Putting a Stop to Scalding and Thermal Shock

In an effort to educate plumbing manufacturers on the codes and standards that affect their industry, the Plumbing Manufacturers Institute, in February, held its second Codes and Standards Workshop. Approximately 60 PMI members and nonmembers from 25 plumbing manufacturers attended the workshop, which is part of a larger initiative to provide the industry with current information on issues and ...

04/01/2004


In an effort to educate plumbing manufacturers on the codes and standards that affect their industry, the Plumbing Manufacturers Institute, in February, held its second Codes and Standards Workshop. Approximately 60 PMI members and nonmembers from 25 plumbing manufacturers attended the workshop, which is part of a larger initiative to provide the industry with current information on issues and functions considered crucial to the industry.

David Viola, PMI technical director, was pleased with the enthusiasm he saw at the workshop. "It's encouraging to see the high level of involvement from manufacturers to ensure they keep pace with the various technical activities that impact our industry," he said.

The workshop is especially important in an industry that Viola says experiences just as many, if not more, code changes than any other building system, with the exception, perhaps, of the electrical industry.

The current most pressing issue according to Viola is that of temperature control of water, and he noted that new standards are in the works to address technology geared toward preventing scalding and thermal shock by limiting water temperature in public and commercial lavatories.

"There is a void with the type of standards that regulate these products, so the manufacturers are filling that void with spins on their own technologies to get people to specify their products," he says. "But that's something that's being rectified with these code changes [whose goals are to] place temperature standards on water at these various outlets and to not be technology-restricted at the end of the day."

J. Richard Wagner, P.E., CIPE, ASPE, chairman of the National Standard Plumbing Code Committee, concurs that scalding and thermal shock are key issues to the industry. He notes that exposure to 140

However, this "safe" water temperature does not eliminate a key concern when it comes to potable water—Legionella. Wagner explains: "Safe hot water temperatures are in the range of 105in 32 minutes."

Wagner notes that all of the major plumbing codes require protection from scalding and thermal shock in showers and bath/shower combinations by calling for thermostatic, pressure-balanced and combination mixing valves in accordance with ASSE (American Society of Sanitary Engineering) 1016, and says these devices are now available to the public. However, other plumbing fixtures, including lavatories, sinks, soaking tubs and whirlpool baths, also have the potential for scalding. Solutions are in the works, though. According to Wagner, "The industry is presently developing standards and products to provide high-limit protection at all types of fixtures and outlets so that 140





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