Copper geysers’ revival

By Warren Robertson

Copper geysers are making a strong comeback with the recent addition of high-pressure systems adding to the traditional gravity-fed system in that field.

The gravity-fed system is a low-pressure system that uses gravity to create pressure. The higher the geyser is installed above the working area, the higher the water pressure. Whereas this system is ideal for garden flats where a single hot water tap will be used at a time, the general usage is limited. The addition of the high-pressure systems (up to 400kpa) will now make copper geysers a serious competitor to other geyser options.

Copper’s benefits have been well detailed and when it comes to plumbing, pipes and copper have been undisputed leaders for decades as far as material in this industry goes, but its use in geyser technology has fallen by the wayside despite the fact that some of these benefits give copper geysers a clear advantage.

While initial costs are significantly higher, copper geysers have proven to last up to five times longer than the competition, as they are corrosion resistant and do not require periodic servicing for something like anode replacements. This fact has led to claims that in the long run, they are, in fact, cheaper.

Additionally, copper is an environmentally friendly metal that is easily recycled at the end of the geyser’s life cycle because it does not deteriorate.

The real benefit, however, for the modern consumer is that copper is naturally biostatic, so it prevents bacterial growth on its surface. This leads to less chance of bacterial infection of the general system.

Tests have shown that after seven days of immersion in water, 80% of stainless steel and 90% of plastics were coated in a biofilm, which is where bacteria begins to form — this was not the case with copper, as copper has a natural ability to inhibit the growth of 99.9% of bacteria such as legionella , MRSA, and E. coli, which makes a copper-based system inherently safer for the well-being of users.

Dr Bill Keevil at the Centre for Applied Microbiology & Research (CAMR) recently found that while it took 34 days for E. coli 0157 to die on stainless steel, and four days on brass, it took just four hours to die on copper.

Tecron is the principle supplier of copper geysers in South Africa and they state that all their geysers come with a seven-year guarantee, use standard SABS-approved thermostats and elements, and are all locally manufactured. The company offers a full range of geysers from 50, 100, 150, 200, and 250 litre standard geysers, to small 15 litre under-basin geysers and 25 litre horizontal square geysers.

While they are currently C-rated for energy efficiency, the company is hoping for an upgrade to a B rating in the near future.

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