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Introduction to Hot Water System Regulations in Australia

Hot water systems in Australian homes are crucial for bathing, washing, and hygiene. However, improperly installed or ill-maintained systems pose significant safety risks.

Every state and territory in Australia specifies regulations and compliance stipulations for continuous flow, which includes instantaneous water heaters. Regulations dictate aspects like water temperature, efficiency, prevention of Legionella, and safe operation.

Adhering to regulations for heated water is crucial for preventing injuries from scalding, minimising greenhouse gas emissions, and stopping the spread of dangerous bacteria like Legionella.

This guide will explore the regulations governing various hot water systems in Australia. We will cover safety measures including water temperature limits, tempering valve use, and prevention of Legionella. There are some state-by-state differences in hot water system installation and replacement rules, which we’ll also outline.

Understanding new water system regulations enables homeowners and professionals to ensure safety and efficiency standards are met. Correct installation and maintenance of water heaters, adhering to regulations, ensures their safe, long-term operation.

Ensuring Hot Water Safety with Temperature Controls

Regulations mandate that electric hot water not exceed 50°C at the tap to minimize scalding risks and prevent Legionnaires’ disease. If hot water can become too hot or not warm enough, it poses a risk of third-degree burns almost instantly.

Effective temperature control is essential to prevent serious scalds from hot water taps. For safety, every hot water system new installation in Australia must feature an approved temperature control device like a tempering valve or thermostatic mixing valve. These devices automatically blend water hot and cold, making sure the resulting temperature remains safe and does not exceed 50°C as it exits taps.

Tempering valves, often near the water heater, efficiently blend hot and cold water. Both categories of devices are fine-tuned to deliver water with a regulated delivery temperature that remains no higher than 50°C.

Properly installed temperature control devices consistently maintain safe hot water temperatures. These devices protect all household members, especially vulnerable individuals, from accidental scalding.

Preventing Scalds

Hot water scalding risks severe injuries, especially for children and the elderly. Australian regulations cap hot water temperature at 50°C for personal hygiene to prevent scalding.

There are several key ways to prevent scalds in your home:

  • Calibrating your hot water system ensures output remains at a safe 50°C or less, while natural gas systems can be set to 60°C to account for thermal loss.
  • The systems you have in place may require thermostatic mixing valves to be installed, to blend the water to a safer temperature automatically.
  • Begin with cold water before turning on the hot to avoid surprising bursts of high temperatures.
  • Check water temperature with your wrist before bathing children or less mobile occupants.
  • Always keep the bathroom door closed, a simple act that contains steam and reduces the likelihood of accidental burns from hot surfaces and water.

Prioritize safety in households with vulnerable individuals when installing or maintaining storage tanks. Have your plumber verify compliance with regulations for hot water system installation or replacement. Adhering to standards prevents scalds and provides peace of mind for those caring for children and the elderly.

Installing and Maintaining Tempering Valves

Tempering valves ensure safe water temperature but must be installed and maintained correctly.

With the installation of a tempering valve suitable for the array of hot water systems out there, a licensed plumber must:

  • Choose the right valve to suit the hot water system
  • Fit the valve as close as possible to the water heater
  • Set to deliver hot water at no more than 50°C
  • Connect cold water feed line to power the valve
  • Allow easy access for maintenance checks

Homeowners should test water temperature monthly with a digital thermometer to ensure safety. Ensure your storage tank’s valve never releases water above the 50°C threshold. Should this be the case, organise for your plumber to tune the tempering valve accordingly.

Annual maintenance is vital for checking wear and function of valves. Tempering valves, with their degradable parts and seals, typically require replacement every 5-10 years.

Upgrading to a unit like a solar heat pump may require modern tempering valves for STC eligibility. Your licenced plumber can ensure new valves suit your system.

Well-fitted tempering valves provide long-term protection against hazardous water temperatures.

State-Specific Requirements for Installation and Replacement

There are some key state-specific regulations to be aware of when installing or replacing hot water systems in Australia:

New South Wales

In NSW, all new installations and replacements must comply with the National Construction Code and Plumbing Code of Australia.

This covers areas like energy efficiency ratings, leak control measures, temperature regulation, and the integration of renewable energy solutions. Tempering valves or a tempering system must be fitted.


While aligned with the national Plumbing Code, Victoria has additional regulations from the Victorian Building Authority. Primary stipulations include energy efficiency ratings and a 3-star minimum for residential replacement units.


In Queensland, all plumbing and drainage works need approval from a licenced professional. Installations and system replacements in Queensland do need to comply with AS/NZS 3500 and require a Certificate of Compliance from the plumber to show that regulations have been satisfied.

For detailed guidance, consult state regulators and engage expert professionals such as Cecil Hills Plumbing. Staying current with hot water plumbing knowledge and maintaining strict compliance ensures that your system fulfills all safety, efficiency, and regulatory standards.

Ensuring Compliance Through Regular Inspection and Maintenance

To ensure hot water systems continue operating safely and efficiently, Australian regulations mandate regular inspection and maintenance for all hot water systems.

An annual inspection by a licenced plumber should include assessments for:

  • Temperature hot water monitoring and tempering valve operation
  • Energy efficiency and greenhouse performance
  • Leak detection in pipes and valves
  • Condition of electrical wiring, thermostats and heating elements
  • Corrosion, sediment build-up and tank integrity in hot water tank storage systems
  • Functioning of expansion control and pressure valves

If your hot water falls short of standards, immediate action from professionals like us can restore compliance. Most common remedies involve tempering valve adjustments, system cleaning, replacing worn parts or upgrades to improve efficiency ratings.

We also recommend a more extensive major service every 5 years in line with manufacturer guidelines. This may involve draining and de-scaling electric or solar hot water systems, anode rod replacement in storage tanks, or testing/replacing components nearing end of service life.

Regular maintenance of your hot water system guarantees continual safety for your household. Minor repairs help maximise system lifespan while identifying any major faults early prevents dangerous failures. With expert help from qualified plumbers like the team at Cecil Hills Plumbing, you can rest assured your system meets the highest compliance standards.

When to Call a Professional Plumber

As a homeowner, knowing when to call a professional plumber can prevent injuries, property damage, and other costly problems when dealing with heat pump hot water issues. There are several scenarios where it pays to rely on qualified, licenced experts like Cecil Hills Plumbing rather than trying DIY fixes:

Installing or Replacing Systems

Attempting to install or replace complex electric pump hot water systems without appropriate training and expertise risks non-compliance, hazardous leaks, and voiding warranties. Our licenced plumbers stay informed on the latest regulations and can take action to install your new system with the assurance it meets all safety and efficiency standards.

Strange Noises or Leaks

Strange gurgling noises, banging pipes or leaks behind walls often indicate bigger issues needing thorough diagnosis. We have high-tech leak detection tools, drainage cameras, pipe LOCators, and pressure testing equipment to inspect hard-to-access areas and pinpoint the real problem.

Loss of Hot Water

If you face a situation with hot water no longer available, don’t immediately assume your hot water system needs replacing. There are often simple fixes like correcting thermostat settings, replacing heating elements or clearing sediment build-up in storage tanks. Our expert troubleshooting avoids unnecessary replacements saving you money.

For reliable, regulation-compliant plumbing services, email or call the team at Cecil Hills Plumbing on 1300 349 338. Or book an appointment online today.

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