The electric geyser is such a natural part of the home that South Africans rarely think about it. We only really notice it when there’s no hot water, and we unwillingly accept the fact that it pushes the electricity bill higher than we’d like. In fact, with the increasing cost of electricity, electric geysers are moving into the “luxury” section. In this article we’ll be looking at the basic anatomy of a geyser and why it’s costing you so much. Once you understand how everything works, you can look into a solar geyser water heater.
The Parts of a Geyser
A geyser consists of four main parts, namely:
The Water Tank
A Heating Element
Water Inlet and Outlet
Applicable Safety Systems
The process in which the water is heated is fairly simple. Cold water is pumped into the bottom of tank through the inlet, which is also where you’ll find the heating element. After the heating element has heated the water, the water moves up in the tank through convection and leaves the tank through the outlet. In some cases there are two heating elements, one at the bottom and one at the top. This is to increase efficiency.
In very rare cases there isn’t a tank, but this is only when water is needed on demand or the space is simply too limited. But for the most part there will be a tank that should be well insulated. Insulation helps to keep the water warmer for longer, so the tank is important in terms of efficiency. With less re-heating less electricity is being used.
The Heating Element
The element is in charge of heating the water and for the South African market there’s a single dominant design. They are made with resistance wire and they operate on two levels, namely “off” and “on”. When these conventional elements start heating up they have to be submerged in the water, otherwise they burn out. They are also the reason why the electric bill is fairly high and they fall victim to dense scale build-up. In fact, if homeowners can change one thing about a working geyser it would be the one-dimensional element. But some homeowners go the extra mile and simply install a solar geyser water heater.
There’s no doubt as to what these outlets do. The inlet receives cold water, which will be heated by the element, while the outlet ensures the hot water gets into the pipes of the house or building.
Applicable Safety Systems
Ordinarily there should be systems in place that will stop the element from overheating the water. These systems are connected to a thermostat, but thermostats are prone to fail as time goes on. When the thermostats fails and the water reaches a boiling point, there should be a pressure valve that allows the water to be drained.
When you convert to a solar geyser water heater, you’ll be surprised at how much money you’ve been wasting.