ISSUE 3 - april/may 2013

cover contents feature

• Solar perplexes (part 2)


• New Pex shut off tool

• Toilet for the man cave

• Want a quickie?


Hot water delivery

Work safety chart


• Getting found in Google


• 125 years in the game!


What we've been up to...


• This month's joke...

• Cartoon




Solar Perplexes - part 2

As we promised in our last edition, we are going to take a closer look at Hot Water policy around Australia.

As many of you would know, legislation keeps changing as all levels of government try to balance energy savings with systems that are consumer friendly.


Compiling this information wasn't easy!

But we hope it gives you a clearer picture of policies relating to hot water units.


We'll move from state to state to make it as easy as possible for you, as a plumber, manufacturer or consumer to understand what is legally allowed in your state and what requirements need to be adhered to.



We spoke with the Division of Resources and Energy, Department of Trade & Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services NSW and this is what we were told.

In November 2012, the NSW Government announced it wouldn't be implementing the mandatory phase out of electric hot water systems in existing homes.
However for new detached, terrace or town houses, standards for hot water installations will continue under the NSW BASIX - Building Sustainability Index system:

So what about renewable energy?

The NSW Government says that households across Australia that install a small-scale solar (photovoltaic—PV), wind turbine or hydro renewable energy system, or a solar or heat pump hot water system, may be eligible for a benefit under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme.

If you would like more information go to:
For more information on hot water heaters go to:


Victoria - what a can of worms!

We spent hours going through the websites given to us by the relevant Government department - Office of Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship
Minister for Energy and Resources. What a portfolio!


We've tried to make sense of the vast amount of information but are still as confused as ever.

Below is the reply we received for the Department. Make of it what you will!


The Victorian Government offers incentives for consumers to install energy efficient hot water systems under the Energy Saver Incentive program. The size of the discounts available will vary depending on the type of system and the provider.
More details can be found here:



Details of the legislation and regulations in relation to the ESI scheme can be found here:


A number of rebates are also provided by the Victorian Government through Sustainability Victoria. However, it should be noted that two rebates for solar and gas hot water systems will soon be coming to a close. To be eligible for these rebates, you must buy an eligible replacement solar hot water system from an approved supplier by May 31, 2013.
Further details are available here:


Sustainability Victoria's website also provides additional information for consumers considering new or replacement hot water systems, including a helpful guide.
The Guide is available here:


All hot water systems are subject to energy efficiency ratings under the Federal Government's MEPS (Minimum Energy Performance Standards) scheme.
Further information is available here:



The Plumbing Industry Commission (available by telephone on 1800 015 129) can also provide details around the certification of works relevant to the installation of new systems.

Further information is available here:



Please attribute the following to a spokesperson for the Department of Housing and Public Works


Solar hot water systems

From 1 February the Queensland Government repealed laws mandating rainwater tanks and energy efficient hot water systems for new buildings.

Previously, the Queensland Plumbing and Wastewater Code and the Queensland Development Code (MP4.1 – Sustainable buildings) mandated the installation of solar, heat pump or gas hot water systems in new houses and in existing houses located in gas reticulation areas when replacing an existing hot water system.

Home owners can now install a hot water system that best suits their budgets and lifestyles.

The proposed national phase-out of electric hot water systems for existing homes will also be discontinued in Queensland.

The state government intends to investigate the potential to encourage the connection of electric hot water systems to ‘off-peak’ tariffs.

Notifiable Works

From 1 November 2012, licensees now performing plumbing and drainage work classified as ‘notifiable work’ must lodge a Form 4 to the Plumbing Industry Council within 10 business days of completing the work.

The installation or replacement of a hot water heater can be performed under the notifiable work system.

Further information on legislative changes is available at:
• Queensland Plumbing and Wastewater Code
• Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002

Queensland law governing plumbing and drainage, the licensing of plumbers and drainers, on-site sewerage facilities, and other matters
• Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2003
Details the types of plumbing and drainage licences and the type of work a licensed person can do.
• Standard Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2003
Details specific laws to ensure plumbing and drainage work is compliant.


The information and requirements relating to hot water systems in SA is a lot clearer and easier to understand.


In South Australia most homes replacing or installing a new water heater need to install an energy efficient system such as solar, electric heat pump or high efficiency gas.

There are some situations where conventional electric water heaters can be installed.

Information on these rules specific for plumbers can be found on


Or for more information plumbers can call 1300 883 019 during business hours.

Below is a summary of the information we found by clicking on the above link.

