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Hot water temperature code, laws & regulations listed by authority, country, state or province.
This article gives the allowable limits set on hot water temperatures for hot water used in buildings and compares regulations in various countries. For the U.S. we also include code citations and temperature limits by individual U.S. state.
What is the maximum hot water temperature that shall be delivered at the point of use? What hot water temperatures shall be maintained inside the water heater itself? Comparison of water temperature laws by country and by U.S. state.
BODY OVERHEATING HAZARDS are discussed here.
Most other countries provide a single hot water temperature limit for water provided at plumbing fixtures and a separate hot water maintenance level for temperatures within the water heater itself.
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|Anti-Scald Hot Water Regulations & Temperatures|
|96-102 degF||Typical comfortable temperature for washing and bathing |
UFAS (Uniform Federal Accessibility Standard), 105°F max by automatically controlled tempered water flow, 1988 edition, and ADA (American with Disabilities Act).
Arizona Prison Construction 401T-PPS provided below
|110 degF||U.S. Dept. Health & Human Services, Guidelines for Construction & Equipment of Hospital & Medical Facilities, HRP - 0905974, JUL84, avail. from NTIS, p48: “Hot water for showers and bathing facilities shall be at an appropriate temperature for comfortable use but shall not exceed 49°C (120°F) (see Table 4).” Table 4 gives temp in °F as 100 clinical (include shower), 120 dietary, 160 laundry.|
|100-120 degF||ACA (American Correctional Association), 100 to 120°F max automatically controlled for prison showers, “Adult Correctional Institutions, 3rd Ed, 1990.”|
|120 degF||1993 International Plumbing Code 97/00 - adopted by 18 U.S. states|
|120 degF||1994 Uniform Plumbing Code (IAPMO/ICBO) 97/00 - 13 U.S. states|
|120 degF||1996 International Plumbing Code SBCCI 97/00 - 10 U.S. states|
|120 degF||1996 National Standard Plumbing Code PHCC 96/98 - 5 U.S. states|
|No state code committed in 1998 - 3 U.S. states|
|Reference||A40 1993 Safety Standard for Plumbing (ANSI/MCA/PHCC/IAPMO) 93/|
U.S. Federal Regulations on Hot Water Scald Protection
According to Domestic Hot Water Scald Burn Lawsuits... D. Bynum et als., there are three different federal standards for limits on safe hot water temperatures
1. 110 degF Max: U.S. Dept. Health & Human Services, Guidelines for Construction & Equipment of Hospital & Medical Facilities, HRP - 0905974, JUL84, avail. from NTIS, p48: “Hot water for showers and bathing facilities shall be at an appropriate temperature for comfortable use but shall not exceed 49°C (120°F) (see Table 4).” Table 4 gives temp in °F as 100 clinical (include shower), 120 dietary, 160 laundry.
2. 105°F Max UFAS (Uniform Federal Accessibility Standard), 105°F max by automatically controlled tempered water flow, 1988 edition, and ADA (American with Disabilities Act).
3. 100–120°F ACA (American Correctional Association), 100 to 120°F max automatically controlled for prison showers, "Adult Correctional Institutrions, 3rd Ed. 1990"
Additional anti-scald protection regulation details:
See TABLE of ANTI-SCALD REGULATIONS for country by country and within the U.S. state by state codes, regulations or laws regulating hot water temperatures at the water heater tank, cylinder or geyser and at the point of use bath, shower, sink, etc.
Also use your browser's on-page search function [ Ctrl-F ] to search for a country or U.S. state in the data below.
|Table of States or Provinces Adopting Anti-Scald Plumbing Codes
Hot Sater Scald Protection Code Citations for Australia, Britain, Canada, France, New Zealand, U.K., United States, Other Areas
|States or Provinces||Adopted Plumbing Code||Adopted Date or Edition|
|18 States including||
International Plumbing Code 1993, Max 120°F.
New York City: Multiple Dwelling Law § 75; Multiple Residence Law§ 170; NYC Admin. Code § 27-2031
Hot Water Landlords must provide all tenants of multiple dwellings with both hot and cold water. Hot water must register at or above a constant temperature of 120 degrees at the tap.
If a tub or shower is equipped with an anti-scald valve that prevents the hot water temperature from exceeding 120 degrees, the minimum hot water temperature for that tub or shower is 110 degrees.
