Residential Hot Water Safety Act
Bill Ward, Executive Vice President, HBAI
Legislation passed in the Illinois House of Representatives in April that would have required manufacturers to attach a temperature mixing valve to a hot water heater when installed in any new or existing home. The maximum temperature could not rise above 120 degrees Fahrenheit when the water contacts a person. HBAI was neutral on its passage and the House passed the measure on a 112-0 roll call.
HB3427 was introduced by State Representative Deb Conroy (D-Villa Park) in response to an incident where a young child filled a bathtub full of hot water, got into the scalding water, and eventually died due to circumstances extenuating from this tragedy.
In the Senate, HB3427 received bi-partisan sponsorship and passed out of the Senate Public Health Committee on a 10-0 vote on May 8th. The bill had no opposition.
With 11 days until the end of session, Senate bill sponsor, Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) pushed for an amendment that broadened the mandates on plumbers and on homeowners. Senate Floor Amendment #1 would require that any change to a home’s plumbing system would trigger the requirement for a temperature mixing valve to be placed on the water heating unit.
Taken to its extreme but accurate interpretation, this would mean that even the repair of a leaky faucet would obligate the homeowner, tenant, multi-family owner or manager to install a control valve on the hot water heater. Failure to do so would be a $500 per-day fine on the property owner.
Flags went up on this expanded regulation, and the bill was held from further consideration in the Senate.
Since the General Assembly adjournment on June 3rd, proponents for HB3427 have doubled down on their bill, proposing in “stakeholder” meetings to mandate home inspections at the time of a residential sale, and placing the requirement to install the valves in all residential real estate contracts. HBAI is opposed to these provisions, too.