In Australia, hot water systems are an essential part of daily life. It is commonly used in residential and commercial buildings to provide heated water for a variety of purposes including showering, bathing, dishwashing, and laundry. The type of hot water system used in Australia is determined by several factors, including building size, number of occupants, location, and energy efficiency requirements. However, did you know that hot water temperature regulation in Australia is regulated by law? And why should it be regulated?
The authority that regulates hot water regulations in Melbourne is the Victorian Building Authority (VBA). According to VBA, every year, hot tap water scalds many children, the elderly, and the disabled across Australia. More than 90% of these scalds happen in the bathroom, where the water temperature from showers or taps is too hot and a person cannot react quickly enough to avoid scalding.
This may not appear to be a significant temperature difference, but it can mean the difference between permanent scarring, agonising pain, hospitalisation and skin grafts, or a relatively minor injury. Severe scalding can even result in death in some cases.
This is why plumbing codes require a maximum temperature of 50°C at each shower head or tap outlet. This temperature is suitable for a bath or shower but not hot enough to cause severe scalding.
The maximum water settings listed above are not bathing temperatures; for baths and showers, the recommended maximum bathing temperature for young children is 37 to 38°C. You may need to mix cold and hot water.
In addition, here are ways to reduce the risk of burns in the bathroom:
To prevent bacteria growth (such as Legionella), hot water must be stored above 60°C in hot water systems. Legionella is a type of bacteria that can cause Legionnaires' disease, a severe form of pneumonia. The bacteria can be found in both natural and man-made water systems, such as hot tubs, cooling towers, and plumbing systems, and they can be spread through the air when contaminated water droplets are inhaled.
People who are older, have weakened immune systems, or have underlying medical conditions are more likely to become ill from Legionella. Legionnaires' disease symptoms include fever, coughing, shortness of breath, muscle aches, and headaches. It can cause complications such as respiratory failure, septic shock, and even death in severe cases.
The actual water in your hot water system, on the other hand, must be stored at a minimum of 60°C to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria such as Legionella.
If you're looking for a specific number, here it is 50°C. That is, the water that comes out of your hot bath tap or shower head when only the hot water is turned on should be no hotter than that - hot enough for a relaxing bath but not hot enough to cause immediate or long-term damage.
The main exception to the 50°C rule is for environments designed specifically for vulnerable Australians, such as nursing homes and schools. The general maximum in these cases is 45°C.
If you are unsure about the hot water temperatures in your home, whether in your hot water system or in your taps, give Hot Water Melbourne a call and we will arrange for one of our plumbers to come out and check the temperature and install a tempering valve today. 247 Hot Water Melbourne is a leading hot water Melbourne company that has been providing residential and commercial clients with dependable, timely, and cost-effective services for many years.