Why Do I Need A TMV or Tempering Valve?

Why Do I Need A TMV or Tempering Valve?

Every week we have clients asking why we are required to install a TMV or tempering valve to their hot water system. The short, simple answer is because it’s the law.

The longer answer is because it’s about safety. A TMV or tempering valve reduces the risk of scalding. This is because storage type gas, electric, solar and heat pump systems are storing hot water at between 60° C and 75° C. You need to be aware a severe hot water burn can occur in one second when the water is delivered at 60° C or higher. Hot water burns like fire because:

  • At 60°C, a severe burn can happen in 1 second
  • At 55°C, a severe burn would take 10 seconds
  • At 50°C, a severe burn would happen after 5 minutes

What is a TMV?

TMV or thermostatic mixing valve installed by Whywait Plumbing Services Gold Coast

TMV or thermostatic mixing valve installed by Whywait Plumbing

A TMV is a thermostatic mixing valve but is commonly referred to as a TMV. The role of a TMV is to mix hot and cold water together to provide you with hot water delivery at your tap that is at a consistent temperature.

When we install your TMV, we set the temperature to deliver the hot water in all bathrooms at 45°C in aged care or childcare facilities or 50°C in all other bathrooms.

A TMV is compulsory for use when used in common areas for aged care or childcare. A TMV is very accurate and very responsive to fluctuations in incoming water temperatures keeping the temperature to within 1° C of the temperature that it has been set at when we install it.

Accuracy of temperature in the TMV is delivered by a thermally sensitive element which expands and contracts in response to the temperature fluctuations of the incoming cold and hot water. This expansion and contraction regulate the temperature by controlling how much cold water mixes with the hot water. An added safety feature of a TMV is that if cold water flows become too low, they shut down to prevent 60°C plus water being delivered.

What is a Tempering Valve?

illegal tempering valve installation replaced by Whywait Plumbing

Non-compliant tempering valve installation connected with flexihoses replaced by Whywait Plumbing

A tempering valve’s role is also to mix hot and cold water together to provide you with hot water delivery at your tap that is at a consistent temperature.

The tempering valve is a simple three-way valve that is temperature actuated to mix the hot and cold water. These days most come preset at 50°C and when we install them, we test them by measuring the temperature of the water from your hot taps in the bathroom.

A tempering valve is commonly used in residential homes as a one-off valve at the hot water service. A tempering valve is slower to respond to temperature fluctuations compared to a TMV plus it will deliver water to within 3°C of the temperature that it has been set at when we install it.

Which Valve do you Require?

The Plumbing Code of Australia in AS/NZS 3500.4:2018 is very specific about water temperature is section 1.11, which states:

  • To avoid the likelihood of legionella bacteria growth, an installation shall store water at a temperature of not less than 60°C
  • All new heated water installations shall deliver heated water not exceeding 45°C for the aged, the sick, children or people with disabilities in healthcare, aged care, early childhood, schools and nursing homes. For all other situations, heated water shall be delivered not exceeding 50°C.

Ultimately when we are installing a temperature control device, we are legally obliged to comply with the requirements above and much more as they are prescribed in AS/NZS 3500.4:2018.

Overall a TMV is more expensive to install initially compared to a tempering valve. However, a TMV has a much longer working life span compared to a tempering valve as they are more accessible to service and replace the working parts. A tempering valve, by comparison, is usually just replaced when it stops working as they are not easy to service or replace parts in.

In Queensland, all work undertaken on a TMV or tempering valve is reportable to the QBCC and must have a compliant Form 4 submitted. For your protection always demand a copy of your Form 4.

Why Is My Hot Water Not Hot Enough?

Why Is My Hot Water Not Hot Enough?

A common question we get asked this time of year concerning hot water repairs is “Why is my hot water not hot enough?

We find our clients tend to notice this problem predominately when showering and in most instances, the temperature of the water hasn’t suddenly changed. It’s more than when the weather is fresher, and we tend to increase the ratio of hot to cold water, and therefore, any fault that affects the hot water becomes more apparent.

Hot Water Not Hot Enough, Common Causes

When customers ask “why is my hot water not hot enough” we always provide as much information as possible.

In our 42 years of plumbing experience and as hot water specialists, we have found the most common causes of this problem are:

Let’s take a closer look at each of these possible problems.

