When it comes to your hot water, it is important to ensure you consider the dangers that can occur, especially when it comes to the safety of children and elderly members of your family. It only takes half of a second for 70°C hot water to give a child third-degree burns. Installing a tempering valve will mix cold water into your hot water to prevent the water from getting too hot and burning any vulnerable family members. It has become an Australian regulation to have your hot water outlets fitted with a tempering valve that prevents water reaching above 50°C.

How does the tempering valve work?

  • They work as a three-way mixing valve, one valve allows the hot water in, another supplies the cold water and then the last valve acts as the exit for the water. In the process of letting out the water, the temperature is adjusted.
  • There is also a thermostat system inside the valve which notices any changes in the water temperature and will act in response to the temperature change.
  • The final element of the temperature valve is the piston, which will mix the cold water with the hot water when it reaches 50°C.

What happens when a tempering valve fails?

Your tempering valve is like any other fixture – over time they will deteriorate. Tempering valves should be replaced every 5 years to avoid failure. When a tempering valve fails, it will increase the risk of family members getting burnt. As water temperature increases, the contact time required to receive a third-degree burn decrease:

  • 70°C – 1 second for an adult, 0.5 seconds for a child
  • 60°C – 5 seconds for an adult, 1 second for a child
  • 55°C – 30 seconds for an adult, 7 seconds for a child
  • Less than 50°C – approximately 5 minutes for adults and children

It is important to be aware of any signs of faulty or failing temperature valves, as it can be extremely dangerous if your valve begins to fail.

The main warning signs of a faulty valve that you should look out for:

  1. Fluctuating temperature: Generally, when your temperature valve begins to age, the water temperature will be less accurate, acting as a clear sign that your hot water valve may be acting up.
  2. Hot water tap is leaking or dripping: if warm water drips out of the tap when the water is turned off, it may be linked to the temperature valve failing and will require fixing.
  3. Low water pressure: After a few years, your tempering valves will experience a natural buildup of minerals that may begin the erode, which is why it is important to service your system regularly (recommended every 5 years).
  4. Water goes cold: When you experience drops in water temperature, it may indicate that your tempering valve is beginning to fail and needs to be replaced

Recommended Hot Water Maintenance Schedule

  • Check the temperature output from the tempering valve every 6 months. All tempering valves should be set at 50°C to prevent scalding. Replace the tempering valve every 5 years.
  • Replace the temperature/pressure-relief valve every 5 years to prevent rupturing of the tank.
  • Replace the sacrificial anode every 5 years to prevent internal corroding of the tank.

Hot water tempering valves are extremely detrimental and play an important role in any hot water system within your home, being a major part of protecting family members such as the young and elderly.

It is important to have your hot water system serviced every 5 years to ensure all valves are working correctly and ensure the safety of your family.

If your hot water is 5 years or older, book a hot water inspection by one of our dedicated Hot Water System experts, at the all-inclusive price of only $258.00.