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green energy fraud

By vivien johnson - 31 May 2010 18

We recently acquired a solar hot water service and found that from then on our water temperature is to be regulated to 50C max.

This means it is 40-44C at the tap- hopelessly ineffective for cleaning.

This nanny-state rule has been imposed on us secretively and will apply to everyone.

If your HWS is OK do not be conned into going solar.

All you will get is a hole in your bank account and be sentenced to lukewarm water for ever.

Vivien Johnson, Macarthur

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18 Responses to
green energy fraud
AG Canberra 5:13 pm 31 May 10

When we had our instant gas HWS installed the ACTEW shop informed us the NO new HWS system fitted in the ACT to a residence is permitted to go hotter than 50c. For the solar ones that means fiting the cool down system and for the others they come direct for the factory pre set at 50 max.

But yes – try cleaning a greasy BBQ plate with 50 deg water….

Pickle 4:33 pm 31 May 10

Some of these valves are adjustable. The following steps could give you 60 degree water.

1st Find the tempering valve – The tempering valve will have 2 pipes into it(a hot and cold usually from the top and bottom of tank) and one pipe out of it which is the “barely warm” hot water supply to the house. And a plastic cap.

2nd Pop the plastic cap off, and look for an adjusting screw. Mine has a triangular shaped screw head.

3rd Use something like a pair of pliers and turn the adjustment anticlockwise all the way.

4th Test the water temperature. If you made the water colder then turn it clockwise all the way.

5th Pop the plastic cap back on.

There are other more drastic options to get around the nanny on your hot water system, however Solar hot water can get really hot, my tank reaches 95 degrees Celsius, so the valve is not such a bad idea it just needs a minor adjustment to ease it out of the nanny state.

Gungahlin Al 4:33 pm 31 May 10

DeadlySchnauzer said :

A quick google of “dishwasher versus hand washing” will give you a bajillion articles on this. The general consensus is that if you are very very careful with your water usage and load sizes its possible to *match* a dish washer with hand washing, but its almost impossible to beat one, especially newer really efficient ones.

And if you have a F&P Dish Drawer unit, where 4 out of 5 times you only use half the dishwasher (one drawer) the water use is even less.

Holden Caulfield 4:26 pm 31 May 10

They didn’t do them fancy arsed 1.5 bowl sinks back in the 50s mate, haha.

DeadlySchnauzer 4:17 pm 31 May 10

I don’t know what kind of crazy sinks people have, but the standard 1.5 bowl sinks from most manufacturers are ~30L total capacity. If you fill that up 3/4 thats 22L. On top of that the load sizes people do for hand washing (generally after one or two meals) tend to be much smaller than a fully packed dish washer.

A quick google of “dishwasher versus hand washing” will give you a bajillion articles on this. The general consensus is that if you are very very careful with your water usage and load sizes its possible to *match* a dish washer with hand washing, but its almost impossible to beat one, especially newer really efficient ones.

Holden Caulfield 11:46 am 31 May 10

“But on water usage you are putting at least 30L of water in to your sink when washing dishes, while a dishwasher is at 10-15L per load depending on model.”

That’s funny. While I long for the day our renos actually start and then finish so we can get a dishawasher again, there’s no way we use 30L during dishwashing.

We have a single sink in our old 50s kitchen and we use a bucket for rinsing water. It has markings on it so I know that we use no more than 5L for rinsing. The sink itself would be lucky to have much more water. So even at a comfortable over estimation of 8l that still only makes a total of 13l.

Gungahlin Al 11:42 am 31 May 10

Yep – nothing to do with fraud. Just lazy plumbing that often causes an undeserved backlash against solar HWSs.

As others have said you are required to fit a tempering valve to prevent scalds in the bathrooms. But you aren’t required to have them on the laundry or kitchen. But plumbers take the easy way out of putting one straight on the HWS tank, and it therefore cools the supply to all hot water taps. And they never educate the purchaser as to the impacts. People then think their HWS is crap.

It costs a little more but you can get the tempering valves fitted for the bathroom supplies only. The plumber would get paid for the additional installation, but they seem to fail to learn from the kid at the McDonalds drive through that they can augment their business by adopting a “you want fries with that?” approach…

On the overall topic, in our home we have the scaldingly untempered hot water to the kitchen and laundry for when we need it, but apart from piping the tempered supply to the bathrooms, we also have a branch line taking that 50 degrees water to the dishwasher. Fisher and Paykel advised that the maximum incoming water temperature for their units is 60 degrees.

By doing this we are using free solar-heated water rather than leaving the dishwasher to heat cold water at full peak electricity rates. Some cycles require up to 70 degrees, so the washer only heats the difference. Big savings.

p1 11:06 am 31 May 10

But on water usage you are putting at least 30L of water in to your sink when washing dishes, while a dishwasher is at 10-15L per load depending on model.

really, I wouldn’t have thought my sinks hold the much water for a standard wash. And does your value for the dishwasher include all the saucepans and casserole dishes used to make a meal at the same time?

