HIU Water Temperature and hot water rules for disabled — Scope | Disability forum
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HIU Water Temperature and hot water rules for disabled

Steve_in_The_City Scope Member Posts: 497 Pioneering
Two months ago I moved in to a council flat that is designed for a disabled person. It is a new build and the hot water is supplied by a Heat Interchange Unit. I live by myself and am independent, no carers etc. The shower (no bath) is a nightmare. I won't go in to all the problems (too many to list) but my latest problem is that the plumber who has been trying to fix the shower phoned me and said it is illegal for an HIU to supply water above 38 centigrade (I complained about the low water temperature) and illegal for a disabled person to bath or shower in water hotter than 38 degrees. He then put the phone down, making it clear nothing more could be done to improve the shower. I have been left with a shower with water pressure that is too high (it is flooding the bathroom) and 38 degrees simply isn't hot enough for me. I have ascertained that it is not illegal for a HIU to deliver water hotter than 38 degrees, especially since the water at my kitchen sink is a hot 50 degrees. Also, I was in an able bodied neighbors flat and measured the temperature of her shower water using 2 very accurate digital thermometers. The temperature was 45 degrees (she too has a HIU).

However, I would like to know if there are any rules regarding bath/shower water temperature for disabled people who live independently and not in care homes etc, and what the maximum allowed water temperature is for someone like me? I have Googled all of this but can only find information regarding stored hot water and disabled people living under supervision. If someone should know how hot my shower water can legally be, I would be pleased to know. Thanks for any replies and sorry if I have been rambling a bit! Steve


  • janer1967
    janer1967 Community member Posts: 21,964 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi and welcome to the community I don't have an answer for you but I live on in a new build bungalow classed as multi use 

    I have a bath and queried why my water wasn't very hot in the bathroom.  I was told that there was a restricted temp for water to the bath for safety reasons and that applies to all new build social housing 

    I'm don't know about legal requirements but just wanted to share that you are not the only one 
  • Steve_in_The_City
    Steve_in_The_City Scope Member Posts: 497 Pioneering
    Hi Janer1967, thank you for your response. I am sorry that your water isn't hot enough - it would seem to me that if you like a hot bath or shower then HIU's aren't going to cut the mustard. I know for safety reasons they have temperature cut off points but having delved further in to this matter it appears that most people are obtaining bath/shower water in the mid forties. My neighbour whose water temperature I measured is a council tenant like me and has an identical HIU, so I don't see why my temperature is capped at 38 while she is achieving 45. I have spoken with 3 manufacturers of HIU and BESA, who are the people the trade turn to for advice. They all tell me the same thing: Just ask for the temperature to be increased. If I can find out anymore about legal temperatures with these contraptions, I will let you know. Thanks, Steve.
  • janer1967
    janer1967 Community member Posts: 21,964 Disability Gamechanger
    Thank you 

    I've not tested my temp it is hot enough for me but just run the hot tap no need to add cold 
  • Biblioklept
    Biblioklept Community member Posts: 3,909 Disability Gamechanger
    I know it's for safety reasons but it does seem set too low really, I guess they have a reason but still. I don't think it's a law but I've seen others complain of the same so it does seem to be a regulation.
    If you google make and model you should be able to take cover off and adjust the temp yourself or have a friend do it but it can void any warranty etc.
  • Steve_in_The_City
    Steve_in_The_City Scope Member Posts: 497 Pioneering
    Hi Biblioklept. Thank you for your advice. I am afraid I cannot adjust the HIU itself as I have very limited mobility (and these units are a tad complicated). Also, I think the problem is more to do with the cylinder that mixes the water in the shower. I moved in on 25th April, switched on the shower and the water pressure was terrifying. My flat flooded as the gravity fed drain couldn't deal with the deluge. It took 15 minutes for the water to run hot, but it was so hot I had to mix it with cold. They fixed the water pressure and told me that a new mixing cylinder was needed, as the the pressure had blown apart the one in the shower. They did not know the make of the shower and didn't know what type of cylinder to get. They did a temporary repair. Each time I showered I had to wait for 15 mins for the water to run hot and, like  Janer 1967, the water was hot enough provided I didn't mix it with cold. Finally, they fitted a new cylindar. When I came to shower the warm water came through quickly but did not exceed 38 and the pressure was too high. The plumber who had been dealing with it came to sort it out. He left, saying he would have to ask around his colleagues to find out how to increase the temperature. A few days later he rang to feed me the baloney about 38 degrees being the legal limit. That day I spoke with three very helpful companies who supply HIU's. None had heard about the 38 degree law. I did not mention the cylinder and they all gave the same advice, telling me to call an engineer and ask to have the temperature increased. I then spoke with the company who had fitted the HIU. Their contract with the council had ended and they couldn't help, but assured me that the unit had been correctly fitted. I then spoke with a lady whose firm had supplied the HIU. She said that her own unit, identical to mine, had been set to 41 degrees for shower water. However, she had a thermostat controlled shower and there was a button she could press to exceed the 41 degrees when she wanted a hot shower and told me the cylinder was probably faulty. Finally, I phoned BESA who are the absolute experts on HIU. People who fit these units go to BESA for advice. They told me to ask for an engineer to increase the water temperature. I phoned the council and told them I wanted a new shower, as no-one knew what cylinder is required. I am awaiting a response from a line manager. Meanwhile the pressure remains high, the bathroom is flooding and the temperature won't exceed 38 (blood temperature). 

    Finally, I have been told by a lady I know that HIU's are being installed on her estate, and no-one is happy with them. She did not say why. About 5 years ago an OT called at my previous flat. She said my antiquated disabled bathroom wasn't up to current rules and regulations. A new thermostatically controlled electric instant shower was installed and I was told that the temperature had been capped according to regulations so that I could not scold myself. They did not say what the temperature was, but I never had the shower on at full power as it was too hot. This is why I am trying to find out what the temperature cap is for disabled people. Sorry about the length of this, but I thought I would give a full history in case anyone else is having problems. Steve.
  • Steve_in_The_City
    Steve_in_The_City Scope Member Posts: 497 Pioneering
    Hi @janer1967 and @Biblioklept
    Thank you both for your input regarding the temperature of my shower water. After almost six months of arguments with the council, I now have proper hot water in the shower; 46 degrees to be exact. The 38 degree recommendation for disabled people who live independently as I do, is just a recommendation. It is not the law. I do not live in care home where others make decisions for me. On Wednesday I made a formal Stage 1 complaint to the council, making it clear I would seek legal advice unless they fixed the shower. A couple of days later, last Friday, they came and fixed it, giving me 46 degrees. 46 degrees is of course far too hot for me, but I ain't complaining! Steve.
  • Tori_Scope
    Tori_Scope Scope Campaigns Posts: 12,465 Disability Gamechanger
    That sounds like positive news @Steve_in_The_City :) Thank you for updating us! Are you finding the 46 degrees okay? 
    National Campaigns Officer, she/her

    Join our call for an equal future.
  • Steve_in_The_City
    Steve_in_The_City Scope Member Posts: 497 Pioneering
    Hi @Tori_Scope 46 degrees is too hot for me! 38 degrees is too low! I now have a shower I can adjust to the right temperature for me - somewhere between 38 and 46! I am trying to attach a jpg of some Scope Legislation that says disabled people can't be discriminated against. It has taken me almost 6 months of arguing with the council to get my shower fixed. There isn't a force in this world that will make me shower at 38 degrees. So I am happy with the outcome, even though it has taken almost 6 months to get a happy ending. 


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