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I'm having some serious trouble with the immersion heater in my apartment. I believe the set up is similar to the one described in this answer, however there is no thermostat to turn the immersion heater off when the water tank gets hot enough.

Consequently, turning the immersion heater on heats the water non-stop, and ultimately leads to an overflow which causes hot water to come out of the cold taps, and for the toilets to fill with hot water also. Finally, water begins to leak from underneath the boiler. Is this a safe setup?

My landlord has blamed me for the leak, saying that I left the immersion heater on for too long (it was on for a little over an hour). He's now saying that I will be held liable for any future leaks.

Can this problem be put down to misuse of the equipment, or does it indicate a flaw in the system?

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Are you asking who's fault this is, or how to fix it? –  Steven Feb 27 '13 at 14:48
    
I am asking if it's a problem that needs fixing, I will edit the question to clarify. –  MattDavey Feb 27 '13 at 14:53

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Hot water coming out of your taps is a serious safety issue as an unsuspecting person could scald themselves. It could cause damage, so an emphatic yes, this is an issue that needs resolution.

There are 2 problems I see here:

  1. No Thermostat: every heater should have a thermostat, or a control of some kind to prevent overheating. It's not just for safety, overheating reduces the life of the heater
  2. Hot water getting into the cold supply. This shouldn't happen, an overheat should lead to some sort of pressure relief which dumps the hot water safely

This system is unsafe and I'd be surprised if it was up to code. Your landlord should fix it.

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Thanks for your answer. I had a plumbing/heating expert look over the system and he was not impressed. He said the lack of a safety cutoff on the immersion caused a "runaway condition". He advised me to report the issue to trading standards. –  MattDavey Mar 6 '13 at 15:24

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