Topics

Abbreviations

PLV

PLV stands for Pressure Limiting Valve. It reduces the water pressure that comes through the pipes.

ECV

ECV stands for Expansion Control Valve. This is otherwise known as Pressure Limiting Valve.

kPA

kPA stands for kiloPascal. It is a unit for measuring pressure. 1 kPa is approximately the pressure exerted by a 10-g mass resting on a 1-cm2 area. 

kW

kW stands for kilowatt which is a unit for measuring power. 

MJ/h or MJ/hr

 
MJ/h stands for Megajoules per hour. It is the unit used for ratings on hot water heater appliance, indicating the gas consumption, not the heat output.

L/min

L/min stands for Litres per minute. This is usually the unit used for measuring the delivery capacity for instant gas water heaters.

Water Pressure

What is water pressure?

Water pressure is the flow strength of water within your water pipes. It can be measured in the imperial measure of PSI (pounds per square inch) or the more widely accepted metric measure of kPa (Kilopascals). If you think about a balloon, how much air (pressure) should you put in it? If you don’t blow enough air in your pressure will be too low and the balloon will be limp, but if you blow too much air in then the pressure is too high and–POP! Similarly, if the water pressure in your pipes is too low then you aren’t going to be getting the best performance from your shower, taps, toilets–basically anything connected to your taps. Worse though is if your water pressure is too high–because then you run the risk of something going POP! And you don’t want that to happen in your home.

How do I get Water Pressure Test on my place

Call the Plumbing and Electrical Doctor today on 131091 for a free water inspection in your home.

What causes water pressure?

The most common source of high water pressure is from the water supply. The water company sets the pressure to meet their own needs, such as delivering to fire hydrants, higher volume of residences, high elevation buildings, and other reasons. This water pressure is oft en well over 800kPa, and too often over 1000 kPa. However, the maximum recommended pressure for a residence is 500 kPa which is a requirement to meet the Australian Standards AS/NZS 3500 2003. This recommendation is also what manufacturers set as the maximum pressure to meet warranty requirements.

I would like to change the pressure from my shower, what impact will this change have?

500 kPa should be more than enough to run your home, and you are unlikely to see any impact on the performance of your shower. Even if you were to run two showers at the same time, the change should be barely noticeable.

What happens if I don't do anything to limit my water pressure?

In a best case scenario–nothing. But even if nothing does happen, if an appliance connected to your water supply should stop working then the manufacturer may void the warranty if the water pressure is too high. In the worst case scenario, you may end up with a burst pipe and a flooded home.

I have a PLV installed already, but I am seeing symptoms of high water pressure. Why is this happening?

Unfortunately, PLV’s – like any mechanical device – don’t last forever. If think you are experiencing symptoms of high water pressure and you already have a PLV, it’s worth having us test your water pressure, to see if the PLV is operating properly.

What if my water pressure is too low?

All new houses and renovations must use a Pressure Limiting Valve which controls the water pressure on your property. When these devices get older they become less efficient and can have a negative impact on the pressure in your home. These valves can be changed easily by a qualified plumber.

Hot Water Systems

What is the cheapest hot water heater to run?

Different solutions suit different situations. Things like roof space, energy tariffs and access to natural gas can all have an impact on which type of systems is going to deliver you the best results. 

If you have natural gas available on your property then gas boosted solar, 5 Star gas storage or continuous flow may be the best choice. If not, then perhaps an electric boosted solar heater or a Heat Pump might be the answer. To get the right advice from professional tradespeople give us a call. We will inspect your property, give you a list of options and tell you an upfront price before any work begins.

If my existing hot water system is inside my home can I replace it with gas, solar or heat pump?

Yes, all of these options are possible:

  1.  Indoor gas water heaters are available but they require an available gas supply and flue through an external wall.
  2. A solar tank can be placed indoors, but if it’s gas boosted it will need a gas supply and flue through an external wall.
  3. Split heat pump systems – that allow the tank to be installed indoors and the heating unit outdoors – are also an option.

What are the requirements for Solar Hot Water?

