There is a huge demand for water heaters but improper use of these appliances, especially during winter, can lead to serious health hazards. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Improper use of water heaters, especially during winter, can lead to serious consequences, warned a senior official.

As much as water heaters are convenient to people allowing them to take hot showers and use them for cooking purposes, they can also become a hazard to people, therefore many precautions need to be considered.

Brigadier Mohammad Saleh Al Awadi, acting public relations director at the Ministry of Interior, warned the public of misusing water heaters at homes, restaurants, and cafes, in an effort to raise awareness of the detrimental effects that could take place from mishandling water heaters.

Brigadier Al Awadi stressed that when buying a water heater, one should make sure that it includes a temperature regulator, a warning mechanism, a safety valve, a power switch, and a thermostat.

Malfunction

"In case of a malfunction or mistreatment of the water heaters, dangerous consequences can take place," Brigadier Al Awadi said.

"Accidents can take place which could lead to major injuries or even deaths, in addition to financial losses and serious property damages," he further added.

Moreover, Brigadier Al Awadi said almost every household has a water heater in the kitchen and bathrooms.

In addition, people keep their water heaters on for long hours or even continuously without considering the danger that could come with inappropriate use or if they are unsafely installed.

It is important that qualified technical professionals install water heaters as per the installation guidelines that accompany the heaters.

Brigadier Al Awadi stressed that people should make sure that the thermostat is functioning properly and must sustain water temperature below 70 degrees Celsius as the weather in the UAE does not require a higher water temperature.

Furthermore, numerous maintenance procedures should be done regularly before winter including changing the pipes and water connections and making sure that the thermostat is operating well.

He also linked heater accidents to a combination of matters including malfunction in the electric insulator which continues to heat uncontrollably, the blockage of or damage of the safety valve, lack of water in the reservoir, that the heater is old and can not bear the pressure that results from excessive heat, and weakness and deterioration of the tank itself. Heaters must be replaced every five years.

"Only a limited number of patients come in suffering from burns by water heaters," Dr Mohammad Selim, a doctor at the emergency section of Shaikh Khalifa Medical City, told Gulf News.

Poisonous water

"People have to check the water heat degree and make sure the water is not steaming; they should also be careful to switch the tap to cold after usage," Dr Selim further added.

Dr Hussain Abdul Dayem, a private dermatologist, said that "people would be shocked to know that water heaters and some coolers could be the reasons for high blood pressure and kidney problems, as water heaters are used for cooking purposes and [preparing] hot drinks."

"What people do not know is that the heaters and some poor quality coolers release zinc, which is mixed with cadmium used in the heater tanks, and together produce a poison in the water consumed by people," Dr Hussain explained.

Remember

- When buying a water heater, make sure it includes a temperature regulator, a warning mechanism, a safety valve, a power switch and thermostat.

- Only qualified technicians should install water heaters.

- Make sure the thermostat functions proficiently and must sustain water temperature below 70 degrees Celsius.

- Regular maintenance must be carried out before winter.


Are you aware of the various precautions when it comes to water heaters? How often do you replace the water heaters in your house?