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
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?
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.
A burst flexi hose is a job we attend to almost every day. In all likelihood, you will have multiple flexi hoses in your home. They will exist commonly in both residential and commercial buildings under the kitchen sink, under the bathroom vanity basins, under the toilet cistern and under the laundry tub. Invariably when we attend to a burst flexi hose it has been damaged during installation causing kinking and has further experienced corrosion. Almost always the burst flexi hose was a time bomb waiting to happen. The braided stainless steel “simple to install” flexi hose has over the last 10 years replaced copper pipe connections to taps and toilet cisterns. Unfortunately, the braided stainless steel flexi hose has not lived up to expectations and delivered on the rust protection anticipated. In our experience, a burst flexi hose is caused by:
- incorrect installation with multiple kinks in the braided stainless steel
- stretching of the flexi hose to make the connection fit
- chemical attack from household cleaners
All of the above can create the perfect storm scenario in causing the braided stainless steel to corrode and rust. It then is just a matter of time until the stainless steel braiding fails which allows for the inner liner to burst. Here at Whywait Plumbing, we are now installing a polyamide hi class water hooker from Abey Australia which is the most technologically advanced flexi hose we have seen come onto the market. The Abey polyamide hi class water hooker cannot rust or corrode as it uses polyamide braiding that is similar to the Kevlar used in bulletproof vests. The connectors are manufactured from brass alloy so the entire flexihose will never rust even if its continually in contact with chemicals such as chlorine.
We are confident you will never experience a burst flexi hose once we install the Abey polyamide hi class water hooker as they literally cannot rust and cannot kink but best of all they come with a 15-year rust resistant warranty. Kinking is often the cause of a burst flexi hose but cannot occur with the Abey polyamide hi class water hooker. Kinking is simply poor installation as a result of over tightening the connector which twists the stainless steel braided hose. This over tightening creates pressure and tension in the braiding which frequently results in the inner liner bursting through the braiding and rupturing. The Abey polyamide hi class water hooker has a simple design to ensure that it is anti-kink. When we install the Abey polyamide hi class water hooker we are able to use two spanners to counteract any twisting that results in kinking.
Most of the flexi hoses currently used have an inner lining manufactured from EPDM which has the potential to absorb and release harmful chemicals such as chlorine into your drinking water. This ability to absorb chemicals also results in a potential burst flexi hose. With the Abey polyamide hi class water hooker the inner lining is manufactured from Softpex Core. The Softpex Core inner liner gives a superior mechanical performance to EPDM guaranteeing a longer life due to its higher tensile strength, higher abrasion resistance, higher working water pressure and non-corrosiveness. The extensive age/stress testing undertaken resulted in an amazing 0% failure rate.
We strongly recommend that you get us to check your flexi hoses every year for rust and/or corrosion and that they are replaced every five years. This will give you the peace of mind in knowing that the flexi hose in your home or business is not rusting and about to explode releasing water at 25 litres every minute that it flows. Rust is the #1 enemy of a braided stainless flexi hose.
When we replace your existing stainless steel flexi hoses with the Abey polyamide hi class water hooker we guarantee you will get:
- superior strength and corrosion resistance
- tested and WaterMark approved for use in Australia
- superior tensile strength
- superior working water pressure
- a superior mechanical performance with the Softpex core inner liner
- a 15-year rust resistant warranty from the manufacturer
As always we must caution you that installing or replacing a flexi hose is not a legally compliant DIY installation and under Queensland law must be done by a licensed plumber. You need to be aware that undertaking a DIY installation has the likelihood of making your insurance coverage null and void and the manufacturer’s warranty null and void if the flexi hose bursts and causes damage. Don’t wait for the ticking time bomb of your existing stainless steel braided flexi hoses to strike! Call us now to get us to upgrade you to the Abey polyamide hi class water hooker.
My Hot Water Service Needs Replacing!
Which Hot Water Service Should I Buy?
Besides renovating your home replacing your hot water service is likely to be one of the major costs your household will face. With the cost of heating hot water ranking second in dollar spend for household electricity costs, Whywait Plumbing believes it is imperative that you are well informed before making any decisions on your new hot water service.
With the plethora of makes and models available, the push for energy efficient solutions and a range of next generation water heaters on the market it is now more important than ever to do your research to ensure you select the best option available for your families hot water needs.
If you have been thinking “which hot water service should I buy?”, Whywait Plumbing will help by explaining the options available in the marketplace.
Electric Hot Water Service
Electric hot water services are the most common form of heating hot water. They consist of a storage tank with an element that is thermostatically controlled. As hot water is drawn off and cold water enters to replace it the element comes on to reheat the water.
- Ideally suited for like for like replacement.
- Available in a large range of makes, models and sizes.
- Readily available for same day installation.
- Reasonable up-front cost.
- Suitable for connection to off-peak electricity tariffs.