For the most effective solar hot water solution you need the following:

  1. Enough roof space – The average home needs about 2m x 2m of clear roof space to take 2 collectors which are around 2m tall x 1 m wide. You will also need some clearance space on your roof and some ground space for the ground-mounted hot water storage tank. If you decide to use a roof-mounted tank then you will need additional roof space depending on the size of the system. 
  2. A north-facing roof area – north facing rooves are exposed to the most sunlight. The more sunlight your system gets the more effective it will be. If you’re not sure, use a compass or check your property plans to see which direction the roof faces.
  3. A shade-free roof – the roof area where the solar collectors are going to be fitted needs to be shade-free. Consider what trees are planted on your property or neighbouring properties. If they are going to grow large enough to cast a shadow on your roof then your system may be less effective. Also, consider building developments which may cast shadows on your property. 
  4. Climate can also impact a solar heater. Extremely cold or hot temperatures will need units that need a product designed to suit the climate.

Our qualified plumbers can help you make sure you have the right set-up. If your house doesn’t suit solar, a Heat Pump is a great alternative and they can also attract solar rebates and incentives.

What is the difference between a Heat Pump unit and a Solar unit?

Heat Pumps don’t need solar collectors to extract energy. Instead, they use the warmth in the air to extract and intensify the warmth that is naturally around us. They then use that warmth to produce hot water.  Traditional solar water heaters use roof-mounted collectors to collect energy from the sun to heat the water.  Both solar heaters and Heat Pumps attract government incentives.

How much can solar hot water save me?

How much you save depends on your existing system. If your old system is an electric water heater then you are likely to save more. Your current energy tariffs and how your new solar system is installed may also have an impact. The biggest savings on hot water bills are seen when replacing an electric water heater on a continuous tariff.

It is also important to know that solar water heaters can reduce greenhouse emissions by up to 65% depending on where you live, according to Australian Government approved modelling.

Can I switch to Gas Hot Water using existing gas pipes?

It depends on the size of the existing pipes and the type of system that you want to install. Some gas storage systems can be fitted to existing piping, but continuous flow systems require larger diameter pipes from the gas meter. Our qualified plumbers are also gas fitters. They can inspect your home and give you the right advice for a system for your home. 

Can I switch to Gas Hot Water if I don’t have existing pipes?

If you have gas piping in your street, your home can be connected to natural gas. Our plumbers are also gas fitters and can provide you with the right advice for your home. If gas is not available, you can install a propane (also known as LPG) gas water heater, which can be run from refillable gas bottles.

What are the best options for gas hot water?

t depends on how much hot water you use and when you use it. There are two types of gas hot water heaters:

  1. Continuous Flow – wall-mounted and compact these heat water as you use it so you should never run out of hot water. 
  2. Gas Storage – these heat the water and stores it ready for use supplying it at mains pressure. This means you can run several taps or showers at once without loss of pressure.

What Valves are required when installing a water heater?

When installing a water heater there are three main valves required to be installed on all new installs. 

  1. The first valve is called a tempering valve. This valve regulates the temperature of the water that comes out of your taps and maintains it at no greater than 50 Deg C.
  2. The second valve is a Pressure limiting valve, this valve limits the water pressure going into your water heater to no greater than 500KPA, this protects the water heater and the pipework and valves associated with this heater.
  3. The third is the duo valve.  This is a dual purpose valve that isolates the water to your water heater and prevents any backflow from going from your water heater. 

These three valves are essential when installing your water heater.

Would my hot water system need servicing and if so how often?

The short answer is yes, regularly. Your Hot water system is the most hardworking mechanical device in your house. It is heating water, expanding and contracting, building and releasing pressure day in and day out.  It’s the quiet achiever that provides us with one of the most wonderful luxuries of our time.

It is often the most neglected and overlooked part of our houses. Modern water heaters have a life expectancy of between 7-10 years. Do you know how old yours is?

Manufacturers and the trade recommend that your water heater be serviced every 5 years, this will ensure that your water heater lasts as long as possible and continues providing you with piping hot water this winter and for many more to come. Some units may require annual or bi-annual maintenance, some of which can be carried out by the property owner. Check the owner’s manual for advice and if you are still unsure check with the manufacturer or your local plumber.

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