Hot water temperature regulations QLD

by | Sep 19, 2023 | Building basics & regulations

Hot water is one of the essentials in any modern home. Whether it is for a hot shower or for appliances like a dishwasher or washing machine, it’s hard to imagine living without hot water in your new home. What you may not have thought about until you started building a new home is the regulations for hot water temperatures. The Queensland Government has some strict guidelines when it comes to hot water systems in residential buildings, so it’s important to have your unit installed by a qualified, trustworthy professional and that you’re aware of the guidelines. So let’s turn up the heat and take a look at hot water temperature regulations.

Types of hot water systems these regulations apply to include:

  • Electric hot water system
  • Gas hot water system
  • Heat pump
  • Solar power

What are the hot water temperature regulations in QLD?

The regulations for hot water in Queensland mandate two key temperatures for homeowners. These are:

  • The safe maximum temperature hot water can reach when leaving the tap (50c)
  • The minimum temperature of 60c for stored water (in the storage tank of your system) in order to avoid bacteria growth.

What happens if I do not follow these regulations?

By not following these regulations, you’re putting both you and your family at risk of either getting serious burns or contracting serious diseases.

If you’re a landlord or renting your property to someone else, you could be found liable for any injury caused by a hot water system that was improperly installed, especially if you were aware of this.

Are there any exemptions to these regulations?

Outside taps in the laundry and kitchen can exceed the maximum temperature of 50c, if they’re for appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines, etc. Talk to your builder or plumber about how to set up your taps appropriately for your needs.

Which authorities are responsible for governing these regulations?

Your local council and the state government are responsible for governing these regulations in the National Building Code.

Why does hot water temperature control matter?

Hot water temperature regulations are important for the safety of you and others in your home. There are two main safety concerns when it comes to water temperature. The first is avoiding the risk of scalding-related injuries. Anyone who’s experienced a hot water scold will tell you how severe an injury this can be, so it is vital that your shower and taps aren’t capable of reaching these temperatures, especially if you have children in the house.

The second reason is preventing the growth of bacteria such as legionella which thrives in water at a temperature of 25-32°C. Due to the tropical climate of Queensland, legionnaires disease is a genuine concern. Legionnaire’s disease is a severe form of pneumonia caused by bacteria in contaminated water. Storing water at a temperature of 60 c or more effectively reduces any chance of your water supply becoming contaminated.

What are the maximum hot water temperature limits?

The maximum temperature water coming from a tap used for domestic hygiene purposes (washing hands, bathing, etc.) can reach is 50 degrees Celsius in order to prevent scalding. You may wonder why this is such a big deal, but 60-degree water can cause third-degree burns within a second of touching someone’s skin. Water at 50 c will take 5 minutes to cause the same amount of damage.

Which water outlets must comply with these temperature limits?

Any water outlet that will be used for human consumption, or personal hygiene or will be used on people’s skins needs to comply with the above rules. Tempering valves will need to be installed in your hot water system to ensure temperatures remain at a safe level.

What are the hot water installation requirements?

Hot water systems must be installed by a qualified hot water installer and must be installed according to the included manual instructions. This ensures that your hot water heater will work properly and that all safety issues are taken care of. It also means you don’t risk voiding your warranty.

It is also a requirement that your hot water system has a hot water tempering valve installed to ensure water will be kept and expelled at the correct temperatures (see above).

Using temperature control devices to regulate hot water temperature

It is a legal requirement to have a temperature control device, like a valve, to help maintain a safe heat for your water. Temperature valves work by mixing cold water with hot water so that it will leave your tap at a safe temperature. Only a legally qualified plumber or technician can set the temperature of your unit.

How often do you need to check & inspect hot water systems to ensure compliance?

For any hot water heater, it’s wise to have your unit inspected annually or every six months by a professional. This will not only ensure your unit is in compliance, but it will help keep your system in top working order and catch any issues early.

Signs it’s time to have your hot water system checked

There are some telltale signs you should have a professional come have a look at your hot water system. Issues could affect the temperature of your water, the effectiveness of your heater

  • The storage tank is leaking or there are any signs of leakage
  • Any signs of corrosion around hot water storage systems
  • Inconsistent water temperature or no hot water at all.
  • Weak water pressure.
  • Any sediment or matter appearing in your drinking water
  • Strange noises coming from your system

If your system is over ten years old or the repair costs will cost more than half of the system’s initial cost, most experts will recommend a replacement hot water system.

What penalties can I expect for non-compliance?

Depending on the severity of the non-compliance, you’ll either receive a warning or a fine for not following regulations. If your hot water system doesn’t meet Australian standards, you may need to replace it.

If you’re renting your property to a third party, it is your responsibility to ensure the hot water systems in your building are up to code. Any injury resulting from a non-compliant hot water system could leave you liable.

Get free advice from an experienced building broker


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