Thursday, February 21

Q&A with Handy Mac: Jutta has a string of questions

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Jutta has a string of questions:

Q:We have a geyser solely for the bedrooms. With the water shortage we are showering only every second or third day. In between it is a “cat wash”, as we call it in Germany.

The problem is the water is heated and not always used.

Can I turn off the electricity?

I remember there was a discussion about this some time ago, but I do not recall the decision. Do I turn off, or not?

My other question: what do you think about the WERD device to safeguard against water damage from burst geysers?

If it works, it would be a good idea. Also, please tell me why geysers are installed in ceilings in South Africa? It is the only country where I have encountered this.

Keep up the good work. Because of you, I now make sure my painter, plumber and other contractors are registered.

A: According to the information I can find, switching your geyser on and off continually will not harm it as this is what the thermostat does anyway. If you are switching it off for two or three days, you will have a saving on your electricity bill.

The jury is out on whether switching it on and off every day saves you money due to extra energy usage to heat from cold, and whether a timer or blanket will help reduce your power bill.

When WERD first hit the market, I was going to do research and the manufacturer made contact with me, but we were not able to get together. The onset of our drought has brought all sorts of devices onto the market, but I believe the principle is sound and I will install one myself at some stage.

A WERD is a device that picks up water leakage from your cylinder into the drip dray. This sets off an alarm so you can switch off the geyser before you have a major burst and flooded house. I want to take this up with insurance companies as I believe they should offer reductions on premiums if you take preventative steps to reduce the costs of possible losses.

I can find no clear reason why South Africans tend to put their geysers in the roof void. I do not agree with your comment that our country is the only place in the world where this happens. In the UK they tend to be inside, but not necessarily in the roof.

There are a few reasons why outside is not always a good idea, including theft, loss of heat in colder areas, rust and so on.

These problems have mostly been overcome by modern design and technology. I do know insurance companies are encouraging clients to put a geyser that is being replaced, because the old one has burst, outside and not inside.

This obviously means there will be no internal water damage in the case of another burst.

Aesthetically I would prefer my geyser inside and out of sight, but I think this is going to become a thing of the past, especially as we are all leaning more towards solar and heat pumps as we strive to bring down our energy usage and the cost thereof.

*Handy Mac, aka Don MacAlister, is our expert on household DIY issues. If you have a question for him, please send it to or SMS only to 082 446 3859. Find Don on FB:

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