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Your Tempering Valve Questions Answered

Your Tempering Valve Questions Answered

The tempering valve is essential for controlling the hot water temperature flowing from your taps and showerheads. Every hot water system is equipped with one.

It’s a small yet essential accessory that’s required under the Plumbing Code of Australia. So, there’s bound to be a tempering valve working behind the scenes every time you enjoy the wondrous warmth of hot water.

Many of us would consider hot water an essential service. And if you require any important hot water tempering valve services, call Mr Emergency today.

Meanwhile, never hurts to have a basic understanding of how a hot water system works and how a tempering valve affects the hot and cold water flowing through your pipes. Here are your frequently asked tempering valve questions answered:

What is a Tempering Valve?

The tempering valve is an essential component of every hot water system. It’s required for managing the temperature of the hot water flowing from your taps and showerheads.

The valve mixes hot water with cold to restrict the temperature of the water for safety and personal hygiene purposes. Tempering valves limit water temperature to a maximum of 50 degrees Celsius, which prevents scalding.

According to Better Health Victoria, it takes just one second for water at 60 degrees to cause third degree burns and ten seconds at 55 degrees. So, restricting the water temperature to 50 C is essential for keeping everyone, especially children, safe from the risk of scalding.

The hot water system does have a thermostat that can be set to a lower temperature. However, Australian regulations dictate that a minimum of 60 C is required for storage systems. This prevents the growth of Legionella bacteria within the tank. Legionnaire’s disease is an infection of the lungs caused by ingesting water contaminated with bacteria.

A storage tank must be set to 60 degrees Celsius to prevent bacteria, and the tempering valve then significantly reduces the chances of children and adults receiving third degree burns.

How Does a Tempering Valve Work?

Shaped like a capital T, piping hot water flows from the tank through one side of the valve, and cold water comes from a water supply on the other. Each tempering valve is equipped with a thermostatic element. This element is sensitive to temperature changes and contracts and expands accordingly. This motion affects a piston that opens and closes the inlets to reach the desired hot water temperature. In most cases, this is 50 C.

Most new hot water systems come with a tempering valve, and a professional plumber will connect it as part of the system installation. The valves come in different sizes and are colour coded for specific uses.

tempering valve

Blue Cap Tempering Valve – Used for standard household electric water heaters

Orange Cap Tempering Valve – Ideal for heat pump hot water systems and solar hot water systems

Green Cap Tempering Valve – Best suited for gas hot water systems

Black Cap Tempering Valve – Commonly used for large capacity systems or for public use.

Your plumber will be able to assist with the type of valve needed for your purpose. Valves are readily available at most sizable hardware and plumbing stores, but a professional plumber is required for the installation.

Tempering valve installation must be accompanied by paperwork submitted under the plumbing code along with the plumber’s licensing details.

Can Tempering Valves be Adjusted?

Tempering valves can be adjusted for temperature via the spindle located under the coloured cap. Many valves can be set between 45 C and 55 degrees Celsius. Adjustments should only be delivered by plumbers who will test the temperature of the tempered water, ensuring it’s set to 50 degrees Celsius or less to reduce the risk of burns.

How Long do Tempering Valves Last?

Tempering valves have an expected lifespan of 5 to 8 years. That’s around half the lifespan of the hot water system, so it’s likely that your valve will need to be replaced before the water heater.

Components submerged in water tend to degrade over time, and these valves are no exception. Water contains minerals that can build up in your pipes and fixtures over time. The build up can impact the performance of tempering valves reducing performance or reducing their lifespan.

This is the reason why a plumber suggests servicing your hot water system. A service involves flushing the hot water system and removing build up before it can impact the quality of your system and the attached components.

thermostatic mixing valve

What About the Thermostatic Mixing Valve (TMV)?

Like a tempering valve, the thermostatic mixing valve (TMV) combines hot and cold water but will deliver the tempered water faster and more accurately. This makes TMVs ideal for schools, nursing homes, aged care facilities, and even an office or business will benefit from upgrading to one of these heavy duty components.

Where standard tempering valves are accurate within 3 degrees, TMVs are accurate within 1 degree Celsius, making them enticing.

You can always choose to have one of these superior tempering solutions installed. However, they are more expensive than a regular tempering valve, and the additional benefits may not be fully realised within a household arrangement.

If your shower is running cold or the hot water fluctuates, it could be an issue with the tempering valve. Contact Mr Emergency for all plumbing services, and we can be at your home within 30 minutes*. We are also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for emergency valve replacement and all hot water system services.

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