Section Title Schemes

Responsibilities of Owners and Body Corporates

Body corporates

I do a fair amount of inspections in sectional title schemes. Often, owners ask me if body corporates will pay for repairs inside their units. Obviously, their concern is about damage caused by external factors such as rainstorms, burst geysers and so on.

Each case is usually based on its merits. Usually, the body corporate’s trustees use their discretion when deciding to whom they allocate the cost of repairs and replacement. However, there are many grey areas and the differences between the owner’s and body corporate’s liability and responsibility.

The Body Corporate’s obligations

Body corporates are responsible for the repairs and maintenance and upkeep of the common properties.

Furthermore, the body corporate maintains all pipes, ducts, wiring etc. for the common property and services to more than one unit.

Your obligations as an owner of a section

You must maintain and keep in good state your section. Moreover, you must also keep any part of the common property to which you have the right neat and tidy. These are exclusive use areas such as gardens, patios, balconies, parking areas, garages etc.

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Geysers

geysers

The TPR Valve and Dangerous Geyser Installations

geysers and hot water heaters
During inspections, I found that approximately 40% of the installations of water heaters do not comply with the SANS 10254 specification. In addition, of that 10% were dangerous!

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High-pressure geysers

Most modern geysers in South Africa are high-pressure hot water heaters.

Never work on geysers yourself unless you are a licenced plumber and you know what you are doing! They are high-pressure vessels and can explode.

Home inspectors report that the most common defect in South African homes is an incorrectly installed geyser. Notably, this defect is potentially dangerous and is mainly a result of untrained, or un-supervised workers installing hot water heating systems.

Exploding geysers kill people in South Africa every year.

Temperature and pressure release valves

All high-pressure water heaters must have a temperature and pressure release valve (TPR valve). This valve controls two critical functions: pressure and temperature. Therefore, do not tamper with this valve!

If the thermostat fails and the temperature rises beyond 70°C, pressure increases. In this case, with the rising temperature, the TPR valve on the geysers will release if it is working correctly. Moreover, this happens either because of excessive heat or pressure.

If the TPR valves are faulty, the boiling point of water can rise above 120°C! The pressure will reach a point where the geysers’ pressure tanks rupture. At this point, the water turns into steam instantly. As a result, the 150 litres water in your geyser will now occupy 240,000 litres of space! This results in an explosion of the ferocity of a half kilogram of dynamite ( approximately 2½ sticks). Not only will the damage be excessive, but, as a consequence, lives can be at risk.

Defective installations

In my experience, about 4 in every 10 geysers have not been installed correctly, therefore, it is a good idea to have your’s inspected!

Also, during periods of water cutoffs, do not use hot water or open hot water taps! You will burn out the element!

Ensure that a home inspector or plumber inspects your geyser installation!

These videos show extreme cases of a hot water heater explosion:

Also, read the following: Geyser Explosion – Kimberley, Geyser explosion survivor has lost everything and  Geyser Warning – Durban.

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THE HOME DETECTIVE » Homeowner » Geyser

Your Hot Water Geyser can EXPLODE!

Your hot water geyser can explode!

hot water geyser
Approximately 40% of the installations of geysers do not comply with the SANS 10254 specification.

The intention of this article is to inform you, in the interests of your and your family’s safety, what you should and should not see if you happen to stick your head into the ceiling space to check out your hot water geyser. If your geyser installation is significantly different from what is described here, I suggest that you get a reputable plumber to repair it. Check out the videos at the bottom of this article!

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