New York City Housing Maintenance Code and NY State Multiple Dwelling Law require building owners to provide heat nd hot water to all tenants, providing hot water 365 days a year at a constant minimum [sic] temperature of 120°F
|1997 & 2000|
Uniform Plumbing Code (IAPMO / ICBO) 1994, Max 120°F.
Arizona: DEPARTMENT ORDER 401-PRISON CONSTRUCTION CHAPTER: 401T-PPS ADC Administrative Services, Physical Plant Standards Rev. 02/23/12 [PDF], 105°F adjustable from 100°F to 120°F for sinks, lavatories and showers.
Arizona: Maricopa County, Hot Water Supply Code [PDF]
California: anti-scald devices are required by the CA 2007 Plumbing Code, Chapter 4, section 418.0 Shower and Tub Combination Control Valves
|1997 / 2000|
|SBCCI or International Plumbing Code (1996), Max 120°F.||1997 / 2000|
|National Standard Plumbing Code (PHCC) (1996), Max 120°F.||1996/1998|
|State Code Not Yet Committed|
|Nebraska||A40 1993 Safety Standard for Plumbing (ANSI/MCA/PHCC/IAPMO)||1993|
States or districts for which hot water temperature limits have not been identified in the U.S.
|Australia's National Plumbing Code AS3500 requires that hot water is stored at a temperature above 60C (140F) and that hot water delivery temperature (at the plumbing fixture) shall not be above 50°C (122°F). The higher storage considers the effort to reduce the risk of Legionella bacteria formation in the system.|
|Ontario, Canada||Effective Sept. 1, 2004, all water heaters replaced or installed are required to have an “anti-scald” device installed. A change was made to the Ontario Building Code making anti-scald devices mandatory.||2004|
|Notes: proposed change to Canadian plumbing code will specify that water temperature shall not excee 120°F (49°C) and that water heater temperatures shall not be set so low as to permit growth of Legionella bacteria.|
|Proposed regulation: hot water stored at at least 60C (140F) and delivered at or below 50C (120F). See the French National Standards Organization AFNOR (website www.afnor.fr) and see the French National Testing Authority (CSTB) (www.cstb.fr).|
|References: www.kiwa.ni provides information on steps to prevent growth of Legionella bacteria in hot water systems.|
Hot water tempeature at the tap (bath sink, tub, shower) must be 55°C or less. New Zealand building code requires that the maximum hot water temperature at the tap shall be 45°C or less for childcare centres, schools, homes for the elderly and similar facilities.
Typical sources give the ideal hot water temperature setting for hot water cylinders in New Zealand as 60°C in order to keep water hot enough to kill bacteria inside the heater. Higher temperature settings in the cylinder are not necessary and increase water heating costs.
Watch out: 60°C is not the temperature of water that should be delivered at the tap or plumbing fixture - that temperature will cause scalding burns.
See NZS 4617:1989 Tempering (3-port mixing) valves, Date modified: 28/11/1989 regarding Tempering (3-port mixing) valves
Requirements for tempering valves for storage hot water systems particularly in domestic situations where hot water poses a hazard. These valves are intended to prevent scalding in locations such as homes, schools, motels and residential premises, where ideally all hot water outlets should be sourced from a tempering valve. Provides for valves suitable for water inlet temperatures of up to 100 degrees C.
England and Wales, from 1 April 2010, revisions to Part G of the Building Regulations (Hot water supply and systems) include the requirement that baths, subject to building regulations, are fitted with a protective device (i.e. a thermostatic mixing valve) to limit the temperature of hot water. Similar regulations have been in force in Scotland since 2006. 
As of 1st May 2006 a new Scottish Building Regulation will require that all bath water in a domestic property must be controlled to a maximum of 48°C.
Hot Water Temperature from Sanitary Fittings
Where hot water is provided from storage, building regulations require a storage temperature of 60°C and a circulating temperature of no less than 55°C to prevent the development of Legionella or similar pathogens.
Fittings Used for Personal Hygiene
To prevent scalding, the temperature of hot water discharged from, or to, any bath or bidet should not exceed 48oC.
