Hot water system regulations

Energy efficiency ratings

The regulations for hot water systems are in a state of change at the moment due to a federal phase out of electric hot water systems. The phase out will be carried out in two stages, one starting in 2010 and the other in 2012. Electric hot water systems will no longer be able to be installed once the second stage begins.

MEPS logos  
MEPS energy star ratings allow you to see how efficient a particular hot water system is compared to other systems using the same type of fuel.

All hot water systems are subject to energy efficiency ratings under the government’s MEPS scheme. The star rating systems make comparing the efficiency of water heaters of the same fuel type very easy. As a rule of thumb, the more stars there are, the more efficient the system is at doing what it’s supposed to. For solar hot water systems, the star rating applies specifically to the booster.

WaterMark logos  
WaterMark logos are either etched or printed on compliant products.


WaterMark certification

There is also a certification mark called the ‘WaterMark’, which now appears more frequently on plumbing products in Australia. This mark is owned by Standards Australia, and is used on water supply, sewerage, plumbing and drainage products to signify that they comply with the relevant regulations, and meet high standards of safety and quality.

While regulations are currently still governed at a state level, Standards Australia is working with regulators to bring the certification and approval of all of these types of products together under the WaterMark certification scheme.

Temperature and installation

State regulations regarding temperature settings are nearly unanimous. Regulations require that the temperature inside a storage tank system should not fall below 60ºC, in order to kill any bacteria in the tank. Likewise, water from the outlet should not exceed 50ºC to prevent scalding.


This needs to be controlled in different ways for different situations, whether it is through a temperature controller or a natural means such as distance. When you have your system installed, make sure it is being done by a licensed installer.

A hot water plumber installing a gas hot water system must be a licensed gas fitter, and one who installs an electric hot water system should have an electrician’s license. Both will have side qualifications that allow them to work on your plumbing.

Individual state regulations

Visit the relevant site below to get the most up-to-date information about the regulations that apply to hot water systems in your state or territory: