Which are the best hot water temperature settings?

When water is being stored in hot water systems , the Plumbing Code of Australia sets rules and regulations around its storage, including its temperature. All systems, including electric, solar, gas and heat pump systems, all must be regulated at a temperature of at least 60°C to stop the growth of bacteria, such as Legionella, which can cause harm to humans.

What is Legionella?

Legionella is a bacterium that can cause Legionnaires disease, which is a severe form of pneumonia. It is formed in damp or wet environments and is not transferred from person to person – it spreads through the mist, such as from air-conditioning units. It is a particularly dangerous illness for people over 50, people with chronic illness, those who smoke, and those with weakened immune systems.

So, what temperature should hot water be delivered at?

Although 60°C is the best temperature for hot water storage in hot water systems, if you had water coming out of your faucets at that temperature it would likely result in scalds. As such, it is recommended that a tempering valve is installed to ensure that the water that comes from the taps is at a much safer temperature of 50°C. A balmy 50°C means that the risk of harm from hot water is noticeably reduced, however, there are exceptions to this :

  • Early childhood centres and schools require a thermostatic mixing valve to set the hot water at no more than 45°C
  • Nursing homes or facilities which cater for the young, sick, aged, or disabled also require a thermostatic mixing valve to set the hot water at no more than 45°C
  • Areas of your home such as the laundry or kitchen may need hot water set at a higher temperature – such as 60°C – to efficiently operate some appliances like washing machines or dishwashers.

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Do I need a tempering valve installed?

In order to ensure that the hot water that is delivered in a home is at a temperature that complies with the Australian Standards (AS3500), a tempering valve is required to be installed in all hot water systems in Brisbane. A tempering valve is installed on the water pipe feeding areas of a home to regulate water temperature in personal hygiene areas of the home (like an ensuite). The Standards state that hot water must be regulated at a particular temperature to reduce scalding – 60°C is the accepted temperature for stored water and 50°C for water flowing from an outlet.

Important hot water points to remember

  • The water that is being kept in storage for your hot water system must be kept at a temperature of at least 60°C to avoid bacteria growth.
  • Ensure you have a tempering valve installed in your home so you can safely maintain the hot water temperature at all times.
  • For areas in your home that are used for personal hygiene, such as the bathroom, the temperature of the water coming out of the faucet should be no more than 50° Celsius to avoid harm such as scalds.

If you are unsure as to the hot water temperatures in your home, whether it be in your hot water system or your taps, give us a call on 1300 762 260 and we can arrange for one of our plumbers to come out and check the temperature and install a tempering valve today. Otherwise, contact us online and we can help you with anything to do with your hot water system!