Guidance on the installation, use and maintenance of thermostatic mixing valves and fittings can be found in BRE information Paper IP 14/03 or from the Thermostatic Mixing Valve Association (TMVA) - www.tmva.org.uk
Additional reglations may yet be pending, under study by the Building Research Establishment (BRE, www.bre.co.uk) for the Department of Transport, Local Government and REgions (DTLR). Proposed hot water storage temperature is 6°C (140°F)
|Reference: "Recommended Code of Practice for Safe Water Temperatures", Thermostatic Mixing Valve Manufacturers Association (TMVA), TMVA, Westminster Tower, 3 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7SL Tel: 020 7793 3008 Fax: 020 7793 9730 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.tmva.org.uk, retrieved 3/21/2014, original source: www.beama.org.uk|
The World Health Organization (WHO) has pointed out a different set of hot water or thermal shock water temperature hazards as well as cold water thermal shock hazards. Quoting:
Body overheating can occur in natural spas and hot tubs, where water temperatures may be above 40 °C. High temperatures can cause drowsiness, which may lead
to unconsciousness (especially when associated with alcohol consumption), resulting
in drowning (Press, 1991; see Section 2.1). In addition, high temperatures can lead
to heat stroke and death (CPSC, undated). The CPSC has received reports of several
deaths from extremely hot water (approximately 43 °C) in hot tubs (CPSC, undated).
is recommended that water temperatures in hot tubs be kept below 40 °C.
Plunge pools present similar problems, but at the other temperature extreme. These small, deep pools generally contain water at a temperature of 8–10 °C and in conjunction with saunas or steam baths.
Adverse health outcomes that may
result from the intense and sudden changes in temperature associated with the use
of these pools include immediate impaired coordination, loss of control of breathing
and, after some time when the core body temperature has fallen, slowed heart beat,
hypothermia, muscle cramps and loss of consciousness.
In general, exposure to temperature extremes should be avoided by pregnant women, users with medical problems and young children, and prolonged immersion in hot tubs or other pools with high or low temperatures should be avoided or approached with caution. - WHO (2014)
I want to know if it is legal to have showers with no way to adjust the temperature of the water. I hope you are unbiased. [At our facilities] our showers only have hot water coming out. I have RSD and my legs are extremely sensitive to hot and cold, and I can't even stand the mist if I stand back from the shower spray.
Is there any law that says you have to be able to lower temps of hot water? I would think by now that there could be built in temp adjustments so there would be no handles to break. Thank you for any help you can provide.
Thank you for the question , it helps us realize where we need to work on making our text more clear or more complete. We must emphasize that an onsite inspection by a competent investigator will certainly find conditions and clues that may not yet have been observed nor reported, so any advice by remote email is of necessity incomplete and a bit theoretical.
For example, if the water coming out of showers is hotter than recommended by various safety standards that would be improper. I'm not sure I can say what's legal since rules that pertain to various types of public shower facilities management may be different, but it seems reasonable to me that you could expect basic safety and health standards to apply. That apology made, here are some comments:
There are several types of automatic mixing valves that are designed to be installed on hot water supplies or right at bath fixtures (like a shower) that can be set to a particular temperature - as a safety device to avoid scalding. See the article above for a table of temperatures that suggest what hot water temperature is considered "too hot" or at risk of scalding someone.
In my OPINION, where manual adjustments to shower temperature are not provided, an automatic anti-scalding device should be in place and should be set to a safe temperature. The highest temperature permissible that will reliably avoid scalding is 100 degF.
So start by making some actual temperature measurements, documenting the temp range and the temp variation (if it does) at different times of the day.
Regarding your question of "is it legal" to have no shower temperature control, see the various codes and laws summarized in our table above
- Hot Water Anti-Scald Limits: Laws & Regulations
There are plumbing and safety standards that may apply to shower hot water temperature regulation, such as
Please keep me posted on how things progress, What we both learn may help me help someone else.
As for your hope that our reply would be unbiased, InspectAPedia is an independent publisher of building, environmental, and forensic inspection, diagnosis, and repair information for the public - we have no business nor financial connection with any manufacturer or service provider discussed at our website.
We are dedicated to making our information as accurate, complete, useful, and unbiased as possible: we very much welcome critique, questions, or content suggestions for our web articles.
Watch out: attempts to avoid scalding burn hazards by lowering the maintenance temperature of the water heater itself convey a new hazard: at lower temperatures in water heaters there is a risk of formation of Legionella sp. bacteria. Regarding prevention of Legionella, cf Veterans Administration source in citations at the end of this article.
Water temperatures exceeding 124 degrees Fahrenheit (°F) (51 degrees Celsius (°C)) are necessary to prevent the rapid growth of Legionella , the causative agent of Legionella pneumonia (traditionally known as Legionnaires’ disease) in hot water systems.
Details are at Legionella BACTERIA in WATER HEATERS.
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