- Higher daily running costs unless connected to off-peal tariffs
- Limited capacity if connected to off-peak tariffs, so you have the possibility of running out of hot water should the demand for hot water exceed the capacity.
Gas Hot Water Service
Gas hot water services come as either the traditional storage tank, which works in a similar way to electric but uses gas rather than electricity as it’s source of energy, or instantaneous gas hot water services which only activate when a hot water tap is turned on. Instantaneous gas hot water services have become more popular than the traditional storage tank due to their superior efficiency. If you do not have reticulated natural gas in your suburb then LPG models are available.
NB: It is imperative that the correct sized unit is installed for your house to ensure adequate delivery of hot water.
- Available in a large range of makes, models and sizes.
- Reasonable up-front cost.
- Provide on demand hot water.
- Energy Efficient Solution
- LPG running costs can be expensive if hot water demand is high.
- Need to refill gas bottles if running on LPG.
- Whilst natural gas is cheap to run there will also be service fees charged by the energy retailer.
Solar Hot Water Service
Solar hot water services capture and retain heat from the sunlight and transfer this heat to the water stored inside the tank. Solar hot water services are available in both roof mounted and split systems. Roof mounted solar systems have both the tank and solar collectors or panels located on the roof and split systems have the solar collectors or panels on the roof and the tank on the ground with a circulating pump connecting the two. The heart of a solar hot water system is the collectors as they trap the heat and transfer it to storage, so for optimum operation they need to be located on a north facing roof. Solar collectors are available as both flat panel or the more efficient evacuated tube system.
- Energy efficient Solution.
- Low to no running costs.
- Available in a range of makes, models and sizes.
- Reduced greenhouse emissions.
- Eligible for government rebate.
- Higher up-front cost
- Dependent on sunlight for heating so operation is affected by the weather and may also need to boost electrically during the winter months to ensure an adequate supply of hot water.
- Any hot water used at night will not be reheated until the next day unless the electric booster is on.
- Must still be connected to electricity so will be charged a small service fee by the energy retailer whether you use electricity or not.
- Alters aesthetics of the property.
Heat Pump Hot Water Service
Heat pump hot water units are designed to deliver hot water day or night no matter what the weather conditions. A heat pump unit uses a fan to draw in ambient air which is absorbed by a refrigerant gas. As the warm gaseous refrigerant circulates through the system it passes through a compressor where it’s pressure and temperature rise. The hot refrigerant then passes through a heat exchanger which heats the water. The refrigerant is cycled back into the system, and the hot water is pumped into the storage tank.
Here at Whywait Plumbing we recommend the Sanden “Eco” Hot Water Heat Pump the most energy efficient hot water heat pump currently on the market as certified by the Australian Government Clean Energy Regulator.
Benefits – Sanden Hot Water
- Low running costs proven to use 20% of the electricity costs of electric storage tanks.
- Available in a range of sizes.
- Energy efficient.
- Reduced greenhouse emissions.
- Manufactured for Australian conditions.
- Fast recovery rate.
- Eligible for government rebate.
Got more questions?
Whywait Plumbing are more than happy to help. Call us today to speak with one of our friendly staff.
Plumbing innovations have always been the norm in the plumbing industry. Innovation is change and is always about better ways of doing the same thing.
When I started my apprenticeship the clearing of a blocked drain started using a plunger and was at least a two-man job using 1m long drainage rods. The rods were screwed together and manually pushed slowly down the drain until we hit the blockage. Clearing drains this way frequently took 3-4 hours.
Plumbing innovations mean that we now clear a blocked drain with state of the art high-pressure jetrodding technology that was unknown 20 years ago.
Innovation is always about change, but at Whywait Plumbing we have always been at the forefront of plumbing innovations. We have always lead change as Gold Coast plumbers from the purchase of our first high-pressure water jetting unit in 1992 or installing vehicle tracking systems or introducing guaranteed upfront pricing in 1999.
What we always considered was developing and improving our way of solving your plumbing problems is now referred to as disruptive innovation. I agree disruptive innovation is the new term in business in the 21st century. But it’s not new it’s just a new way of talking about improving our methods and practices using the latest technology.
Change is the norm, but it just appears to be frantic to an outside observer with online banking, online shopping, online flight bookings and so the list goes on. At least with plumbing, it can’t be done online except for those DIY enthusiasts who believe Google Plumbing has all the answers.
The level of disruption through plumbing innovations has impacted all plumbing installation and maintenance has been significant starting with:
- Increasing use of prefabrication of bathroom and kitchen modules off-site where the plumbing is all undertaken in a factory, transported to the site and connected up to a water and drainage connection.
- Continual advances in sustainability with the advent of low flow toilets, low flow taps, waterless urinals and recirculated hot water.
- Advances in energy efficient products with heat pump hot water units, solar hot water, instant hot water and underfloor heating.
- All of the different materials we now use in the pipework, relining of existing pipework, CCTV cameras to inspect pipes and pipe jointing methods where welding is now obsolete.
