Geysers inside cupboards

HouseCheck inspectors sometimes find hot water geysers located in cupboards.  This is especially prevalent in sectional title units and multi-level developments where there is inadequate roof cavity space to accommodate the geyser, says John Graham, CEO of HouseCheck.

Buyers and property owners should be aware that geysers located inside a cupboard can potentially cause serious water damage if the geyser fails – unless the geyser has been properly installed in accordance with the National Building Regulations (NBR).

The most-often seen problem with geysers located inside cupboards is the absence of a drip tray and the lack of a proper system of overflow pipes – designed to take water from the geyser safely to the outside.

The NBR (Sans SANS 10254:2004) states that: “When the storage water heater is installed in a manner and position where any leakage from the storage water heater and its ancillary components can cause damage to property in any manner, it shall be furnished with a drip tray that complies with SANS 1848.

“A properly installed discharge pipe must connect the drip tray through an external wall in order to discharge on the outside of the building in a visible position”.

In addition there must also be discharge (overflow) pipes extending from the cold water supply pressure balancing valve (multi-valve) and from the temperature and pressure (T&P) valve – both also extending safety to the outside.   The pipe from the T&P valve, because it has to be capable of handling boiling water, must be metal and 20mm in diameter.  The multi-valve is normally found on the one end of the geyser and the T&P valve on the other.

Buyers and owners of existing properly, where the geyser has been installed inside a cupboard, are strongly advised to check that a drip tray and overflow pipes have been properly installed.

The alternative, should the geyser fail, is serious damage to the cupboard, carpeting and flooring, plus the possibility of burns from super-heated water.  John Graham

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