Does your hot water system comply with tempering valve regulations? Hot water systems have a fairly long shelf life. For this reason, some people on the Gold Coast may not be familiar with the recent rules around tempering devices. But did you know that it only takes one or two seconds for a serious burn to occur at 60°C? So it’s vital we do all we can to prevent that from happening. When it comes to hot water safety, tempering devices are the number one way you can save someone from horrific scalding in your home, business or institution. As plumbers and gas fitters licenced to install and replace all types of tempering devices, we outline some of the laws, as well as address some frequently asked questions about hot water safety.
Why Do We Need a Tempering Device?
A tempering device ensures your hot water is at a safe temperature for personal hygiene use. Regulations on safe water services are Australia-wide and fall under the Plumbing Code of Australia (PCA).
Firstly, there are regulations on water storage temperature. In 1998, a new Australian standard was introduced to regulate hot water temperature storage to a minimum of 60°C (AS3500.4.2 Clause 1.6). This is in order to prevent deadly legionella bacteria, which breeds in warm water under this temperature.
However, due to the potential for serious burns at 60°C, the PCA also sets standards on the temperature at the tap. According to AS3498, the delivery of hot water for personal hygiene must be at a maximum of 50°C to prevent burns. For institutions such as early childhood centres, schools, and nursing homes or other facilities where the young, sick, aged or disabled could be using hot water, the maximum temperature at the tap must be 45°C.
A tempering valve or other tempering device reduces your hot water temperature at the tap, to allow you to meet both Australian standards outlined in the PCA.
What are the Tempering Valve Regulations for Queensland and the Gold Coast?
According to tempering valve regulations, tempering devices must be installed by a licensed plumber. The PCA requires installation in these instances:
- On new hot water system installations in new homes, institutions or businesses.
- On any non-like for like hot water system replacement
- When moving an existing hot water system to a new location on the property.
- Important Update: On 1 May 2016, the Department of Housing and Public Works in Queensland clarified that all like-for-like replacements of hot water systems must be installed with a tempering valve.
In a nutshell, all homes will be required to have tempering devices installed as hot water systems are replaced. Repairs to your current system may not obligate you under regulations to have one installed at your home or business. However, we recommend all home and business owners consider the safety benefits.
What is the Rate of Scalding at Various Temperatures?
Which Hot Water Tempering Systems Can I Install?
The type of tempering device you can install depends on your hot water system and your budget.
A tempering valve has a temperature sensitive element which adjusts the level of cold water depending on the temperature of the water from the hot water system. Tempering valves have a variance of approximately 3%. Your plumber can fit a tempering valve to reduce temperature to the whole house or they can isolate it to the bathroom. Your plumber will install a different valve for electric; gas; and solar hot water systems as well as for large systems. Manufacturers recommend replacement every 5 years.
Thermostatic Mixing Valves
Thermostatic Mixing Valves (TMV’S) similarly blend hot and cold water. Your plumber can also install it to the entire home or business, or isolate it for bathroom purposes. TMV’s are able to respond faster to temperature changes, which allows greater consistency of temperature at the tap. The variance on TMV’s is 1%. For this reason, regulations state TMV’s are the only suitable device for facilities and institutions which need to reduce water temperature to 45°C by law. TMV’s are more expensive but have a longer life span. Most times, your plumber will service your TMV rather than replace it. Your plumber must have a specific TMV licence to install it.
Gas Continuous Flow System
An alternative to a valve for temperature regulation is to install a gas continuous flow hot water system. There is no water storage because the system is tankless. The gas heater heats the water rapidly as it flows from the pipes. You can access a temperature regulation panel, usually in the bathroom. This panel is often factory set at 50°C. A continuous flow system is a more expensive option, which you may consider depending on your budget.
Can I Get Advice on Tempering Valve Regulations on the Gold Coast?
Plumb Perfection is a fully licensed plumbing and gas fitting company, and our plumbers are licenced TMV installers. We can help determine your requirements under tempering valve regulations. In addition, we can offer you advice on the best system for your needs, and well as where to place it.
MAKE YOUR HOT WATER SAFE
Contact us for a no-obligation free quote on the safety of your hot water system. We can replace and install existing tempering valves, install and service thermostatic mixing valves as well as install a gas continuous flow system at your home.