On Tuesday 30 April, The Courier-Mail reported that a woman had received facial burns after a hot water system reportedly exploded at a residential home in Queensland’s south.
As the peak plumbing industry body, Master Plumbers’ Association of Queensland (MPAQ) have taken this timely opportunity to warn people of water heater dangers and the importance of not performing plumbing work unless you are a licensed person.
Water heaters can be found in every home in Australia; the majority of these would likely be of the storage variety, and the majority of these would be “mains pressure”, which incorporate various pressure relief valves to mitigate excessive pressures in the system.
As cold water is heated it expands creating pressure in the system. Pressure and temperature relief valves and cold water expansion valves relieve excess pressure by releasing small quantities of water as pressure builds in the system due to the heating process.
Unintentional or deliberate disabling of these valves removes the ability for the system to expel excess pressure, basically turning your household water heater into a bomb with massive destructive potential.
Home owners are urged not to attempt to perform their own plumbing. MPAQ President, Kent Vickers, said “Plumbers undertake a four year apprenticeship as a minimum prior to being able to perform this work.”
“While not only being illegal, it can be extremely dangerous to perform plumbing, drainage or gas work without holding the appropriate licenses and knowledge,” he said.
Storage water heaters are required to store water at a minimum of 60°C in order to inhibit bacteria growth. Australian Standards require that the water delivery temperature in areas primarily for personal hygiene has to be tempered to 45°C for the aged, the sick, children, or people with disabilities in healthcare and aged care buildings, as well as early childhood centres, primary and secondary schools, and nursing homes or similar facilities. The Standards also require the water to be tempered to 50°C at the outlet of sanitary fixtures used primarily for personal hygiene purposes for all other situations.
Effective plumbing services are critical for maintaining and enhancing community health, as well as protecting the environment
Home owners needing assistance in finding a licensed plumber in their area can contact MPAQ for assistance on 07 3273 0800 or visit www.findmymasterplumber.com.au.
Further information for the full story from The Courier Mail.