Today we look at Tempering Valve’s and what they mean for you, your friends & and family, especially if you have kids! Each year in Australia around 5,800 people are hospitalised as a result of a burn or scald. Almost 90% of hot tap water scalds requiring admission to hospital occur in the home and over 90% are sustained in the bathroom, primarily as a result of immersion in baths containing water heated to unsafe temperatures. Hot tap water scalds have been shown to be particularly amenable to prevention by reducing the temperature of water delivery from hot taps.
Hot tap water scalds are important as they can involve a greater body surface area than other scalds and some evidence suggests that there is a higher mortality rate for hot tap water scalds than other scalds. Hot tap water scalds account for approximately 10% of burns resulting in hospitalisation among children aged 0 - 4yrs, and 7% of all burns resulting in hospitalisation.
The higher the water temperature the shorter the exposure time required to produce a full thickness scald. At 70°C a full thickness scald will occur in less than one second, at 60°C in around five seconds and at 50°C, five minute exposure is required to produce a full thickness scald. Hot tap water scalds have been shown to be particularly amenable to prevention by reducing the temperature of water delivery from hot taps. Most domestic storage hot water systems in Australia are installed to store water at or above temperatures of 65°C. Under the Australian Standard AS/NZS 3500.4, heated water must be stored at a minimum temperature of 60°C, to inhibit the growth of Legionella bacteria which is where the Tempering Valve comes into play as it acts as a safety device that protects people from extreme heat being produced by your hot water tank that can cause sever burns in a few seconds, uniquely designed to safe guard the young and the elderly.
Whether you’re a Landlord, Real Estate Agent or a Homeowner, you’re taking responsibility in your duty of care for people in your property who may use hot water by ensuring there is a 0% chance that they end up with 3rd-degree burns.
Clause 1.9.2, of AS/NZS 3500.4 stipulates that, all new heated water installations shall, at the outlet of all sanitary fixtures used primarily for personal hygiene purposes, deliver heated water not exceeding:
- 43.5°C for childhood centers, primary and secondary schools and nursing homes or similar facilities for the young, aged, sick or people with disabilities; and
- 50°C in all other buildings.
Three methods of achieving temperature control are considered to comply with the standard:
- the use of a thermostatic mixing valve (TMV) complying to AS 4032.1 and adjusted to an outlet temperature not exceeding 50°C;
- a tempering valve complying with AS 4032.2 and adjusted to an outlet temperature not exceeding 50°C; and
- a gas water heater that restricts the delivery temperature to 50°C and marked with “this appliance delivers water not exceeding 50°C in accordance with AS 3498”.
Recent evidence suggests that following the introduction of hot tap water temperature regulations in NSW in 1999, the rate of hospitalisations for hot tap water scalds has decreased by an average of 6% per year.
If you want to know more on how you can protect your family, friends and tenants call the Sydney Hot Water Specialists - Hot Water Nurse on 02 9622 3036 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.