Improving safety and compliance of heat pump hot water systems installations

Victorian regulators and agencies have joined forces to improve compliance of heat pump hot water system installations across the state, in line with industry and safety standards.

This follows the rapid growth in heat pump hot water system installations across Victoria under the Solar Homes and Victorian Energy Upgrades programs, which offer incentives to install energy efficient products in Victorian homes and businesses.

In the coming months, Solar Victoria, the Essential Services Commission, the Victorian Building Authority (VBA), Energy Safe Victoria and WorkSafe Victoria will increase site inspections and audits to ensure heat pump hot water systems are being installed safely and without fault.

Common issues identified across agencies relate to inadequate installations, which can ultimately impact the effectiveness or safe functioning of the system. Compliance issues identified in audits include:

  • inadequate insulation to protect systems from freezing,
  • switchboard wiring,
  • unsafe termination points for pressure relief valves, and
  • inappropriately secured water tanks.

As part of Solar Victoria’s commitment to safety and quality, five per cent of all Solar Homes Program installations are audited every year. While very few hot water installations audited by Solar Victoria over the last 12 months were found to be unsafe, there are still persistent issues being detected.

Solar Victoria recently released its hot water audit checklist and two new technical guidance sheets to help drive safety and quality in installations conducted under the programs.

We encourage accredited plumbers to advance their understanding of compliance standards by using the guidance, which was reviewed by the VBA.

The checklist provides a list of everything independent auditors inspect to ensure hot water heat pump and solar hot water systems are installed to the highest standards of safety and quality. Referring to the checklist will help you identify potential areas for improvement and avoid the need for rectification work requested under the program.

The guidance sheets on temperature pressure relief valve drainage will help plumbers:

  • identify potential hazards or unsafe installations
  • advance knowledge around methods of compliance.

More information on this is available on the Solar Victoria Website. There is also free training opportunities, delivered by the Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre, for plumbers and fourth-year plumbing apprentices on installing hot water heat pump and solar hot water systems.

/Public Release. View in full here.