Harish Jharia

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06 November 2012

Why do Single Unit Electric Geysers blast: Deadly accidents my take place if proper care/precautions are not taken


© Harish Jharia

Single unit electric geysers are widely used in India and in other Asian countries.  An introduction to this electric appliance has been given in another article titled “Single Unit Electric Geyser (Electrical Water Storage Heater): Used in Indian Subcontinent and Asian Countries". In continuation to this article I am going to discuss about possible deadly accident that might occur as a result of a blast in the storage tank.

Today there was a news headline in New Delhi newspapers about a blast in a geyser that resulted in serious injuries to inmates of a girls’ hostel in Modi Nagar, near New Delhi. Incidentally I too had experienced a similar accident when a geyser in my bathroom had burst with a loud blast. No one was injured because there was nobody in the bathroom at the time of the blast. All of my neighbors heard the loud sound of the blast and ran towards the spot suspecting a possible blast of a cooking gas cylinder. 

The 6’x 8’ bathroom has a window and an exhaust fan is fitted on its panel. At the time of the blast the doors of the bathroom were closed and the exhaust fan was in shut-off state. The geyser was in a switched-on state. When the blast took place the steam generated had such a high pressure that it shattered the geyser in many pieces. The small windowpane was pushed open and the exhaust fan fitted on the same also broke into pieces.  

Onlookers saw a blast of high pressure steam gushing out of the window. The false ceiling of the bathroom, made of asbestos sheet, was smashed with the blown up upper crown of the body of the geyser, making a 2’x1’ irregular hole in it. On opening the door we found the bathroom was filled with steam, so much so that nothing was visible inside the bathroom. 

Probable Reasons:

I think excessive generation of steam inside the geyser might be the reason for the blast. The water heater might have started malfunctioning and turned into a boiler before the high pressure steam blew it off. There might be the following reasons for the above malfunction:
  1. The thermostat might have broken down and stopped controlling the desired temperature
  2. The pressure valve might not have controlled the input water pressure in the high rise building
  3. The safety valve that is mounted on the geyser did not blow-off and released the pressure buildup inside the geyser. 
  4. The storage tank might not have the desired strength to withstand the high pressure built up in the water pipes in high-rise buildings 
  5. Precautions for evading blasts in geysers:
  6. It is better to replace the geyser after 5 years rather than going for repeated repairs
  7. Replace the geyser whenever the storage tank is required to be replaced
  8. The pressure valve should be checked periodically
  9. The safety valve / safety plug should be checked periodically and be replaced every 12 months
In high rise buildings the water pressure is excessively high in the lower floors. We should always remember that there are special geysers manufactured for high rise buildings with stronger storage tanks, duly fitted with pressure valves. As such, we should go for these special geysers if we live in high rise buildings.  

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Disclaimer:
This article / Story / fiction is written based on my personal observations. My intention for publishing the same is to provide healthy reading and intellectual entertainment and not for educating the visitors. Names of people, societies, communities and description of faiths, beliefs, incidents are imaginary and fictitious. They have neither any relevance to the prevailing entities and traditions nor have any similarities with ongoing lifestyles, political ideologies and legal doctrines. The contents of this creative work has not been written with any intention to criticize, condemn or oppose anything what-so-ever present in reality in any country in the world. No literature or authentic books have been referred for writing the contents of this article. The visitors are advised not to refer the contents of this article for any research or testimony on scientific, geographical, political, civic or legal purposes. The visitors are further advised to consult relevant experts before adapting any information from this article. The author or the website are not responsible for any errors, mistakes, or omissions there in.
- Harish Jharia
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