What to do when your geyser bursts!
Chances are that you won’t need to put in a geyser claim anytime soon. But – what if the odds are not in your favour and your geyser 'decides' to come apart in spectacular fashion? Wouldn’t you rather have your insurer pay for all the damages?
The very first thing that you should do when your geyser bursts, is to switch off the water supply to your property. If you have a water meter, the stop-cock is usually situated with the meter.
Once you have found the valve and closed it, switch off the electrical power to the geyser on your main electrical board. If you aren’t too sure which is which, just turn off the MAIN switch on the board and call us!
If you have been away from your home for a while and find the outlet pipe at your geyser dripping a lot of water, it may be a good idea to run your taps for a couple of minutes. Run both hot and cold taps to ease the pressure inside the geyser.
Water dripping from the ceiling is not a sure-fire way to determine that it is, in fact, a ‘burst’ geyser, it could be any one of several other things, for example an overflowing valve, a leaking vacuum breaker or even just a burst pipe.
DO NOT WAIT! CALL FOR IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE
There are many who do not realise that most insurance companies offer a “geyser hotline”, where help to find a plumber and replacement is expedited. The insurance company would give the home owner details of preferred service providers and in most cases, there would be a reduction in the insurance excess payment or, in some cases, no insurance excess payable at all, should the owner use the insurers preferred service providers.
Freshfields will always highlight these numbers on its accompanying renewal email and recommend that the number is saved in your cell-phone.
IMPORTANT POINTs TO REMEMBER
The insurer’s maximum settlement is usually around R6 000 per geyser claim, less the excess amount - this is the standard.
As part of your Homeowners/Personal Lines insurance policy, you are under obligation to maintain the good repair of your geyser. If an appointed claim assessor determines that your geyser is in a bad state, the insurer may reject your claim.
How to maintain your geyser to prevent accidents
Please see below these handy tips for you to check when maintaining your geyser:
Insulate your geyser with a geyser blanket. This prevents heat loss, reducing the cost of electricity needed to keep water hot.
Turn down your geyser temperature to 60 degrees Celsius. This will save some money on your electricity bill.
Check that the electrical isolator switch is within 1 meter of the geyser. This was not a requirement on old geysers. The geyser also has to be earthed.
Check that you have a drip tray and that it can safely drain away any leaks from a burst geyser. This will save you a lot of discomfort from having to claim for and replace mouldy carpets or cupboards.
Fix leaking geysers which would be dripping water outside through a pipe from the drip tray that is under your geyser. A steady drips wastes a lot of water but also means your geyser will need to continuously heat more water which adds to your monthly water and electricity bills.
There should be a cover over the thermostat and element. These are often just left lying next to the geyser.
Maintain your geyser by replacing the self-sacrificing anode. Anode rods come installed with geysers and are generally made of magnesium or aluminium which are screwed into the inside of the geyser. This anode, or rod, prevents corrosion of the geyser by "self-sacrificing" its metal which attracts the corrosion of the water and its minerals preventing rust. When there's no sacrificial metal left on the anode, the tank can rust out but generally last about five years. This depends on the water quality and usage. Therefore you can save money by maintaining your geyser with a replacement anode.
Check that you have the appropriate plumbing piping. The geyser may be fed with a plastic pipe, up to the shut off valve, but the pipe into and out of the geyser must be copper or galvanised steel.
It is recommended that you ask a plumber to check that your geyser has all of the important safety features, such as the vacuum breakers, shut off valve, temperature and pressure safety valve and the multi (pressure) valve. These are important safety features of the whole water heating system.
We trust that this short exploration into INSURING YOUR GEYSER has been helpful!
We, at Freshfields, pride ourselves on providing the very best service to our clients and looking out for their interests in their relationship with their insurance provider.