Instantaneous Gas Hot Water Installation Regulations NSW
If you’re in the market looking to install or upgrade a new water heater, then it would be helpful to understand some of the hot water system installation regulations before going ahead with the change.
Most of these regulations have been put into place by the government to improve homes’ energy and water efficiency while lowering greenhouse gas emissions. It is important to use the services of a fully licensed plumber who specialises in hot water systems and is adequately trained to perform the installation safely.
We’ve compiled this guide to help you understand the regulations regarding installing hot water systems and why the regulations have been put into place.
What Is the MEPS Energy Star Rating?
In Australia, most large electrical appliances come with energy efficiency labels. These are governed according to MEPS: Minimum Energy Performance Standards.
Appliances such as ovens, refrigerators, microwaves, and dishwashers must have a MEPS label with a star rating. These labels are specifically designed to easily indicate the overall efficiency of an appliance, so people don’t have to rely on manufacturer claims or come up with their own conclusions.
A maximum of ten stars can be awarded on MEPS labels. Hot water systems require at least a six-star rating to be seen as efficient.
The star system and labelling scheme is an easy way to figure out how energy efficient different appliances are when comparing different makes of the same kind.
The hot water systems required to meet MEPS at this point are:
- electric storage water heaters,
- gas storage water heaters, and
gas instantaneous water heaters.
What Is the WaterMark Certification Scheme?
Plumbing and drainage products such as hot water systems require mandatory WaterMark Scheme certification, administered by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB).
The certification indicates that the plumbing product meets the high quality and safety regulations.
What Are the NSW BASIX Regulations on Sustainability?
BASIX, or the Building Sustainability Index, is a scheme mandating water, energy and thermal comfort efficiency measures in any development application process in NSW. Therefore, it applies to any new development or alterations and additions for all residential dwelling types.
Hot water heating is one of the highest producers of greenhouse gas emissions for the average household in NSW. Consequently, it plays an important part in determining the BASIX energy score. The scores are based on how efficient the proposed hot water system is and the intensity of its greenhouse gas emission.
According to BASIX, the most efficient hot water system with the highest score is solar. Solar systems with a large number of Small-Scale Technology Certificates (STCs) will give the optimal BASIX score. Gas boosted units usually score higher than electric boosted units.
The second-highest score is from high-efficiency gas (instantaneous or storage) or an electric (air or ground source) heat pump hot water system. The higher the gas star rating is, the better the BASIX score.
Electric hot water systems tend to score very poorly because they consume a lot of electricity and are therefore inefficient, and are also particularly greenhouse-gas intensive.
If you are installing an electric hot water system in your New Dwelling BASIX project, you usually need to include an onsite solar photovoltaic system to reach the BASIX Energy target.
On the other hand, a new or existing onsite solar photovoltaic system must be installed in an Alterations and Additions BASIX project using an electric hot water system. This is needed to offset most, if not all, of the electricity used by the new electric hot water system.
What Are the Temperature and Installation Requirements of Hot Water Systems?
The temperature of the water storage tank must be higher than 60-degrees. This creates an environment too hot for bacteria causing Legionnaires’ Disease to grow in.
Tap installation must be restricted to a maximum outlet temperature of 50-degrees to avoid scalding.
This is ensured by a tempering valve which must be fitted to all new and replacement hot water systems. A tempering valve is usually a blue, green, orange or black plastic cap that is part of the piping.
What Are the Water Flow Rate Requirements?
When you’re installing a new or replacement water heater, the shower outlets connected to it must have a maximum flow rate of nine litres per minute.
You can ensure this by installing water-efficient showerheads or flow restrictors. These should have a three-star rating, at least.
Most of the new water heater types should be compatible with water-efficient showerheads but check with the manufacturer to be sure.
The exception to the water flow rate requirements is gravity-fed water heaters, as they meet the water flow rate requirements right off the bat.
How Should Hot Water Heaters Be Secured and Supported?
Any soil present under a platform or base must be compacted to prevent soil erosion and to lower the chance of bracket and fixing problems when installing storage water heaters.
To assist the soil in settling, the water heater must be filled up before securing it to the wall.
Brackets and fixings used must be appropriate to withstand the weight of the water heater when it’s full.
Subsequently, hot water heaters should be installed as per the manufacturers’ specifications.
What Are the Regulations Regarding an Electric Hot Water System?
All states and territories in Australia except Tasmania are phasing out electric hot water systems that are greenhouse intensive.
Reducing energy consumption from electric hot water systems will, in turn, help households save money on their electricity bills.
Greenhouse gas intensive hot water systems are not permitted to be installed in new buildings in Australia, except in The Northern Territory, Queensland and Tasmania.
Instead, the hot water system must be:
- a high-efficiency gas water heater,
- a solar water heater, or
- an electric heat pump water heater.
Why Choose Bayside Plumbing?
All our plumbers from Bayside Plumbing are registered and licensed to install hot water heaters. You can check on the licensing public register whether a plumber is licensed to do plumbing work.
We have 40+ years of combined experience and have done many hot water system replacements and installations during that time.
Our community-driven and compassionate team of plumbers will always advise whether you need a hot water system replacement or just a hot water system repair and what size hot water system will be best for your home.
We pride ourselves in being trustworthy, so after installing or replacing your water heater, we provide a Certificate of Compliance (COC) to you and the Office of the Technical Regulator.
We always keep up to date on the latest regulation updates, so you can rest assured that no matter what hot water system you require us to work on, it will comply with regulations.
When buying a new hot water system, make sure it has a six or more star rating with the Government’s MEPS scheme and that it has WaterMark certification.
Make sure you employ a registered plumber who’s licensed to work with hot water heater systems. They will ensure your unit has the required:
- temperature settings,
- water flow rate, and
- secured support.
Electric hot water systems are being phased out, so it’s advisable to buy an electric heat pump, a gas water heater, or opt to move over to solar hot water systems.
We can provide advice on all plumbing products and answer any hot water system questions you might have. Contact us at Bayside Plumbing today, and we can provide a free maintenance or installation quote.
For more insightful breakdowns & practical plumbing tips, see our plumbing blog. We tackle other common plumbing questions & topics like whether you can claim plumbing repairs on insurance, hot water system installation costs & more!