WRAS Cat 5 certified water controls, protect users and patients from water that is too hot or too cold by means of mechanical or digital TMV3 (thermostatic mixing valves), these valves limit water temperature to the required max and min temperatures. The digital valves perform best and deliver the best performance though their technology. They also have inbuilt devices that enable providers to manage the appliance water use, which over time can save thousands of pounds.
2 What sort of technologies are available and how do they work?
There are two principle types of technologies, mechanical TMV3 valves and digital valve technology. Mechanical TMV3 vales shut down when water conditions are not within the working parameters of the valve (when there is differential in hot and cold-water balance which could lead to water being delivered too hot or too cold). Many mechanical valves then need to be checked, reset, or have components changed, which means down-time and additional costs. Digital valve technology works intelligently in that the valves have electronic components inbuilt. These valves sample the water temperature and balance the temperature electronically every 400ms. This ensures conditions are managed very precisely. Any extremes of temperature will shut down the water flow in a fraction of a second, not seconds, which is critical in a high temperature or low temperature situation.
3 What do care homes need to consider?
Safety has to be the first priority. Valves and the appliances they are often installed in should be compliant with BS6920. This is a legal requirement and the only way to prove compliance is specify and install appliances which have undergone lab testing and achieved WRAS category 5 Certification. This is relevant to products such as assisted baths and shower panels connected to mains water.
Identifying and building a good working relationship with a reputable bathing manufacturer is hugely beneficial. A reputable manufacturer can provide factory trained product specialists and clinical understanding, along with architectural advice which is often vital to specifying the correct product for the level of care provided.
Good aftersales service is a must. We do not live in a perfect world but knowing in the event of a failure that your appliance provider will respond quickly and have your service back up and running with the minimum of disruption is essential.
Total Life Cost (TLC) is also a major factor in the decision-making process. Reputable companies are often the more expensive up-front because their product is built to a higher build quality and they meet the required compliance standards. There are many low price point companies out there ready to offer their products. The harsh reality is you really do get get what you pay for. Total life Cost will be reduced if products are BS 6920 and WRAS Cat.5 certified, if you have good intelligent advice up front from a reputable manufacturer your appliance will be fit for purpose and the needs of patients and staff, which ultimately results in long-term benefits.