When Should you Switch Off a Geyser?

There is quite a bit of misconception surrounding the "should I switch off the geyser?" question and below we look at this topic in more detail.






There is a lot of confusion concerning the topic of whether switching off a geyser is a good idea as well as a lot of misconceptions and false truths. If this is the case, when should you switch off a geyser and why?




What is a hot water geyser?

Responsible for heating hot water for distribution throughout a house, a hot water geyser accounts for a whopping 40 to 50% of your monthly electricity costs. It works like a big automatic kettle that is filled with water and heats up and switches off when it reaches boiling temperature. Your geyser works in the same way. It fills up with water that is heated and, once it reaches the temperature set on the thermostat, the heater switches off. It only switches on again when the water starts to cool, and the cycle continues to constantly supply hot water.







Leaving a property unoccupied

Over the past two months (December and January), I have been a witness to a couple of geysers that seem to have erupted with water rushing down the wall or over the roof. One instance was due to the homeowners going on holiday and forgetting to switch if off, the other was due to the fact that the property had been sold and the new owners had not yet taken occupation. Whenever a property is going to be unoccupied for any length of time, the sensible and smart thing to do is to switch off the geyser.





Suspected problem with a geyser

Any homeowner who hears strange noises or sees signs of water dripping or water stains should immediately switch off the geyser. These could be indications that a problem has arisen, and it is something that needs to be dealt with by a plumber to check that everything is safe before switching the geyser back off. Prevention is always better than cure and the possibility of preventing damage is always the best route so switch off the geyser if you are worried.



Prevent overload during load shedding

With a hot water geyser using a high amount of electricity for normal operation, switching it off during load shedding won't make any difference. However, it will make a huge difference when load shedding ends and the power comes back online. If the hot water geyser is switched off and only switched on when the power returns, you are actively reducing the load that could result in a further break in electrical supply due to overload.



Replacing a geyser for an energy efficient model will cut down on monthly electricity costs but do factor in any installation that will need to be done.









Switching off a geyser to save money

There are those that believe switching off a geyser when not in use will save on electricity costs and there are others that state it will cost the same if you factor in that the water in the geyser will need to be re-heated. Referring back to the kettle analogy mentioned above, water goes into the geyser, is heater according to the setting on the thermostat before switching off and is then heated only when it cools - this is a constantly repeating cycle. If you switch off the geyser when the water is hot and switch it back on again later, the element will kick in and heat up the water. However, if you leave the geyser switched on all the time, the element only kicks back in when the temperature of the water cools.





The only effective way to manage a geyser effectively is to introduce the following steps:


  • Have the thermostat set to a lower temperature during the hotter months of the year.
  • During the cooler months, rather than drastically increase the thermostat setting, adjust to using a reduced setting - one that will heat up the water enough to be enjoyable and will cut down on the amount of cold water you need to cool the bath water or shower temperature.
  • Have a geyser blanket installed around the geyser. This will prevent heat loss and reduce operating costs efficiently.




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