The 3 leading causes of a burst geyser
Most adults who have actually had to ‘adult’ at some point in their life, will understand the woes of having a burst geyser in their home. Ruined ceilings, warped flooring and destroyed cupboard units, carpets that smell like a wet dog for three years (if you bothered to save them through expensive water extraction)… We’ve not even mentioned furniture, electronics and personal belongings that get damaged.
We’d like to categorically agree that, in the event of a burst geyser, if given the choice between being a grown-up and being a unicorn, the latter does have its perks.
So why do geysers burst in the first place?
Although geysers are tough appliances and made to be durable, they can still fail when placed under extreme stress or when they become older and begin to suffer the effects of corrosion. We can identify three major causes of a burst geyser, which you can watch out for:
1- Over Pressure
If the temperature in your geyser becomes too hot, the pressure inside the geyser will also rise. In the same way that a balloon will burst when it’s filled with too much air, increased internal pressure inside a geyser may cause it to burst and leak.
Geysers are fitted with T&P relief valves – for temperature and pressure. When the heat and pressure inside a geyser builds, the valve is opened and water can gush out safely through a drainage pipe. When the valve fails to operate as it should, the geyser may burst and leak, or even explode.
Prevent pressure build-up:
- Ensure that your geyser temperature isn’t set to high – 60°C is a comfortable temperature that won’t put your geyser at jeopardy.
- Test your valves once or twice each year, to ensure that they’re in working order – especially prior to winter months. If you’re not sure how to do this or find it intimidating, call a plumber in to check it for you.
All water – and especially hard water – contains minerals. Over time, trace amounts of minerals settle at the bottom of the geyser and eventually form a layer of sediment that insulates the water from the heating element. As a result, the element has to run longer to heat the water – over time this can either overheat the water, causing pressure build-up (refer to point 1) or cause the tank to deteriorate.
Pro tip: to prevent sediment build-up from reaching the level of causing damage, it’s recommended to have your geyser flushed and drained once every year or two, particularly if your area receives hard water.
3- Rust & Corrosion
Geysers are manufactured from steel – mostly iron. This unfortunately makes it susceptible to rust, a major bummer with any appliance that comes into contact with water and air. To address this problem, an internal anode rod is installed in all geysers to ‘attract’ the rust. It’s the sacrificial rod: Greater love hath no rod, than to lay down his life for his geyser.
In other words, the anode rod rusts first, sacrificing itself to spare the geyser. Once the rod has basically rusted away to nothing, though, the geyser will start to rust, which will be apparent by brown water coming from your hot tap. The internal rusting puts the geyser at risk of bursting, as it gets thinner and more brittle.
Prevent rust in your geyser – have your anode rod inspected every two years. It will need to be replaced after about 5 years. Pssst, in some cases insurance even covers the replacement of this rod. Best you check before it becomes a rod for your back!
A burst geyser presents damage and danger
When a geyser bursts or explodes, it not only causes major damage to a home; it can also be dangerous in more serious cases. The best way to prevent a burst geyser is to put maintenance measures in place – consider calling a plumber every year or so to inspect your hot water system. We recommend that this is done before the winter months, which is when our geysers and pipes are placed under extra pressure.
If you’re concerned that you’re at risk of a burst geyser, give us a call and we’ll check it out at once!