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Thread: Heads up SAH Loan Clients

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    Gold Member Sparks's Avatar
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    Heads up SAH Loan Clients

    SAH Loans insist on using their own contractors to replace burst geysers etc. Do not just accept that these contractors are working as per regulations. Geyser connection and earthing must be done by an electrician (as per Kwikot). All plumbers know this. IOPSA will confirm. SAH replaced the geyser of a friend. It took a very strongly worded letter from me, quoting the regs, and a posting on "Hello Peter" to be forwarded to them before they finally sent "their" electrical contractor to reterminate the geyser and earth and bond the water-pipes as per code. The plumber's defence: "The previous guy never earthed the pipes".
    Be aware, they have only their own interests in mind. So what if you get electrocuted.

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    Gold Member garthu's Avatar
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    Thats really interesting, my wife had one done recently with them at a clients place. Without stirring the pot i think we might take a look. Not everyone realises the dangers of a geyser with cuck earthing.... but it's pretty similar to those movies chucking a hair dryer in the bath..only alot worse.

    Sparks, enlighten me, is the geyser required to be on earth leakage as well or not required
    Garth

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    E/leakage is only mandatory required for socket outlets. Geyser is optional as far as e/leakage is concerned.
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    Gold Member Sparks's Avatar
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    Quite correct, however if it were to be put on the ELCB you would only be making it safer. The element developes a hairline crack through which the electricity flows. Untill such a time that this crack is wide enough to allow in excess of the 15A or 20A as per your CB, the electricity will flow through the water down to earth. If it is on the ELCB, provided it is working, only up to 35mA will be allowed then it will trip. In this case you will be required to switch off the supply to the geyser at the double-pole isolator or sit without power on your plug circuits until the element is replaced. Switching off the CB is not sufficient as the neutral conductor will still be connected and through this you will still have the earth fault. Unless you have a double pole in the DB for the geyser I would not recommend it. Incidently, the same applies for the stove and lights. Another snag with having the lights on the ELCB is that should it trip at night you are left in the dark. Your ceiling fan however must be through the ELCB in order to be compliant.

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    Gold Member Sparks's Avatar
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    Things to check for at the geyser are that if there is not a double pole isolator, one has to be installed. The cable entry must be through a gland. The cable must not be stripped of it's protective sheath until it is inside the cover.( You must not see the red/black wires). The hot and cold water-pipes as well as the drip-tray, if it is metal, must be securely bonded to each other and connected to the earth terminal. Merely twisting the earth wire around the pipes is not good enough, it must be securely clamped to the pipe. If all these conditions are not met you are obliged under the new legislation to have it corrected. If you had a member of IOPSA install the geyser you can lodge a complaint with them should the plumber not be willing to fix his mess. The Institute Of Plumbers South Africa are very willing and able to assist, which unfortunately I cannot say for the ECA.

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Geysers are one of those areas where you get a crossover of trades and they're notorious for sub-standard installation practices. Other such areas are swimming pools, well-points, irrigation systems, alarms and gate motor installations; all have electrically unqualified tradesmen installing them and the temptation is to omit the electrician from the installations. The customer is partly at fault for being ignorant of legislation but often other installers will quote to include an electrician for the connection but then do the work themselves if they think they can get away with it in the interests of higher profit margins.

    It isn't a problem with the laws, more their lack of teeth when it comes to enforcement. The sub-standard electrical work then often only gets highlighted many years down the line when a full COC is done for another reason such as during the property sale process.

    Earthing on a geyser installation is an integral part of user safety as Sparks pointed out but it also has a direct effect on the lifespan of the plumbing installation and the geyser cylinder itself. If earth bonding is inadequate then electrolysis can destroy the copper piping in the walls and floors in a matter of a couple of years or even less in an extreme case. With any property that has a litany of pipework leaks or a geyser cylinder failures, earth bonding should be high on the list of suspects when investigating the root cause.
    Last edited by AndyD; 16-Aug-10 at 09:57 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparks View Post
    Quite correct, however if it were to be put on the ELCB you would only be making it safer. The element developes a hairline crack through which the electricity flows. Untill such a time that this crack is wide enough to allow in excess of the 15A or 20A as per your CB, the electricity will flow through the water down to earth. If it is on the ELCB, provided it is working, only up to 35mA will be allowed then it will trip. In this case you will be required to switch off the supply to the geyser at the double-pole isolator or sit without power on your plug circuits until the element is replaced. Switching off the CB is not sufficient as the neutral conductor will still be connected and through this you will still have the earth fault. Unless you have a double pole in the DB for the geyser I would not recommend it. Incidently, the same applies for the stove and lights. Another snag with having the lights on the ELCB is that should it trip at night you are left in the dark. Your ceiling fan however must be through the ELCB in order to be compliant.

    which makes me wonder why the double pole isolater is not fitted in the DB...if there is no earth leakage....and even if there was an e/l unit fitted you would sit without power until the electrician arrived to fix the problem....if a double pole isolater was fitted in the DB you could reset the e/l and only the geyser would be off...the customer would have to climb in the roof to switch off the isolater maounted next to the geyser....just a thought.

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    I suspect the 'repair' for a geyser with a minor earth leakage fault that's causing nuisance tripping would be to take it off earth leakage as quickly as possible, warn the customer he might need a plumber soon to replace the element and swiftly move on to the more serious business of invoicing for a call-out :-)
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