- Excavation methods with advanced technologies in hydro excavation and tracking and locating of underground services.
The ongoing changes in technology in the plumbing industry are disruptive if not embraced. I agree that plumbing innovations cause a significant difference in how we undertake to solve plumbing problems and how the plumbers at Whywait work now.
Ultimately plumbing continues to be about protecting the health and safety of the community for now and the future to ensure we have good quality water and sewer systems in our buildings.
Replacing Your Hot Water Service – How Will You Know What’s Right For You?
When replacing your hot water service the most common question asked is what will it cost?
Whilst price is always an important consideration, at Whywait Plumbing believe that there are other equally important factors. This article will help you make an informed decision.
Should The Price of the Replacement Hot Water Service Be The First Consideration?
Besides renovating your home, replacing your hot water service is a major cost. It is often an expense that occurs with very little warning.
Unfortunately, unless you like cold showers, this gives you little time to carefully review available replacement options.
Hot water systems are not all created equal and the choice you make today will be one that lasts for the next ten to fifteen years. With ever-increasing energy costs impacting household budgets, having an efficient and well maintained hot water service has never been more important. A cheap hot water service may cost you a great deal more in ongoing expenses.
With So Many Hot Water Systems On the Market How Do You Know Which One To Choose?
With modern technological advances and the push for energy-efficient heating solutions, it’s no longer a matter of just replacing your hot water system with like for like. So how do you know which hot water service to buy?
Hot water services are available in electric, gas, solar and heat pump models, and all come in a huge range of sizes. Purchasing the right hot water service for your needs is something you should seek advice about from a qualified hot water specialist. With a little help from Whywait’s Hot Water Specialists you will be able to select the system that best suits your situation.
Hot Water Service FAQ’s
Before making any decisions about a hot water service replacement you will need to think about:
- What size is your current hot water service and have you ever run out of hot water with your current hot water system?
- Does your current hot water service operate on an off-peak electricity tariff?
- Are your hot water needs likely to increase, decrease or stay the same over the next five years?
- Do you intend to remain in your current property for at least the next five years?
- What is more important to you the initial up-front installation cost or the ongoing running costs?
- Is the quality of the product and length of warranty a consideration when comparing hot water services?
Once you have answered the above points it will be time to consider the available options.
If you are reading this because you have no hot water and wondering if having no hot water is a plumbing emergency, read on.
Generally speaking if you have time to look a problem up on a website it’s probably not a plumbing emergency (yet) so technically speaking, having no hot water isn’t exactly a plumbing emergency, but still……
Having no hot water is considered a same day guarantee situation for our plumbing business, but this may not be the case for other local plumbing companies.
Even though no hot water usually isn’t an emergency, at our Gold Coast business, Whywait Plumbing, we made the decision many years ago that we don’t consider hot water to be a luxury, so for this reason we offer a same day guarantee for situation where a household is without hot water.
So why haven’t you got hot water?
In our 40 year history at Whywait Plumbing, we have found the most common causes of having no hot water are:
- Faulty element or thermostat (possibly both)
- Relief valve constantly leaking
- Faulty tempering valve
- Off-Peak relay switch failing to activate
- Insufficient sunlight to heat solar hot water
- Demand exceeds capacity
- Leaking hot water service
Hot Water Troubleshooting Checklist
Follow the DIY check list below before calling for help
Locate your hot water service and check the following:
- Check for any leaks at the tank especially around the electrical box. (Do not remove the cover as doing this will expose live wires)
- If the relief valve is leaking activate lever until water runs out in a continuous flow, then return lever to original position and see if the leak stops.
- A faulty tempering valve usually results in tepid water rather than no hot water, you can test this by activating the relief valve and checking if the water in the tank is hotter than the water delivered at the taps.
- If your hot water service is connected to off- peak electricity check with your energy supplier to see if there has been any problems, in your suburb, with transmitting to the relay switch at your home.
- For solar hot water check for foliage blocking sunlight to panels, that panels are clean and if cloudy or wet that the booster switch is on.
Locate the meter board and check the following:
- Check the hot water switch is in the on position.
- Check for a tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse.
Emergency or not, having hot water that is not hot enough, or no hot water, can be unpleasant and inconvenient, however you will be happy to hear in most instances it is a simple fix.
If you’re thinking about replacing your hot water service and not sure what is best to suit your family then look out for next weeks Blog – Choosing a New Hot Water Service – How do I know what’s right for me?
Whywait Plumbing recommends that all adults residing in a household should at a bare minimum know:
- Where the main water isolation valve for the property is located.
- How to turn off the water at the water meter (usually located in a turf box on the property boundary).
- How to turn off the water at the hot water service.
- How to isolate the power to the house at the meter board.
Should an emergency arise where any of the above is required having this prior knowledge will allow the situation to be handled quickly and calmly allowing you to make the situation safe and minimising damage to the property.