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Insurance & Burst Geysers
Electrical geysers can fail like any appliance. They do not actually burst (assuming they have been correctly installed), but rather start to leak.
This occurs mainly as a result of corrosion over time, caused by a process of electrolysis, where the water molecules are accelerated very rapidly when the element is turned on, which in turn results in a very mild acidic solution being created through the chlorine in the water.
This acid attacks exposed metal where sacrificial anodes are installed for that very purpose. When the sacrificial anode is exhausted, unless it is replaced, the mild acid solution will then attack the tank, rather like rust. In time corrosion results in a pin prick leak and as the geyser cannot be repaired, it needs to be replaced.
Most insurance policies cover the cost of a replacement electrical geyser. Some insurers are prepared to offer a solar system in replacement, but as solar water heaters are considerably more expensive, look for an additional contribution from the policyholder.
However, from an energy efficiency perspective, the “bonus” from the insurance claim can further enhance the financial case for a solar water heater.
Consumers that suffer a geyser insurance claim should at the very least request a ‘solar ready’ geyser, or a ‘solar geyser’ (with electrical back up) in replacement, which may subsequently fitted with a solar collector.
The insurers will also benefit from solar water heaters being installed, in that the amount of corrosion is likely to be far less, as the electric element is operated less, thereby limiting the amount of corrosion.
The life expectancy of the tank will be increased significantly, and future claims will reduce. With climate change being a major concern for the insurance industry, any low hanging fruit for reducing carbon emissions is a necessity.