply is stopped. The other other function is to prevent a vacume forming in the tank and collapsing it. It can be argued that this is the primary function but I dont see it as such. Remember that vacuume breakers are a reasonably new requirement - there are still thousands of old HP systems out there without vacume breakers and I am yet to see one collapse. Just because I havent seen it does'nt mean it's not happening however! It is also more likely to happen in a multi story building because the siphon can draw a more powerfull vacuume. New systems MUST have breakers!
A shut off valve (tap) on the cold water side. The cold water side is the side that directly connects to the drain cock and enters the geyser at the bottom. After the shut off valve you would normally find a Pressure Control Valve (PCV). There are a number of different types. Mostly made of brass but some are made of plastic. You should notice a overflow pipe connected to the PCV that leads to the outside of the building. This is where the PCV releases pressure and this is the pipe that often drips. Don't panic if you cannot find the PCV next to the geyser - it may be mounted up to 10m away, often in a more accessible place on a wall outside. Sometimes it's in a little plastic box outside.
A safety valve, known as the Temperature and pressure safety valve (T&P Valve) mounted on the geyser towards the top, often on the opposite side to the drain cock. This is a VITAL component that should NEVER be messed with or "repaired". This valve should have a metal (copper or steel) pipe connected to it and the pipe must lead directly out the building. This vent pipe is an important safety feature of the whole system. It must be made of copper or steel - NOT plastic. The pressure rating on this valve must match the pressure rating on the geyser. The T&P valve is the least optional component - it has to be there!