Queensland law since 1995 has been that hot water delivered to bathrooms be regulated so that it does not exceed 50°C. The most common method to achieve this is by installing a tempering valve.
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.
If your hot water unit has a valve that looks like the one pictured on the right, then you have a tempering valve installed. The most common valve installed has a blue cap, but valves used on gas units frequently have a green cap and those on solar or heat pump units have an orange cap.
It is almost a guarantee that your valve has never been serviced as most homeowners do not realise they even had such a device or that they are required to be tested and certified annually. Very simply a tempering valve blends hot and cold water to deliver hot water at a constant temperature and thus reduces the risk of scalding accidents.
Recent litigation places a deed of care to ensure the safe delivery of hot water in domestic situations. Very simply this means you should be having the tempering valve serviced annually whether you are a homeowner or a property investor or a real estate property manager. To ensure your hot water delivery is safe, you need an annual report signed by a licensed plumber that states:
- the model, manufacturer and identification of the tempering valve installed
- the temperature of the hot water recorded during the test
- details of the test undertaken, details of what maintenance was undertaken and what parts were replaced
- the location of the valve in the property
- a reference to the test method undertaken being compliant with AS 4032.3, Appendix C
Duty of care provisions applies to us all and without an annual test and a written report you leave yourself liable if anyone suffers a burn from your hot water. Most electric hot water units heat water to 70°C, so that has the potential to produce a severe burn in 1 second without a correctly working tempering valve.
Whywait Plumbing is contacting clients to book in compliant testing, maintaining and reporting of your tempering valves but if you have any concerns over the temperature of your hot water, contact us now to schedule your service.