Update: This safety alert was updated on 28 April 2020 to include a Chinese (Simplified) translation.
The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has seen an increase in the purchase of plumbing products such as toilet seat bidet douches, handheld bidet sprays and trigger sprays, and other bidet type products that are connected to toilet water supply outlets (bidet products).
While many housebound Australians may be more inspired to complete odd jobs at home now than ever before, DIY installations of plumbing and drainage work including bidet products could put the health and safety of you and your family at risk, and it’s also illegal.
Bidet products are sanitary fixtures or attachments connected to the drinking water supply that are used to dispense water for personal hygiene purposes. They are commonly utilised to reduce the need for or amount of toilet paper.
The following information does not apply to portable products such as bidet douche bottles and sitz baths that are not connected to the water supply.
Possible health risks of DIY bidet installations
DIY installation or installation by unlicensed persons may mean that the bidet product is attached to a domestic water supply without the appropriate cross-connection or backflow protection. This could result in faecal contamination of your drinking water supply and even neighbouring water supplies.
Contamination of water supply can cause infectious diseases.
If you’re supplying bidet products, you should be aware of installation and certification requirements and your responsibilities under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). If you’re looking to purchase and install a bidet product in your home, follow our tips below.
Plumbing work and WaterMark certification
In Australia, the installation of bidet products connected to the drinking water supply must be undertaken by a licensed plumber. This ensures that the installation complies with the Plumbing Code of Australia, and the appropriate cross-connection protection is provided.
To be legally installed in Australia, certain plumbing and drainage products, including bidet products, must be certified through the WaterMark Certification Scheme, which is administered by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB).
The WaterMark Certification Scheme ensures that products are certified to the appropriate product specification, fit for purpose and authorised for use in plumbing and drainage installations. Certified products are listed on the WaterMark Product Database and identified by the WaterMark certification trademark.
Before supplying bidet products, check that the product, or its packaging, is marked with the WaterMark certification trademark and a licence number. Check the licence number is valid on the WaterMark Product Database.
More information on WaterMark certification can be found on the ABCB website.
ACL and consumer guarantees
Suppliers of bidet products also have responsibilities under the ACL that include:
- ensuring that bidet products supplied in the Australian market are safe and fit for purpose
- complying with the consumer guarantee regime, ensuring that the goods are of acceptable quality, safe, durable and with no faults
- not making false or misleading claims about these products being suitable for DIY installations or installations from non-plumbers or unlicensed plumbers.
Tips for consumers
- Before buying, check that the bidet product, or its packaging, is marked with the WaterMark certification trademark and a licence number. Check the licence number is valid on the WaterMark Product Database. If you’re buying online, ask the supplier for this information if it’s not available on the website.
- Ensure the bidet product is installed by a licensed plumber only. This will ensure that the installation complies with the Plumbing Code of Australia, including the appropriate cross-connection protection. Check with your local plumbing authority to ensure your plumber is appropriately licensed to undertake the work. Undertaking unlicensed plumbing work can attract penalties from your local plumbing authority.
- Contact your state or local plumbing authority if you have any concerns regarding the installation of your bidet product.
- Check www.productsafety.gov.au for Australian product recalls and visit the OECD GlobalRecalls portal for international recalls.