Why use WRAS approved products?
WRAS checks the testing of thousands of water fittings products to ensure they comply with the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations and Scottish Byelaws. The water fittings regulations protect drinking water supplies within plumbing systems in homes, businesses and other properties. The regulations impose a legal duty on everyone to use suitable water fittings when connected to public water supplies. Anything from pipes, fittings, taps, showers, washing machines and dishwashers, to coffee machines, boilers and toilets, all need to comply.
Plumbing products are considered suitable if they pass appropriate material and mechanical regulatory performance tests. These tests include checks that products won’t affect the taste or smell of drinking water and do not promote the growth of microorganisms. So, whilst a WRAS approval isn’t mandatory, the testing of the products is. Surprisingly, not all product sold have been appropriately tested, although most consumers understandably assume that anything sold to them will meet legal requirements.
Once a product approval is granted, it means the product is of suitable quality and standard to avoid water contamination and minimise waste when installed properly. The approval may restrict how a product may be installed and used; for example, some products are only suitable for cold water plumbing systems.
To help installers, every approved water fitting is listed with one or more ‘requirement and installation note’. These notes explain any installation conditions which must be followed, which were applied as a condition of each WRAS Approval.
Choosing a water fitting like a tap or showerhead can be a big decision when renovating a bathroom or kitchen. Whilst is important to choose a product that complements the look and feel of the room, you shouldn’t compromise on safety or efficiency.
Why take a gamble on a product that hasn’t been tested to show compliance? Water fittings that don’t conform to the water fittings regulations may contaminate the water, posing a risk to health, or cause an expensive leak. British Insurers data shows that, during a spell of freezing weather, a claim to repair a burst pipe costs an average of £8,800 – and can often be more. Remember, if a product in your home or any property is found to be non-compliant with these regulations, you may be asked to replace it with a compliant product, costing you both time and money. In some cases, you might even be prosecuted and fined.
To avoid this, we recommend you always check if a product is approved before installing it, and ideally before it is purchased. A WRAS approval is an easy way to check compliance, although other approval schemes are available such as Kiwa (kiwa.co.uk/waterproducts) or NSF (nsf.org/certified-products-systems). If a product is approved, it might carry the WRAS approved logo on its packaging.This is not a requirement, so not all products carry it. However, if you are unsure, you can check the approval directory for free here or ask your retailer or plumber. A WaterSafe registered plumber should be able to help with this.