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Western Australia’s plumbing regulator is warning homeowners about the health risks of DIY installation of toilet hygiene spray hoses, which should only be fitted by a licensed plumber.
The alert from Building and Energy follows a rise in sales of the flexible douche hoses in the wake of toilet paper shortages and a focus on cleanliness due to COVID-19 coronavirus.
Hygiene spray hoses for toilets or bidets are classed as high-hazard plumbing equipment due to the risk of toilet water mixing with drinking water if they are not installed according to specific Australian plumbing standards.
“By law, only a licensed plumber is allowed to install this equipment, which must have an appropriate backflow prevention device to eliminate the risk of contamination of the drinking water supply,” Building and Energy Executive Director Saj Abdoolakhan said.
“Cross-contamination of waste products with drinking water can cause serious illness or even death from bacteria and other infections, so people should not attempt to install or repair toilet spray hoses themselves. Always call a licensed plumber.”
Building and Energy’s alert follows increased interest in “alternative toileting devices” such as spray hoses and bidets, prompting similar public health warnings from other Australian building and plumbing regulators if the equipment is not professionally installed.
Bathroom spray hoses continue to sell out quickly at hardware stores in Western Australia, while data sourced by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission reveals that Google searches in Australia for the term ‘bidets’ increased tenfold during March 2020.
Building and Energy is also reminding consumers not to flush paper towels or wipes down the toilet.
“Toilet paper is designed to be flushed, but heavier paper or wipes can cause expensive and inconvenient blockages at your home or gridlock of the wider sewage system,” Mr Abdoolakhan said.
The register of licensed plumbers is available at the Building and Energy website (www.commerce.wa.gov.au/building-and-energy/plumbers-licensing-search)
or via dmirs.wa.gov.au.
Product Safety Australia has also published advice today on the supply and installation of bidet products: https://www.productsafety.gov.au/news/covid-19-supplying-and-installing-bidet-products
Media contact: Sarah Roberts – 0466 409 828 (media queries only) or BEmedia@dmirs.wa.gov.au