Consumers advised to replace water heaters after ten years

PUTRAJAYA: The Energy Commission (ST) has advised consumers to replace their old water heaters, especially those over ten years old, as the older models do not meet the latest safety specifications.

ST Electrical Safety Regulation director Mohd Elmi Anas said this was important to avoid untoward incidents, including electric shock accidents and explosions, caused by unsafe water heaters.

"The new storage-type water heater models now come with the latest safety features, which includes a thermostat and the built-in thermal cutout that are available since 2000. Apart from that, the heaters are now fitted with inlet/outlet isolation barriers, which was made mandatory since April.

"As for the instant water heater models, they now come with 15 milliamps (mA) residual current device (RCD) and the hose is now made of plastic, instead of steel," he told Bernama at his office here recently.

He said 10 years ago, most instant water heaters in Malaysia were supplied with stainless steel conductive hose which has now been banned as electricity could flow through a victim in case of a leakage.

Mohd Elmi said two incidents of water heater explosion which occurred in December 2014 at a resort in Kundasang, Sabah and at a condominium unit in Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur last February, were due to faulty equipment or safety system failure in the storage water heater.

"No casualties were reported in both incidents, but the buildings were severely damaged. In the Mont Kiara incident, the heater had been in use for 23 years and the safety features were not according to latest international safety standards," he said.

He also reminded the users that installation and electrical wiring works should only be carried out by a competent ST certified electrician.

"If you are already using a water heater which is equipped with the latest safety features, make sure that the appliance is serviced regularly and the spare parts are genuine," he added.

To ensure that a water heater has been approved by ST, the appliance must be affixed with the Sirim-ST label which is usually pasted or embossed at the back of the water heater. — Bernama