I have heard through the grapevine that the Cashmere Residents Association is doing some work on HWC due to Cashmere related problems. I am writing to ask if you would be so kind as to direct me to the person who is leading the charge on this.
We live in Valley Road and after an extensive rebuild had to replace our new HWC because it started leaking a year after install, and the replacement cylinder is now leaking as well so will also need replacing. This is one step up in terms of cost and complexity from replacing elements, and something of a problem as you can imagine. Your help with this would be much appreciated.
Regards Neil & Claire
P.S. Interested in Dale’s comments about putting in an air to water heatpump to replace his elements. We are in Valley Road Cashmere and have had an air to water heatpump for five years which has worked fine. However, our first HWC started leaking after about a year and its replacement also started leaking after a year – we currently live with a leaking HWC as we are reluctant to replace it while manufacturers and the CCC both blame each other for the problem. NEIL, 8th Sept 2016
Christchurch City Council is investigating Cashmere water quality, during August 2016. It tests all water supplies regularly so does not expect anything new or different will be found. But cylinder tank suppliers have extensive records of an anomaly, in an arc across the hills above The Princess Margaret Hospital mostly but also in a wider suburban circle – of many, many unusual repairs they have had to do around Cashmere. What’s up with our water?
In Sept/Oct 2010, the Muirheads of Hackthorne Road had a cylinder change from the rebuild of their home that had started in June. New plastic pipes and hoses were laid for the house water supply.
Post-earthquakes, problems began with a leak through the wall from the new cylinder. The tank supplier, Superheat said it was EQ-related, and EQC replacement was done in Dec 2015. An extra port had been added for solar heating, in the first install only.
The Muirheads have responded to CRA’s call for cylinder damage reports and list a range of unusual water effects:
* coffee machine failure in less than 2 years – repair technician had to use drill to get calcified screws out, and had never encountered the problem before
* onto their second electric jug already
* health issue of excess calcium build-up in a shoulder
* general hardness of water is over the top, can taste it, highly variable
* fish-tank water testing is done constantly – very hard to stabilise pH/acid level, according to Animates, but after 3 years a change to tropical and smaller fish has solved it – the larger fish now being gone has settled it
* a new fridge, now filtering water to the coffee machine etc, has brought some improvement
The Muirheads have friends on Kidson Tce and two sets on Dyers Pass Rd who have undergone recent element replacements, who could also report.
The Muirheads suggest a Cashmere School newsletter item, to get more reports in.
A Beckenham builder called in response to our 28.6.16 news item: Pat Smith blames the manufacturing, not the water quality, for the single fault he has struck after 40+ years building houses in Beckenham etc.
Only a recent solar water-heating cylinder has failed on him. He believes the joints to be faulty, subject to ferrous corrosion and causing leaks, in this case.
Superheat make their own heating coils, Mr Smith tells us, questioning standards. He has never had a problem with the Peter Cocks brand.
Mr Smith has scooped a lot of residue out of the bottom of tanks, over the years, and has retained failed coils for inspection.
I have been suffering repeated element failures in a Hot Water Cylinder installed in 2011 as an EQC earthquake repair – I think we are up to element set # 15.
I am reluctant to accept that this is a problem just at our house, and I am keen to know if any other residents in the Southern suburbs of the city are having similar problems. EQC staff have indicated they are really interested in finding a solution but keep doing the same thing – getting me to pay for the installing of new elements – and expecting a different result. All the plumbers seem to be aware that there is a problem with the water in Cashmere, but no-one at the CCC wants to talk about it. What can you tell me about this matter?
CRA committee member responds: We understand it’s not only Cashmere, that plumbers are now talking of effects city-wide. It is mainly mains pressure units. [CRA invited an article be posted, which follows]
Is anybody else having these problems with their Electric Hot Water Cylinder elements ….?
We live up the top of Bowenvale Avenue. In September 2011 we had a hot water cylinder (HWC) replaced by EQC as part of their earthquake repair programme. Since installation the elements have needed to be replaced every three months or so as they are being damaged by severe corrosion and they ultimately fail. The elements in use at the moment are due to fail, based on previous experience, in the coming weeks. The cylinder supplier and the plumbers that undertake the installation of replacement elements are amazed at the nature, extent and speed of the corrosion. Some people I have spoken to about this say that Cashmere, and areas in the south of the city, are prone to failures of this nature – at the moment that’s hearsay.
So, what do I know from my investigations;
The Cylinder manufacturer is adamant that it is not the cylinder causing these failures – citing that there are thousands of these, and similar units installed in homes around the country.
An element manufacturer in Auckland has been sent a set of failed elements, and they are equally assertive that their product is entirely satisfactory, and the failures are not in any way linked to poor quality materials or low manufacturing standards.
The electrical supply and connections are correct, and the circuits have been checked twice for continuity.
The City Council advise that the water is not causing these element failures.
We have installed probably every type of element appropriate for the application and there is no significant difference in the time between installation and failure.
I can’t believe that this situation is unique to our property and I am keen to know if any other homes have experienced similar failures / problems with their Hot Water Cylinder elements. It is now May 2016 and we are up to element set number 14 I think. Our Peter Cox Silver Bullet cylinder is showing signs of degradation, with weeping from some outer casing rivet points and water in the drip tray. Please ask around your neighbourhood to ascertain whether anyone has experienced similar element failures, and if so ask them to post their story on this site.
CRA responds 23.6.16:
We are working closely with Christopher to resolve this. Today we met onsite where plumbers were checking a sacrificial anode and cylinder element after two months in place (see pic). Will these last longer than another two months? Cleaning scale from the element will extend its life but shouldn’t be necessary at $200 labour each time. EQC were there too and are committed to returning normal hot water service, but what is the permanent fix? Christopher now has a scraping sample of the scale to be tested. (History of fault is in the following table.)
… One issue that has recently arisen for us, I am aware that it may also be an issue for others, is the longevity (or lack thereof) of hot water cylinders installed post the Canterbury Earthquakes. We have had problems with the brand new cylinder that was installed in 2013. We have had 5 elements blow and now the tank leaks. Testing done by the tank manufacturer seems to indicate that we have “corrosive water” in Cashmere. Clearly this is an issue people need to be aware of if installing cylinders so they know to query the type of cylinder installed to ensure it is suitable.
I would be most interested to know if other members/ residents have experienced similar issues and also about joining the association.
Our hot water cylinder is a Superheat one. To be fair they have been good at coming to view the problem, the solution however is less practical. They have advised that if we are able to take the tank to them, they will check it for corrosion and repair. Oddly while our cylinder was leaking pre-Christmas it stopped leaking while we were away for 10 days.
Given the problem has been going on for some time I am surprised that hot water cylinder manufacturers (Bosch excluded) haven’t taken more care to put warnings on their website about certain cylinders not being suitable for certain areas. Our plumber has never heard of “corrosive water” and equally Superheat said they have no idea where the cylinders go as they are simply ordered by the plumbers. In my view I have a right of action against both under Consumer Guarantees Act …