After a long day at work nothing could be more indulgent than a nice shower at the right temperature. So, have you ever wondered how hot shower water should be?
How Hot Should My Shower Water Be?
Each year in Australia, many small children and elderly or disabled people suffer scalds from hot water. The majority of these scalds occur in the bathroom, where the temperature of water from the shower or bath tap is too high.
- At 68 degrees, it can take as little as one second to cause a full thickness scald
- At 50 degrees, it takes five minutes
Although these aren’t a big difference in temperature, it can mean the difference between scarring for life, hospitalisation and skin grafts versus a minor injury. In some cases, severe scalding can even result in death.
In Australia, plumbing regulations and laws state a maximum temperature of 50 degrees for each shower, basin or bath outlet to the home. This temperature is hot enough to mix with cold water for a comfortable warm shower, but not hot enough to cause a serious or even fatal injury.
Note: The only exemption to this is if the building’s primary use is intended for children, the elderly or people with disabilities, EG: early learning centres, hospitals, nursing homes, schools, then the maximum hot water temperature is 45°C.
Bathing Water Temperatures
The water temperatures stated above are the temperatures that hot water should be delivered to your hot water tap outlet, these are not the temperature you should bathe in – you will need to mix cold water with hot water for baths and showers.
- The maximum bathing temperature for young children is 37°C to 38°C
- The average bathing temperature for an adult is 40°C to 45°C
How to Reduce the Risk of Scalds and Burns in the Bathroom
- Always run the cold water first
- Never leave your child alone in the bathroom
- Never leave a small child in the care of an older child, who may be able to turn on the hot water tap
- Keep the bathroom door & shower closed when not in use
What if your Hot Water is Above these Temperatures?
A storage hot water system is required to store hot water above 60°C to prevent bacteria growth - such as Legionella. So, the installation of a Tempering Valve or a Thermostatic Mixing Valve to your hot water system is required to lower the hot water temperature at the shower, bath and basin taps. See our blog ‘Is a Tempering Valve Important on My Hot Water System?’ to learn more.
Talk to a Licensed Melbourne Plumber
For the safety of yourself and your family, it’s best to seek advice from a licensed hot water plumber who will advise you on the best method in reducing your hot water temperature. Here are some of the options they will provide:
- Installing a tempering valve at the hot water service, which will affect the hot water temperature at the kitchen sink
- Installing a tempering valve, which reduces the hot water temperature in the bathroom, but does not affect the temperature at the kitchen sink
- Installing a thermostatic mixing valve that can be set to deliver hot water at a precise and safe temperature
- Installing a continuous flow hot water system pre-set to 50°C, delivering continuous hot water at a safe pre-set temperature
The Victorian Building Authority recommends the following if someone is scalded by hot water:
- Remove clothing quickly - this helps the heat escape from the skin, but leave the clothes on if they are stuck to the skin
- Immediately hold the burn under cold running water for 20 minutes only - this will stop further burning. It also helps to relieve the pain.
- Never use oil, butter or ointment, as these can further damage the skin
- Cover the scald with a loose, non-stick dressing - e.g. a dressing from a first aid kit, cling film or a clean cloth and keep the person warm.
- See a doctor if the scald is larger than 3 cm, has blisters or is on the hands, face or genital area