While you can do without a Ferrari in the driveway or a $10,000 diamond ring on your finger, no smooth-running home or property can function with smiles all round without a hot water system. Like everything man-made, though, hot water systems tend to be highly reliable until they strike inevitable trouble, especially after those warranty periods start to run out.
The most common hot water system problems are noise, leaking hot water units, poor quality or discoloured water and low hot water pressure, but something to really watch out for is a faulty or broken hot water tempering valve.
1. What is a hot water tempering valve?
You can identify your hot water tempering valve, which must always be installed by a fully licensed Gold Coast plumber, by their blue, green, orange or black caps – depending on the type of hot water system you’re using.In a nutshell, the hot water system tempering valve is a simple and yet highly effective method for cutting out an old issue with hot water systems – scalded skin. With a fully functioning valve in place, every hot water user – especially your kids – will be safe from harm caused by scalding or burning due to the water being too hot.
2. Is scalding really a big deal?
If you don’t think scalding is a big deal, consider this: it can happen almost instantly when the temperature is at just 60 degrees. And we’re not talking about a brief “Ouch!” – we’re talking about third-degree burns after exposure of just a single second. Reduced to 55 °C, third-degree burns will only occur after 10 seconds, but at 50 °C, the same injury will take a full five minutes. Especially in children, scalding is not only incredibly painful, it can have lifelong impacts.
3. How does a tempering valve work?
Without getting technical, tempering valves work basically by serving as a way to combine hot water with cold water. It means that what comes out of those taps is water that is delightfully hot but not so hot that it’s dangerous.
4. Do hot water systems really need tempering valves?
The short answer to that question is very short indeed because the answer is a most definite “yes”. Even if you don’t have kids or other vulnerable people at your property, Gold coast hot water system installations must feature a properly working and calibrated tempering valve that complies with Australian Standards (AS3500). In Queensland, the water stored in your tank should be at 60 degrees, not just so that it can be delivered to the taps at a maximum of 50 degrees but also to minimise Legionella bacteria growth.
5. Will I need to replace a tempering valve?
In Australia, it’s not uncommon these days to find hot water manufacturers that offer hot water units that last longer and impressively long warranties – up to 10 years or even more. Generally, however, the tempering valve may only last 5-8 years, so it’s possible that you’ll need yours replaced after some routine maintenance from your friendly plumber.
6. Do I need a new tempering valve right now?
Is your water temperature not right? Is the flow of water unusual? Are you noticing leaks or drips, particularly from your hot water system’s valves? It could be that your tempering valve is on the way out, and as we explained above, it’s not something to take a risk with.
If you suspect something’s up with your tempering valve or you have another question about hot water systems, Gold Coast Plumbing Experts are your local, friendly, fully-licensed and always-affordable experts in all things hot water – including those handiest of tempering valves. For a chat or to book a consultation today, get in touch with the friendly team.