James-T-Kirk 11:00 am 31 May 10

Didn’t stop me… I had a Rinnai installed a couple of years ago – I love it.

When the installer put it in, the maximum temp that I could select was 50 degrees C.

The internet is your friend – a quick web search just after the installer left identified the 2 dip switches inside the unit that had to be changed to allow 75 degree water to be selected. Easy.

The bathroom controller is limited to 50 degrees, which is fine – it stops the kids from hurting themselves, but the kitchen controller can go to 75 degrees – great for dishes.

I have also had the pleasure of helping various friends fix theirs so that they too can enjoy water – just like we used to enjoy before the nanny state took over.

If you are interested – the following URLs may be of interest. – look at page 29 – look at page 30

Remember – your mileage may vary, this email does not contain information that has been identified by the State of California that has been identified to cause birth defects, no use serviceable components inside – refer servicing to qualified personnel only, contents may contain traces of nuts, egg, milk or other seeds as indicated in BOLD type.

USE YOUR OWN BRAIN – just like we used to do in the old days!

Woody Mann-Caruso 10:45 am 31 May 10

Oh, it’s not a secret. I picked up the government’s transmissions about this years ago after accidentally removing my al foil cap. (I needed to make space behind my ears to fit my NLP-shielding sunglasses.)

Our Rinnai instant gas unit (installed 2002) goes to 55oC – much too hot to put your hands in without rubber gloves, so we pretty much never go that high. 50oC is plenty hot enough for dishes, and 42oC is a very warm shower. It’s great to be able to set it at 38oC and know the kids aren’t going to burn themselves in the bath (and tht we’re not wasting energy heating water to 60oC just so we can dilute it with cold at the other end).

If you’re only getting 44oC at the tap, try insulating your pipes (if they’re exposed) or get a plumber to adjust your tempering valve.

DeadlySchnauzer 10:24 am 31 May 10

As posters have already said, this applies to *any* hot water system and is simply due to modern safety requirements. If you have ever had a kid burn themselves on an unregulated hot water output you will know why this law is in place.

Also just to spice things up a notch, why are you still washing dishes in a sink? Any decent modern dishwasher will use both less water and less energy than washing dishes by hand (admittedly the energy comparison is slightly murkier with solar where some amount of the heat is “free”).

But on water usage you are putting at least 30L of water in to your sink when washing dishes, while a dishwasher is at 10-15L per load depending on model.

Spectra 9:45 am 31 May 10

This has nothing to do with “green energy” or solar – and sure as hell meets no definition of “fraud” I’ve ever encountered, nor was it imposed “secretively”. As has already been suggested, you really should do your homework before posting ridiculously ill-informed posts like this – it just makes you look like a twit.

Odds are that the water in the system itself is a hell of a lot hotter than 50 degrees, and it’s simply run through a tempering valve – these are stupidly easy to adjust yourself (though I can’t comment on the legality of doing so), but for someone of your obvious intellectual prowess the use of a spanner may prove a bit too challenging (to say nothing of the danger of letting you near hot water).

(The hell with playing the ball and not the man – some posts are just asking for it).

pajs 9:32 am 31 May 10

Sounds like someone didn’t do their homework when buying their system and sorting out the install…

The national plumbing code 50 degree maximum is for water to be used for bathing purposes. It does not require you to limit water at end uses such as kitchen sinks to 50 degrees. If you needed hotter water at those points, your installer could have used either a tempering valve or a thermostatic mixing valve to provide you with the hotter water you would like to have for cleaning.

And the case for limiting temperatures of bathing water to 50 degrees? Scalds are a serious cause of injury, especially for kids and the elderly. You can get a full thickness scald at 60 degrees in under 5 seconds. You don’t want full thickness scalds.

In summary, the 50 degree limit is not specific to solar hot water, nor is it for all end use (bathing is the focus), nor was it imposed on us secretively (years of consultation to get the standard sorted and then ratified by the states), nor is solar hot water a guarantee of lukewarm water forever (can easily deliver 70-80 degree temps). Other than that, you are completely correct in your post.

For more, try

georgesgenitals 9:29 am 31 May 10

We’ve had a Rinnai Infinity instant hot water system for 8 years now, which also has a maximum of 50 degrees output. When cleaning something manky, I simply add some boiling water from the kettle. The vast majority of our hot water usage is for showers (we wash clothes in cold water and the dishwasher heats its own), and the massively lower costs of running the instant system easily outweigh the inconvenience of boiling the kettle occasionally.

smeeagain 9:19 am 31 May 10

It’s not just solar HW that have the limiters on. If you have a quiet word to the installer, you might just find that they are happy to over ride them

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