Do I have a burst geyser?
As weird as it seems, you might think you have a burst geyser, but it may not be, so don’t panic, take a deep breath and assess the situation. Have you taken the tranquiliser? ….ok then ask the question, “What makes me think that I have a burst geyser?”
- Do you have water pouring through the ceiling? Well that may be your geyser…but it could also be a burst pipe.
- Do you have water pouring out one of the pipes leading from the geyser to outside your house … the ones that stick out from underneath the roof? Well, it all depends on which pipe the water is pouring out of that indicates if it’s a burst geyser or not.
Now breathe again – yes go on breathe deeply …and then do the following:
- Go straight to your DB Board and flip the geyser switch down.
- Now take a walk outside and turn the shut-off valve to the main water supply off.
- Next pick up your phone and dial a reputable Plumber – yes you guessed it – that’s us!
So, how do I know if the geyser is burst?
The main geyser switch and the main water supply are turned off. The tranquilizer is kicking in and you can breathe a bit easier. Just for future reference though, you would still like to know about the burst geyser, so consider which pipe you saw the water coming from and if the water was hot or cold. This is a clue.
There should be 2 to 3 pipes leading from inside the ceiling through a part of an exterior wall and just beneath the roof of your house. Unless you took the wrong tranquiliser and are hallucinating, you should definitely see a PVC (Plastic Pipe) about 50mm in diameter and at least 1 metal pipe, about 20mm in diameter. If the Pressure Control Valve is installed on the cold water inlet pipe just before the geyser, you should see a 3rd metal pipe extending to outside your house. Where the water is coming from and its temperature will tell you if the geyser has burst – so there are 3 possible scenarios:
1. The water is pouring from the plastic pipe
If water is pouring out of the plastic (PVC) pipe your geyser has most likely burst.
A correctly installed geyser includes the installation of a geyser drip tray with a PVC outlet pipe plumbed to the exterior of your house. When a correctly installed geyser bursts (which is really more of a leak in most instances), the water will leak from it into the overflow tray. The water then flows through the pipe to the outside of the house, preventing and minimising damage to the ceiling and whatever is stored in your house beneath the ceiling.
The bad news is a burst geyser cannot be repaired. (Don’t let anyone tell you it can) it has to be replaced.
Water pouring from the plastic pipe could also indicate a leaking drain cock or a damaged flange. Both of these can also be replaced. A qualified plumber will assess which of the above has occurred and advise you accordingly so don’t panic until the professional has assessed the damage
2. Hot water is pouring from the metal pipe
Your geyser installation includes a metal pipe that is a vent pipe for the Thermostat and Safety valve. Hot water pouring from this pipe could mean the thermostat is faulty. The job of the thermostat is to control the temperature of the water in the geyser. It tells the element when to switch on, as the water has cooled down and switches the element off once it reaches the set heat.
When a thermostat stops functioning, the water keeps boiling and eventually blows the safety valve of the geyser. It can seem quite frightening. In this instance, your thermostat and safety valve will need replacing. This is when it is most important to have immediately switched off the geyser at the main DB board and turned off the main water sup.
3. Cold water is pouring from the metal pipe
If there’s cold water pouring out of a metal pipe, it’s the Pressure Control Valve (PCV). This reduces the pressure of the water entering the geyser and also balances the pressure of the hot and cold water supply to baths, showers and basins.
NB: It is completely normal for water to drip out of this pipe intermittently through the day. This happens as the pressure in the geyser builds up. The PCV triggers and releases this pressure resulting it some water being released. If the water is pouring out consistently though, this means that the valve needs to be replaced.
How do I make sure it’s properly repaired?
In all of the above three scenarios, the situation needs to be correctly assessed and something needs to be replaced. Don’t incur more expense in the long run by trying to repair these parts or fittings, or by contacting a ‘Back of the bakkie’ Plumber who will advise you incorrectly or fit the wrong parts. Reputable, professional plumbers will always give you the best service with your interests at heart – hence the free advisory blogs we give you to try to save you money. Now once again – breathe!