Hot water heating systems

Hot water heating systems

By Mark de Wet

SANS is just as important as the installation itself in terms of product requirements.

So, we all believe we understand the hot water geyser installations and all the requirements, but do we really follow all the rules and standards when doing an installation? With so many non-SABS products out on the market today, are we sure that the products and materials we install conform to the standards? Do we ensure that we perform the installation in such a way that not only the installation complies to the standards, but the actual product and materials also comply with the SANS requirements to ensure that we as plumbers are covered in all aspects of the installation?

With so many non-compliant installations having been done, we are required to ensure that we understand SANS 10254. When we come across unsafe and non-compliant installations, we can make the consumer aware of the risks of having a non-compliant installation.

The first point to look at in SANS 10254 is “The installation, maintenance, replacement, and repair of fixed electric storage water heating systems in the scope.” The scope makes it clear that the standard applies to all water heaters that fall within the scope of SANS 151. It also refers to SANS 1307 for storage tanks and solar water heaters, but we will focus on electric water heaters only.

All electric water heating units then need to comply with SANS 151.The first questions to ask when purchasing a geyser is whether this product complies with the requirements of SANS 151, and has the unit been tested and approved to the standard. It is unnecessary for a plumber to understand every part of SANS 151, but you are required to know the overview of this standard and other standard requirements referred to in SANS 10254, to ensure that the products you install are approved for South African installation. Some manufacturers and importers supplying products to the plumbing industry state that their products conform to an international standard or to SANS 60335-2-21 and, therefore, do not also require approval of compliance to the SANS 151 standard. This is incorrect, as SANS 60335-2-21 forms only a part of SANS 151, and the unit will still need to comply fully with SANS 151.

We can also take it a step further, by supporting that the unit needs to comply with the complete standard requirement of SANS 151; the Water Services Act; the Pressure Equipment Regulations; and the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications Act, compulsory specification VC9006, which all require that the fixed electric storage water heater must comply with SANS 151.


You as the plumbers are responsible and liable for damages if you install a non-compliant product in terms of the OHS Act and the Consumer Protection Act.


To ensure that the product complies with the required standards, the easiest way is to look for the SABS mark on the product; however, this method is not foolproof, as we all know how easy it is to print and attach a sticker without having the paperwork. The best way to ensure that the product is in fact approved is to ask the supplier to provide you with a copy of the SABS mark certificate from the manufacturer or importer of the product, stating that it conforms to the standard requirements. However, the second page schedule should also accompany the SABS mark certificate, as it provides all the required details as to which product exactly is approved. Nevertheless, if a product does not have the SABS certification, it must be tested to SANS 151 and listed with JASWIC, who maintains the accepted list of components that may be installed in the local municipality’s area of jurisdiction.

You as the plumbers are responsible and liable for damages if you install a non-compliant product in terms of the OHS Act and the Consumer Protection Act. The only way we as plumbers can protect ourselves and eliminate non-approved products on the market is to demand that the products we are supplied by the merchants are approved products, with all the required paperwork to back the product. However, the merchant is obligated to offer you SABS/JASWIC compliant material and to indicate if a product is not SANS compliant in terms of clause 55 of the Consumer Protection Act.

If the client has purchased the non-compliant product and requests that you install it, you need to point out the risks of doing so to the client, in writing, to indemnify yourself. Such risks include the voiding of warranty or insurance cover, the consequences of product failure, withholding of the municipal occupation certificate, and not obtaining a Certificate of Compliance at the sale of the property.

In terms of ‘grey’ or reconditioned products, you are also obliged in terms of the Consumer Protection Act to make this clear to the client, and to advise on the risks and consequences.

So, when you are installing your next geyser — be it a new installation, replacement, or a maintenance call-out — remember the requirements of SANS 10254, and ensure that if you come across non-compliance in a pre-existing installation, you are required to notify the consumer or homeowner in writing of the non-compliance as stated in point 4.3.1.2 of SANS 10254.

Make the effort, understand the standards, and be the change you want to see in our industry.


Click below to read the August 2017 issue of Plumbing Africa

PA Aug2017

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