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Water rating

Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme

A joint government and industry program

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How are products tested?

The testing procedures required for WELS registration are consistent and comprehensive, ensuring that products are reliably star-rated and labelled.

Testing procedures are specified by the Australian Standard - AS/NZS 6400:2016 - Water efficient products - Rating and labelling (the WELS Standard), and form the basis of the WELS water efficiency star ratings.

Plumbing products

Showers

Showers are tested for:

  • the angle at which water sprays from the head (to be between 0-8C°)
  • the drop in temperature between the shower head and floor level (no more than 3°C)
  • watertightness, and
  • endurance of the flow controller by being turned on and off around 50 000 times.

Hoses for hand held models are also tested for performance.

Tapware

 

Tapware products are tested for hydraulic strength and watertightness, torque of joints, and for the endurance of tap components.

Testing includes turning the taps on and off around 50 000 times to mimic the use of the tap over several years, and changing the water temperature from hot to cold and back again every 55 cycles. This should then show whether the tap has failed in any way, ie cracking or leaking.

Flow controllers

Testing a flow controller involves first determining its 'nominal flow rate'. This is done by connecting it to a water supply and testing the flow rate coming through the device when the water comes in at 150, 250 and 350 kPa (kPa = kilo Pascals, a measure of pressure). The nominal flow rate is the average of the flow rate coming out of the device for these three pressures.

The product is then put through 50 000 on/off cycles (same as for taps), before being retested. To pass the test, the nominal flow rate after the endurance test (ie after the 50 000 on/off cycles) has to be close to (within 1.0 L/min of) the nominal flow rate before the endurance test.

Sanitary ware

Toilets (lavatory equipment)

Toilets are tested for their performance in discharging material at full and reduced flush, leakage and splashing, physical distortion, and the endurance of inlet and outlet cistern valves.

Urinal equipment

Urinals are tested for effective flushing of urinal surfaces and splashing, while water closet and urinal flush devices are tested for flushing performance and watertightness.

Whitegoods

Washing machines

 

The average total water consumption for washing machines is determined by testing three models on a program recommended to wash a normally soiled cotton load, at the rated load capacity of the machine.

The water efficiency rating is determined by using a formula derived from the total water consumption. Other tests performed include soil removal, water extraction, severity of wash and rinse performance. These tests have performance thresholds which must be met in order for the product to be registered and labelled.

Dishwashers

The average total water consumption for dishwashers is determined by testing three models on the program (including all associated settings) recommended for a soiled load equal to the maximum number of place settings that the machine can carry.

The water efficiency rating is determined by using a formula derived from the total water consumption. Washing and drying effectiveness are also tested. These tests have performance thresholds which must be met in order for the product to be registered and labelled.

Further information

Full details of the testing and performance requirements can be found in the following Australian Standards (from Standards Australia) and/or technical specification for each product type:

  • WELS standard: AS/NZS 6400:2016
  • Showers: AS/NZS 3662:2005
  • Tapware: AS/NZS 3718:2005
  • Flow controllers: ATS 5200.037.1-2006
  • Toilets: AS 1172.1-2005, AS 1172.2-1999, ATS 5200.020-2004, ATS 5200.021-2004 and ATS 5200.030-2007
  • Urinals: AS 3982:1996 or ATS 5200.004-2005
  • Washing machines: AS/NZS 2040.2:2005
  • Dishwashers: AS/NZS 2007.2:2005