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Thread: Geyser running.

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    Geyser running.

    I went out to a client in Edenvale yesterday morning. Ever since August last year, 2010, here electrical bill has doubled and then continued to increase between then and now.

    To give you an idea June 2010 285 kw units for the month.
    June 2011 1564 kw units.

    The flat is an old unit. Very small possibly 35 square meters in total. One elderly lady that stays there.

    The council have replaced their meter in May this year but that made no difference.

    I did my standard thing with this sort of thing. I took a reading at the council meter. I then installed a meter in the unit db to compare the readings over a 24 hr period.

    This morning over a 24 hour period both meters recorded 57 kw units.

    I noticed the hot water was very hot yesterday and the geyser was still running. The element and thermostat were replaced 4 months ago thinking this was the problem. This made no difference. The thermostat was set at 60 degrees but the water was far hotter than that.

    The problem definately lies with the geyser. I don't think this thing is turning off properly if at all.

    Now here is my thinking. The thermostat was installed in the thermostat sleeve of the geyser and not the element. What are the odds that this sleeve is badly corroded with rust and sediment and that the heat from the water is batteling to get to the thermostat to switch the unit properly.

    The geyser is still the old origional kwikhot from 40 years ago. There is no cover on the front. Tomorrow I want to check if the element has a thermostat sleeve and then move it there to see if that makes a difference. Could the insulation in this geyser have come to its end?

    I am not sure this lady has money for a new geyser. The next best thing I can do is to fit a timer to the circuit. There were no visible water leaks. I can't see that the thermostat is faulty.

    I will keep you updated.

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    Dave A (13-Jul-11)

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    High geyser consumption is most commonly caused by excessive leakage from the expansion relief in the PRV. This leakage often goes unnoticed because the 15mm pipe that carries it often goes into a gutter. This should drip after a period of no hot water usage. If it drips constantly or the drip is actually a dribble then it's costing unnecessary power and water.

    If the thermostat was not switching then the geyser would boil causing large quantities of water and steam to escape via the PRV expansion port and via the pressure safety valve on top of the cylinder. This is usually blatantly obvious when your looking at the cylinder.

    It's possible that the thermostat is inaccurate this is not uncommon with the older type thermostats even when they're new.

    Insulation would only normally lose it's R-value if it was physically abused (rodents/fire damage etc) or if it was saturated with water. The old Kwikot cylinders used loose closed cell Styrofoam balls which don't degrade without severe external influence.

    I would double check the PRV expansion and it might be worth removing the element and manually descaling but if the element was replaced 4 months ago the scale problem should have been addressed at that time. If there's more than one location option for the thermostat then I would usually use the one that's uppermost.
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    Diamond Member wynn's Avatar
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    Check the thermostat was zeroed at time of installation. (it may be 60 on the dial but max on the spring)
    Put your little screw driver into the slot on the dial and turn it all the way left and right to check it springs? (you will hear and feel it)
    Then turn it to zero.
    Only then turn it to 6oDeg but with out pausing. (important you dont pause or it sets where you paused)
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    Is the thermostat inside the element, or inside the geyser, some of the older geysers have independent thermostat housing sleeves , if so swap the thermostat over to the element sleeve.
    You can allso fit a energy control relay to the DB, between the geyser and stove, and monitor the energy consumption then. The heat and pressure and relief valve must be checked as mentioned.
    Remember you get 150Kpa and 400Kpa depending on the municipal pressure input.

    Or maybe that old lady is up to something at night!

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    The thermostat is in the geyser sleeve. Getting access to this unit is difficult during working hours.

    I spoke to her plumber last week. They went out to check the PRV last Friday. They said the thermostat was faulty and replaced it. I don't buy this because when the thermostat was replaced 4 months ago the problem continued.

    I am meeting another plumber out there this morning at 08h30.

    Out of interest late last week I told her to start turning the geyser off for long periods when she was out. (20 hrs out of 24.) Then the consumption drops to 15 kw units per day.

    The other night she turned the geyser off at 23h00. The water was hot. When she woke up at 06h30 the water was ice cold. This geyser is loosing hot water.

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    Diamond Member wynn's Avatar
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    Or the neighbors have teed into her hot water?
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    I met up with the complex plumbers this morning. The problem appears to be with the PRV. They first had to get approval before they can go ahead and fix.

    Being old flats the over flow pipes go into walls and from there one can't see them. I did notice that with all the taps off one could still hear water running into the geyser.

    Will check on readings once the plumbers have finished.

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    Problem solved.

    Readings for the past two days work out to 12 kw units per day. Down from 60 to 70 kw units per day. That is with the geyser circuit left on permanantly.

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Thanks for the follow up info Greg, 12 units per day sounds about right. You should encourage her to fit a blanket and a timer which should halve that figure again. Glad to hear it was a simple solution in the end.
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    Gold Member daveob's Avatar
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    Blanket and timer :

    (my opinions) ..

    Blanket - if you put your hand on the outside of the geyser and you can feel warmth, then you're definately losing heat via the geyser casing. We added a blanket and I feel no noticible warmth on the outside of the blanket, which ( in my logic ) means that we are not losing as much heat.

    Timer : if you're going away, turn it off - no disputing that one. However, on a daily usage basis, you are not gauranteed to save by adding a timer. My logic is that the amount of energy required to reheat the cooled water at the end of the day ( because the timer turned off the power ) is almost identical to the amount of power used to maintain the geyser temperature with the thermostat enabled all day.

    This I was able to establish using an Owl Electricity Monitor linked to my geyser for a few weeks.

    So how do you save ? Simple - 2 options :

    First, turn down the geyser temperature. We are a family of 4 and turned ours down from 65 to 50 degrees. With only a 150 liter geyser, it is enough for the kids to bath and the adults to shower each evening. Yes, you will use a bit more hot water to get your bath / shower to the same temp you are used to, but it does have the benefit of reduced heat loss. Logic is that a geyser at 70 degrees will lose heat a lot faster than one set to 50 degrees.

    Go solar. Even in the winter, our panel is adding considerable energy to the geyser during the day. After using a load of hot water in the morning and the geyser dropping to about 28 degrees, by 3pm it is almost back to 50 degrees ( and up to 70 in summer ), and then the timer is used just to top it up to 50. In this case, the timer has a use, as we are using an alternate energy source to heat the geyser during the day time. Our solar panel, linked via a pump to the existing geyser, cost ( after the eskom rebate ) about R6k. My electricity cost has ( since installation almost a year ago ) reduced by an average of R300 per month. Therefore cost recovery = 2 years. In addition, increased power costs means we will be saving more and more with each increase.
    Watching the ships passing by.

  12. Thanks given for this post:

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