Water heater requirements

South Australia has had energy efficiency requirements for installing water heaters in homes since 2008. These may affect water efficiency for showers.

The requirements are only for new or replacement water heaters. Working water heaters don’t need to be replaced.

For most homes, it means installing:

  • a low emission water heater, such as a high efficiency gas, solar or electric heat pump system
  • water efficient shower heads or flow restrictors.

These requirements don’t apply if the water heater installation is:

  • non-residential, eg for a commercial building, shop, school, or office
  • an electric or gas gravity-fed water heater of up to 250 litres installed in a roof space
  • a like-for-like replacement under warranty
  • only supplying a shed, garage or swimming pool
  • a temporary electric water heater of up to 55 litres that is providing water heating for up to 60 days while waiting for a new, compliant water heater to be installed
  • a secondary electric water heater of up to 55 litres that isn’t supplying a shower or bath
  • shared between multiple units, flats or apartments in a multi-storey building
  • repairing or replacing a single major component of a solar or electric heat pump.

Installing a water heater

Only licensed or registered plumbers can install water heaters. Use the licensing public register to check your installer has a license to do plumbing work.

Once the plumber has installed your water heater, they must provide a Certificate of Compliance (eCOC) to the household and the Office of the Technical Regulator.

Eligible solar or electric heat pump water heaters are entitled to small-scale technology certificates (STCs), which can assist with purchase costs.

Find out which water heater can be installed

There are different types of water heaters – including electrical, gas and solar hot water systems – which work in different ways and have different running costs.

The tool below will identify the type of water heater your home needs to meet the requirements.

Building classifications

Class 1A: Single detached dwelling or two or more attached dwellings separated by a fire-resistant wall, including a maisonette, row house, townhouse, and single-storey flats or units.

Class 1B: Boarding/guest house or hostel not exceeding 300m2 with no more than 12 residents.

Class 2: Multi-storey building containing two or more sole-occupancy units, where each is a separate dwelling.

Further information and assistance

You can also view further technical information on the installation of hot water heaters.

Plumbers can contact the plumbers' water heater information line on 1300 883 019 (Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 5.00 pm) for assistance.

Householders can ask their licensed plumber or building contractor for assistance with code requirements or contact the Energy Advisory Service for more information.

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Page last updated 19 December 2021

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