Malfunctioning tempering valve

Tempering valves are designed to blend hot and cold water to deliver water at a constant temperature that does not exceed 50’C. If water entering the tempering valve contains small amounts of sand or other debris, this can become lodged in the filters of the tempering valve and affect the operation of the valve resulting in lukewarm rather than hot water.  Read more about tempering valves.

Faulty hot water service

If your hot water service is older (usually 10-15 years) or you have overlooked regular maintenance, it could result in a problem with the heating system.

A hot water system fails most commonly at these points:

The element is the mechanism within the hot water service that heats the water with the thermostat being responsible for switching the element on and off. Any problem with either of these parts can result in disruption to your hot water.

The relief valve is responsible for releasing built-up pressure as the water heats. If this valve is continuously leaking, then you will lose hot water which in turn is replaced with cold water that cools the hot water stored in the tank.

Hot water demand exceeds the capacity

Typically if a tanks capacity is over 125L, then you would connect to one of the off-peak tariffs, which means that electricity used by the hot water system will be charged at a lower rate. While this makes for a cost-effective solution, it does come with some limitations as you do not have an unlimited supply and if for any reason your demand for hot water increases there is always the possibility that you could run out of hot water.

If you are finding the hot water in your household is consistently not hot enough, and repairs are not required, then seriously consider a more substantial capacity, new hot water system.

Help Is On Hand

Here at Whywait Plumbing, we don’t consider hot water a luxury, it is a necessity. So if you are experiencing a cold shower and asking yourself why is my hot water not hot enough, call us now for Same Day Service.

A Serious Hot Water Burn Occurs in One Second From Your Shower or Bath

Perception is reality and nowhere is this truer for us at Whywait Plumbing than when dealing with the issue of hot water temperature and the possibility of a  Serious Hot Water Burn will occur in one secondserious hot water burn.

Everyone has a different perception of how hot they want their hot water whether it is for cleaning or sanitation or personal hygiene use.

Recent research in the United States from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, confirms hot water heater temperatures are too high.

In Australia, most manufacturers preset the thermostats for hot water heater temperature at 60-65 degrees. This is dangerously high for a significant proportion of homes, presenting a scald hazard particularly for young children and the elderly. This is because literally hot water burns like fire because:

At 60°C, a serious burn can happen in 1 second

At 55°C, a serious burn would take 10 seconds

At 50°C, a serious burn would happen after 5 minutes

serious hot water burn from a shower above 60°CIt is estimated a serious hot water burn causes an estimated 1,200 hospital admissions and 50 deaths per year. Young children and elderly adults have thinner skin which burns more quickly putting them at increased risk.

In Queensland, it is the law that hot water delivered to bathrooms used primarily for personal hygiene purposes be regulated by use of a tempering valve or a thermostatic mixing valve that does not exceed 50°C. This is due to the fact that in 1995 the laws were changed requiring tempering valves to be installed on:

all new homes having a hot water system installed

replacement or upgrading of an existing hot water system

or when moving an existing hot water system to a new location on the property

However, homes built before 1995 will frequently still have hot water being delivered at 70°C. It is estimated that 37% of homes still have older electric or gas heaters delivering hot water that presents a scald hazard that will cause a serious hot water burn in one second.

Frequently these homes are rental properties. Many landlords and real estate property managers are unaware that recent litigation has placed a ‘deed of care’ onus on them to ensure the safe delivery of hot water in domestic bathrooms used primarily for personal hygiene purpose.

The installation of a tempering valve is an acceptable solution to hot water scald prevention. Delivering hot water at a consistent temperature is difficult without a tempering valve. This is due to the fact that as a hot water tank is depleted through use then replenished and reheated, the water temperature will not be constant throughout the tank.

Despite a perception by many people, a hot water service thermostat is not designed to provide precise estimates of water temperature. Its purpose is to begin heating when the temperature drops below a set level and turn off when it reaches a set level. Without a tempering valve installed it is almost impossible to assess the exact temperature of hot water delivered from a tap.

The advantage of a tempering valve is that guesswork is eliminated as tempering valves are designed to blend hot and cold water to deliver mixed water at a constant temperature and thus reduce the risk of a serious hot water burn.

Unfortunately for plumbers, property managers, homeowners and property investors hot water has increasingly become a legal minefield with the duty of care provisions.

It is for this reason Whywait Plumbing recommend that you install a tempering valve and maintain it compliantly with annual testing.

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