Don’t Flush! I’m In the Shower!!-UPDATE

This post was updated from the original posted January 9, 2017 

When I was a kid that phrase was heard almost daily. Someone would be in the shower when due to an untimely flush, the water temperature spiked and the unsuspecting person in the shower (usually my dad) almost got scalded. For manufactured home installers today, the stakes are higher and the risk is real. Let’s take a quick look at this situation:

To reduce the possibility of accidental scalding, most plumbing codes, including the HUD Code (Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards), require that tubs and showers be equipped with plumbing fixtures that can limit the water temperature to prevent scalding. All manufactured homes produced since June 2014 should have anti-scald plumbing fixtures (serving bathtubs and showers) to meet this requirement. But it is up to the installer to adjust these fixtures to work properly. In case you think this is not an important issue, here are a few statistics:

  • Most scalding accidents occur in bathrooms and kitchens – where they are most preventable.
  • More than 2,000 American children are treated for scalds each year.
  • Scalding often leads to additional injuries such as heart attacks, shock, falls, and serious broken bones, particularly in older folks.

So, what does that have to do with manufactured home installation? Well let me open up a typical installation manual. Way back around page 76, along the side margin, it states that the installer must test the water temperature on each tub, tub/shower or shower to “ensure that it does not exceed 120° F”.

faucet-pic To accomplish this, you are to run the water at the hottest setting for one minute and then take a temperature reading. If the temperature is above 120° F, the installer must adjust the valve per the instructions.

 

anti-scald-instruction

This brings me to a couple questions:

  • As a professional installer, are you aware of this?
  • If so, did you actually perform this test?
  • Do you have the proper thermometer to gauge the temperature?
  • Are you documenting that you have done this on the “Complete Installation Checklist”?

I believe that this is too important of an issue to overlook. Take the time today to review the installation manuals you use. If you can’t find it, look under the section titled “Connect Utilities”. If you still can’t find it, you are probably using an outdated installation manual.

UPDATE: Since this was posted, Eagle River Homes, a Pennsylvania manufacturer reached out to inform me that their Installation Manual does not necessarily require the installer to test the water temperature. Their manual says, “Tub and tub/shower valves are designed to keep water temperature at or below 120 degrees F for safety.  If adjustment is required refer to instructions provided in the envelope containing Installation and Home Owner’s Manuals.” 

erh-anti-scald

Anti scald plumbing devices listed to ASSE 1016 or ASSE 1070 – a HUD Code requirement for tubs and showers – must limit temperature to 120 degrees F as a listing requirement.  However, 120 degrees can scald an infant or an elderly person, so it may be prudent to adjust the devices to a lower temperature. 

As always, check the installation instructions specific to the home you are installing.

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