Cleaning up after insolvent geyser company

Kwikot came to the rescue when a Duratherm geyser burst at a residence in Kloofnek, Gardens, where Nick Black was housesitting.

After the geyser burst, Mr Black said, he was given the same run-around as Charles Stevenson (“Geyser guarantee leaves customer fuming”, Off My Trolley February 22).

“The 150-litre geyser was installed by Sunscan, Montague Gardens, in December 2012, on the recommendation of their agent, Leanne Black, who said we should replace the Kwikot cylinder with a Duratherm geyser,” Mr Black said.

“When it burst in January this year I contacted WE Geysers as it had a massive Solartherm sticker on it. When I gave Heidi the identification number, she told me it had been made in Cape Town and told me the same story about the company going insolvent and W E Geysers would not honour the guarantee. I contacted Carl Bayhack at Future Comfort, who offered me another geyser at a special price of R5 500. I believe, like Mr Stevenson and the others who posted to Hello Peter, that as it is a Solartherm geyser and as WE Geysers contracted Ecotherm to make them they (WE Geysers) are responsible for the guarantee,” said Mr Black who also sent a registered letter to WE Geysers, which has not yet been collected.

Paul Rawsthorne, regional sales manager, Kwikot Western Cape, said they were saddened to read how Mr Stevenson was treated by WE Geysers. “We do not like to see this kind of behaviour in the market we operate in,” he said and offered to replace Mr Stevenson’s geyser with a Kwikot, as a goodwill gesture. However, Mr Bayhack had already installed the new geyser.

Mr Rawsthorne made the same offer to Mr Black who happily accepted it.

Kwikot was taken over by Electrolux International in November 2016 in a deal worth R3.18billion, subject to regulatory approval which is expected in June.

“A geyser should be serviced regularly depending on the quality of the water. The anodes must also be checked timeously. Most geysers, with the exception of copper geysers, have ‘sacrificial’ magnesium anodes, which shed pieces to patch any pin holes that occur in the glass lining of the geyser. So they need to be checked and replaced regularly. Otherwise the holes will get bigger and the geyser will eventually burst,” said Mr Rawsthorne.

Mr Black said the Kwikot geyser was installed. “The employees were courteous and efficient. Thanks to Kwikot and to you.”

Mr Stevenson said Future Comfort installed a new geyser on Friday February 27.

“Mr Bayhack brought the price down in line with the insurance claim so the complex and I will split the excess. I accepted Mr Bayhack’s offer as I was concerned that the complex’s insurers might reject a claim because of the delay in lodging it,” said Mr Stevenson.

“The new geyser has a five-year guarantee, not 10,” added Mr Stevenson.

Mr Bayhack reportedly told the complex manager, that, “he’s a Rotarian and is worried about his reputation”. But I couldn’t confirm this as Mr Bayhack ignored my emails. Rotary has a four-way test that was developed by Herbert J Taylor when he set out to save the Club Aluminium Products distribution company from bankruptcy: the test is made up of four questions. And one of them reads: Is it fair to all concerned? You be the judge.

I still believe that WE Geysers and Future Comfort, as the supplier of the geyser, had a moral, if not legal, obligation to honour the guarantee.

And Mr Stevenson who has the same opinion is waiting for the National Consumer Commission and the Consumer Goods and Services Ombudsman to make a ruling.

Here are some tips from Kwikot to ensure that your geyser operates at optimum efficiency. Switch off your geyser when you go on holiday.

Don’t open the hot tap if you only need a small amount of cold water as this draws cold water into the geyser, which has to be reheated. Don’t overfill the bath or take lengthy showers as an increase in hot water usage will result in the geyser having to heat or reheat the water more often: the less hot water you use, the more you save. Boil the kettle for hot water to wash dishes.

Set the geyser temperature on the thermostat at 50°C or 55°C in summer and 60°C in winter.

It is advisable to have the geyser serviced every three to four years where the water supply is of a good quality and every second year where the water supply is of a bad quality or the water is defined as hard water.

A regular service would be the draining of the geyser, checking on the level of degradation of the magnesium sacrificial anode and replacing it if necessary, checking the element and thermostat and to replace the element if there is excessive lime scale build.

Lime scale and sludge must be removed from the tank and the entire installation should be checked for any leaks.