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Thread: May plumbers change a geyser element?

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    May plumbers change a geyser element?

    Hi, is there somewhere in the SABS regulations that when a geyser element or thermostat is replaced in an existing geyser it must be done by a qualified electrician ? I do some work for an insurance company and find that most of this work is given to a plumber first. I have tried explaining to them that if you have no hot water and there is cold water flowing from the hot tap. You then need a plumber, and if there is a cold water flow you need a sparky because the problem is then electrical. So the plumbers get 80% of the work and i only get called when the plumber can not find power at the geyser.

    As the element and thermostat are electrical components along with the fact that the wiring is been removed and reconnected (simple as it is). Is there a regulation that says it must comply and be done or checked by a licensed electrician before power is restored to the geyser ?

    Thanks, Frank.

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    Please note of my correction to one of the sentences in my above post. "NO water flow.........."

    I have tried explaining to them that if you have no hot water and there is NO water flowing from the hot tap. You then need a plumber, and if there is a cold water flow you need a sparky.

    Thanks, Frank.

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    As far as I know the electrical regs wouldn't prevent a plumber, or any electrically unskilled person for that matter, replacing a geyser element if it's a like-for-like replacement if they're not changing the electrical characteristics of the original design.

    I'm not someone who works to the domestic install regs very often so maybe wait for confirmation from one of the domestic sparkies.
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    First part will be difined in OHSA in the EIR and the EMR which specifically stipulates the responsibilities of an electrical installer and electrical appliances installed/ changed or modified (maintenance)

    Secondaly there needs to be looked at the SANS10142-1 in order to understand the requirements of a geyser / water heater installation & maintenace requirements.

    For the layman the best way to understand when an electrician is required is when a new installation is done or change of such installation / circuit is required.

    By law when changing the caracteristic of circuit an compentant person is required to issue such change and an quilified installation electrician (single phase/3phase/master) to issue an certificate of compliance for such change.

    See OHSA & SANS10142-1 for terminology devinitions.

    Keep in mind that when a geyser element or geyser itself is changed that this changes the characteristics of the circuit. This includes the electrical connection and earth bonding of such appliance.

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DieterT View Post
    Keep in mind that when a geyser element or geyser itself is changed that this changes the characteristics of the circuit. This includes the electrical connection and earth bonding of such appliance.
    Hi Dieter. What makes you say that replacing the geyser element (obviously assuming like for like) is altering the characteristic of the electrical circuit to being different from its original design? I'm also a bit confused why bonding would be an issue.
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    Hi Andy

    If I could answer your question with a question. What certifies a plumber to make the call that no alteration was made to the characteristic of the electrical circuit when he replaces an element?

    And in regards to earth bonding when a geyser is replaced, firstly being that most plumbers never do this and secondly as it is a MUST requirement on the inspection & test report thus a new CoC to be issued when a geyser is replaced. The characteristics of the circuit changes when earth bonding is removed or modified.

    See Test 1 & 2 and Visual inspection 8 & 9 on CoC Section 4

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    I'd have to agree with Andy. If the element is replaced with the exact same rated element, no change has been made to the installation electrically. On the other hand, if a 2kW element is replaced with a 3kW element you have a different kettle of fish.
    Franks enquiry is about replacing an ELEMENT or THERMOSTAT and not an entire geyser. Lets try answering the post so that Frank ( and anyone else reading the post) can actually be a bit better educated.

    I think sometimes the regs are taken too literal and I understand because peoples safety is at stake. Dieter you ask what makes a plumber certify that he hasnt made any electrical alterations to the circuit, but then who certifies the same when a knob is changed on a stove or a globe is changed in a fitting?

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    Good day Gobbleteller

    In regards to elemenent change "exact for exact" the possibility is great that anyone competent can do this. Trying to get an detailed answer from inpector now.

    Just trying to get people to think a bit about regulations rather than just surface reading and making their own conclusions. This is how one becomes more educated.