Water heater requirements - information for plumbers

If you are a plumber licensed to install water heaters in South Australia you will need to ensure all new or replacement residential water heater installations comply with the state’s residential water heater requirements and water flow rate requirements.

Residential water heaters in South Australia are required to comply with greenhouse gas emissions and water use reduction standards implemented as a SA Water direction.

For new homes the requirements are implemented under the Building Code of Australia. Check with the builder, local council or the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure’s building policy services for more information.


Determining which water heater can be installed

The simplest way to determine which water heater can be installed is to answer the questions in the quick online step-by-step guide. In most homes, a water heater that meets the full standard will need to be installed. For other homes, a water heater that meets the reduced standard can be installed. A small number of water heater installations are exempt from the requirements.


There is also a printable plumber's guide to installing domestic water heaters (PDF 219KB) which provides further information about water heater and water flow rate requirements.

To have a printed copy posted to you phone the plumber's information line on
1300 883 019.


Electric heat pump noise

If you are installing an electric heat pump water heater you need to consider the noise impact on neighbouring properties as defined in the Environment Protection (Noise) Policy 2007. See Electric heat pump noise.


In WA the Solar Water Heater Subsidy (SWHS) Scheme offers rebates to householders who install family-sized, environmentally-friendly gas-boosted solar water heaters. However there is a deadline.

All applications to the SWHS Scheme must be received by the Public Utilities Office by 1 June 2013.

Applications received after 1 June 2013 will not be eligible for the subsidy – without exception.

For more information go to:

Below is the information we received from the WA Building Commission.

Requirements in terms of the types of units that can be installed in new homes (class 1 and 10a) are outlined in Part of the National Construction Code 2013: Volume 2.

There are no specific requirements in regards to other classes of building or replacements, maintenance work, etc. in WA.


In addition to the types of units that can be installed, there are also:

• insulation requirements, Section 8 of the AS/NZS 3500.4:2003; and

• WA Variation (WA 2.3.3 – Hot water use efficiency) of the NCC – Volume 2 stating that ‘the pipe from the hot water system or re-circulating hot water system to the furthest hot water outlet must not be more than 20 m in length or 2 litres of internal volume’.


The WA Government has issued a number of technical notes in relation to the installation of hot water systems in recent times in order to clarify issues it has become aware of in WA. These technical notes relate to termination of drain lines, lagging of pipes, securing of heaters, plastic pipes to solar water heaters, thermal insulation, heat traps and water temperature. All technical notes are available at:




From 31 January 2010, certain water heaters must comply with minimum greenhouse
intensity and/or energy efficiency standards.

Certain solar, heat pump and gas storage and gas instantaneous water heaters can be installed in a hot water system.

Electric resistance water heaters are no longer permitted.

However, an electric-boosted heat pump or solar water heater can be installed if it meets the minimum standard.


Criteria for compliance of solar and heat pump water heaters is based on the number of bedrooms in the dwelling and the number of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECS) the water heater is eligible for in the relevant climate zone.


The standard for gas storage and gas instantaneous systems is the same for all dwellings.


A list of water heaters eligible for RECS and the number of RECS applicable to each
appliance in all climate zones is located at:

A full copy of the legislation is available at:


No specific rebates for energy efficient hot water systems exist for Tasmania.

All fall under Federal Government legislation.

This from their website:

According to its website, the Tasmanian government is supportive of Australian government schemes which provide incentives for investment both at the "micro" scale (for example for residential rooftop solar photovoltaic systems and solar hot water systems) and at the larger scale (such as for new developments like Musselroe Wind Farm).

For more information.


Northern Territory

In the Northern Territory there's the Solar Hot Water Retrofit Rebate program.

It's for pre-existing homes in the Northern Territory to compensate you to replace electric systems with solar hot water systems.

Residents may be eligible for a rebate of up to $1,000.

For more information click here:

To find out more about the Solar Hot Water Retrofit Rebate phone Power and Water on 1800 245 092.



Following are links to Federal policy:

To find out more information relevant to your state or territory you can use the contact details below.


Queensland - (07) 3239 6369 or free call 1800 534 972
South Australia (08) 8204 1888
New South Wales - 1300 361 967
Victoria - 136 186
Western Australia - (08) 6551 4765
Northern Territory - (08) 8999 5511 or 1800 244 763
Australian Capital Territory - 13 22 81


Please keep in mind that policy is subject to change - some states frequently!
So we encourage all plumbers to use the online resources listed above to keep up-to-date so that you and your customers can keep informed.



Do you think hot water policy should be standardised across Australia?

Post your comment below...



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