Why can burst geysers cause so much damage if there is a building specification (SANS 10254) that is in place to protect your home, office, factory from water damage?




In the motor vehicle industry 30 years back most vehicles were heavy and big. The only safety precaution to help prevent serious injury was the safety belt.  30 Years down the line vehicles are lighter, smaller and they are more compact with extra safety features like airbags, traction control and ABS breaking. These safety measures are to prevent serious accidents and less fatality.

In the Plumbing Industry 30 years ago the hot water cylinders were only manufactured from copper.  These units were combination (gravity feed) and later semi pressure units.  The life expectancy  of these geysers were anything from 10 to 30 years. The minimum safety requirement that prevented damages to the property was a drip tray. Now 30 years down the line as the industry has changed from semi pressure to high pressure geyser, the manufacturing material most commonly used is steel.

These geysers operate under high pressure, mostly 400kpa and 600kpa. It is not surprising that the pressure of the geyser together with the inferior material (steel) and construction processes eventually result into burst geysers. The average lifespan of a steel geyser is between 5 and 10 years. After 30 years, the minimum requirement to prevent damages to a clients’ property is still just a drip tray. It makes you think why 70% of claims on home owners insurance policies that gets reported are geyser related.









  • Drip trays are often not installed with enough of a fall to ensure adequate drainage.
  • Leaks occur at the mouth of the drip tray.
  • Galvanised drip trays eventually rust which cause leaks.
  • Poly Urethane drip trays often warp due to high temperatures which it is exposed to in the roof space of a building, allowing for water to pool and leaks to form.
  • Changes in overflow piping specifications takes time to implement, with the result that many geysers still make use of poor quality products that were previously considered compliant.
  • Not all installations can accommodate a drip tray. Although relocating the geyser is an option, it involves additional cost.(due to rational design)

PRV and vacuum breakers:

Leaks often occur on hot water vacuum breakers which are not directly over the drip tray. This often causes water to spray outside the drip tray thereby bypassing the overflow.



  • Although most geysers have a 5 year warranty, many of them burst sooner.
  • Nowadays, most geysers are high-pressure geysers, they operate under enormous pressure ranging from 200-600KPA. Coupled with the fact that the materials used in manufacturing are selected based on the minimum quality specifications to ensure a cost effective product, it is not surprising that the pressure of the geyser together with the inferior materials and construction process eventually results into a burst geyser. When you add several connection points as well as multiple valves and outlets that help the geyser perform its daily functions, problems seem inevitable.
  • Although a geyser is installed according to the SANS SABS specification (10254), still a lot is found that is non compliant to the specification.
  • The most common places where leaks occur on a geyser are as follows:
  • The geyser cold & hot water inlets where it is connected to the geyser
  • The seams of the geyser
  • The connection of the safety valves and most commonly hot water vacuum breaker



Below you will find some photos that illustrate the damage that a burst geyser can cause to a home, office or factory. In most cases there was damage to the ceiling and walls that had to be repaired. This usually involves replacing the ceiling and painting the walls and the ceiling. Often there are damages to wooden flooring, carpets as well as cupboards.