    As for including the part about change of geyser. I tend to take the regulation as a whole and not just out of context. Much similar as one would read the bible (as the SANS is our bible)

    I do agree that sometimes regulations are taken to literally as can also be argumented with the bible (saying this as the SANS is our bible for the electrical industry) and this can be seen in other 1st world countries as things end up becomming over regulated and people stop using their brains and stop taking responsibility and paying an arm and a leg for such.

    Try understand what changing the characteristics of a circuit mean. Understand the extent of the responsibility of a plumber and an electrician.
    At the end of the day I cannot give a flying rats ass who the user/lessor/owner of an installation uses to do his electrical/plumbing works. He is the one taking responsibility for that contractor so he better have done his homework.

    We all like to save a buck, but sometimes not understanding it means saving a buck in exhange for someone's live / an failed insurance claim and loss of property.

    Ps : I have been involved in 3 different cases where houses burnt down due to loose connections on geysers where a plumber changed the element / thermostat. Thank God for technology and being able to proof modifications where made to the original installation which had my name and registration number on the CoC. It is amazing that a geyser including drip tray is not flameretardent (drip tray actually provokes the fire)

    "I used to have a lot of anger issues, now I just have a passion for justice"

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    Good day to all

    I have just confirmed with the inspector. The EIR (Electrical Installation Regulations) needs to be looked at, specifically Regulation 6 "No person may do electrical installation work as an electrical
    contractor unless that person has been registered as an electrical contractor in terms of these Regulations "

    There is no DIY clause in the OHS act. The rest of the EIR should also be considered when reading regulation 6 as to understand terminology used.

    In regards to the question of changing an element or thermostat on a geyser, the answer is yes the plumber may do this only if the electrician disconnects and reconnects the electrical connections or if the plumber is a registered electrical contractor
    An CoC shall only be issued should a change of the characteristics of the circuit have been made.

    I do apologize as I said earlier that the change of element or thermostat will result in changing the characteristics of the circuit whih in the case of "like for like" will most probably not effect the characteristics of the circuit and therefore would not require a CoC to be issued. However it is required to be disconnected and reconnected by an registered electrician or person and not a plumber.

    http://www.labour.gov.za/DOL/downloa...ty/eir2009.pdf

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    Quote Originally Posted by DieterT View Post
    Good day to all

    I have just confirmed with the inspector. The EIR (Electrical Installation Regulations) needs to be looked at, specifically Regulation 6 "No person may do electrical installation work as an electrical
    contractor unless that person has been registered as an electrical contractor in terms of these Regulations "

    There is no DIY clause in the OHS act. The rest of the EIR should also be considered when reading regulation 6 as to understand terminology used.

    In regards to the question of changing an element or thermostat on a geyser, the answer is yes the plumber may do this only if the electrician disconnects and reconnects the electrical connections or if the plumber is a registered electrical contractor
    An CoC shall only be issued should a change of the characteristics of the circuit have been made.

    I do apologize as I said earlier that the change of element or thermostat will result in changing the characteristics of the circuit whih in the case of "like for like" will most probably not effect the characteristics of the circuit and therefore would not require a CoC to be issued. However it is required to be disconnected and reconnected by an registered electrician or person and not a plumber.

    http://www.labour.gov.za/DOL/downloa...ty/eir2009.pdf
    I agree exactly with this statement that a electrician must disconnect and reconnect the electrical connections on the geyser.
    I would also like to add a little more.
    You raised a very important point when you mentioned the electrical bonding of the geyser and the pipes.
    I would say that when a geyser is replaced the electrician should not only attend to the electrical connections but also to the bonding strapping.
    Furthermore i dont think that an electrician is suitably qualified to replace the element as there are seals involved and the geyser has to be drained correctly which involves tampering with other valves etc.
    Replacement of a geyser element is definitely a two profession job in my opinion.
    To make a mistake is human, to learn from that mistake is knowledge and knowledge is strength.

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