hot water tempering valve issues

4 Signs Your Hot Water Tempering Valve Is Failing

It would be a brave soul to argue against the efficacy and importance of the humble hot water tempering valve. No idea what it is, what it's for, and why the Queensland government cares so much that it's written legislation about it? Read on:

In just about every case, the government requires that hot water systems installed in the Gold Coast and beyond are completed with a temperature control device - which, in practical terms, is a hot water tempering valve. The way it works is simple and yet ingenious: it mixes the hot water with cold water to produce water that won't scald you, your kids and other vulnerable people.

Consider this:

  • Water is stored in your system at 60 degrees C to prevent Legionella and other harmful bacteria.
  • But this water will cause third-degree burns after just 1 second of exposure, especially for children with slower reflexes and thinner skin.
  • Reducing the temperature to 45 degrees C with an appropriate tempering valve adjustment ramps up the third-degree burning time to a super-safe SIX HOURS!

In a nutshell, that's the heart and soul of Queensland's tempering valve legislation - preventing crippling, scarring and agonising hot water injuries. For indoor installations, especially for high-rise living in the Gold Coast, hot water systems are also:

  • Mounted in a safe tray to collect any steaming-hot leaky water or safeguard against major system failures
  • Completed with a 'Mildred' valve, which is a special leak protection device that instantly shuts off the water supply if it detects a leak.

But even with all that legislation in place, the Queensland Building and Construction Commission reports that scalding injuries in bathrooms and showers continue to occur, highlighting the need to urgently detect and address faulty hot water tempering valves.

The legislation requires those charged with installing hot water systems Gold Coast wide and across Queensland to ensure that a tempering valve is fitted for:

  • First-time installations
  • Like-for-like replacements
  • Like-for-different replacements
  • System alterations (ie. for renovations).

However, the responsibility is on the homeowner's shoulders to watch out for the most common signs that they may be dealing with a faulty tempering valve:

1. The water's gone cold

Although we're concerned about scalding-hot water, a major sign of valve failure or problems could actually be a stone-cold shower or bath. If a failing hot water tempering valve is the culprit, the next stream of water could be the dangerous one.

2. The water pressure is down

Another thing you do not want to experience is low hot water pressure. Over time, and especially if your system is 5+ years old, hot water tempering valves can get clogged with mineral deposits and other water 'gunk' and contaminants. These relatively inexpensive valves also suffer from wear and corrosion, so a regular inspection is a very good idea. Plus servicing your tempering valve and your system, in general, can prolong the lifespan of your hot water system.

3. The hot tap is dripping

If your hot water tap is completely turned off and warm water is still dripping out, it might not be the washer - it could be the tempering valve. This crucial component features a ball-type mechanism that can become unseated and ultimately completely dislodged.

4. The temperature fluctuates

As your tempering valve ages, the accuracy of the detection and control of water temperature can suffer - especially if the hot water system isn't a modern one. But while newer valves are better protected with temperature-balancing features, a clear sign that something's amiss is when your warm shower suddenly gives you a blast of really hot water, then it goes a bit cold, then it returns to normal.

Ask In Deep Plumbing to check your hot water

Noticed any of those signs of a failing tempering valve? If so, it's definitely time to get the full and safe functionality of your hot water system checked - and In Deep Plumbing will be more than happy to assist! We're the Gold Coast plumbing specialists in testing, repairing, replacing and installing hot water tempering valves, so get in touch today for a speedy response.