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$vuetify.icons.faPhone1300 650 620

The fan-Tastic bathroom revolution

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The IXL Tastic has been an iconic part of Australian bathrooms since 1977. But it’s what the Australian innovative brand can provide in the energy efficiency and ventilation space that really excels.
For anyone growing up in Australia since the late 1970’s if you were to flick a switch and notice the bathroom ceiling had an all-in-one heat, vent and light solution you’d likely say “Ohhh, you’ve got an IXL-Tastic!.” In any marketers dream scenario this “generalization” of the product recognition has kept IXL strong in brand and reputation since. Yes, they were the first to design and release the product, but that is only just the tip of the innovation iceberg.

From a humble anvil in Geelong


The IXL story begins in 1858, when Ebenezer Backwell established a blacksmithing shop in Geelong, Victoria. After several decades manufacturing cooking appliances and parts, Backwell patented a new stove design in 1893, utilising a direct draught principle which significantly decreased heating time (and remained in use for solid fuel stoves until the 1970s). Manufactured under the brand name ‘IXL’, the new stove was an instant hit with the buying public and marked the beginning of the company’s long tradition of forward-thinking product innovation. 

When Ebenezer passed away in 1902, his sons Edwin and Albert Backwell took the reins, steering the company through the turbulent years of World War 1, the Great Depression, and World War 2. 

In the 1950s, demand for IXL stoves boomed but competition also increased dramatically, with new manufacturers entering the market. Consumers’ growing preference for electricity and gas cooking appliances put further pressure on the company’s profits. Diversification was ineluctable, and so throughout the 1960s, IXL invested in developing gas and electric heating products, as well as new finishes such as enamelling, which enabled the business to expand into bathroom fittings. 

In the 1970s, with the next generation of Backwells – John, Brian and Alan – at the helm, the company identified a market gap for fast, efficient heating for our then-Spartan (and very chilly!) bathrooms. A research trip to America revealed that infra-red lamps were being used as bathroom heaters and they decided to take the concept one step further by combining heat with a ventilation fan. From this ‘fantastic’ idea, the IXL Tastic was born and Aussie bathrooms were changed for the better, forever. 

IXL was also first in the marketplace with the launch of the revolutionary Tastic Premium range, new generation heat, vent and light category that was conceived to meet demand for a contemporary and sleek product that suites a variety of bathroom styles.

As we entered the new millennium, IXL continued to diversify, adding electric BBQs and portable heating to the range. In 2007 following a merger with Sampford & Staff, the company became a distributor of worldwide brands such as Gaggenau, Neff, Jenn-Air, Hansgrohe, La Germania and iRobot. 
 
Today, the IXL Group remains a proudly family owned company and still operates from its manufacturing facility in Geelong. ‘IXL leads the way in Australia and New Zealand’s premium home appliance industry,’ says Monique Cheung, Senior Brand Manager at IXL Home. ‘As well as manufacturing and distributing a wide range of quality, trusted products, we are committed to providing local jobs and supporting our local communities by keeping design and manufacturing skills within Australia.’

‘Manufacturing locally also allows us greater control over production processes, quality control, and safety practices.’ The IXL brand has become synonymous with Australian-made ingenuity and quality, and the company has built a strong network of trade and consumer retail partners across the country, including Harvey Norman Bathroom & Tiles, Bunnings, Beacon Lighting, Mitre 10, MMEM, Plumbing Plus and more. 
 
‘IXL are a great fit for a modern Australian retailer like Harvey Norman Bathroom & Tiles,’ says John Cannella, General Manager, Harvey Norman Bathroom & Tiles. ‘With IXL, we can recommend innovative, on-trend items that are made in Australia for Australian conditions. This fills us, and our customers, with confidence. We trust IXL, and so do our customers
 

Ventilation and more 

‘Between the Ventflo ventilation range and Tastic heat/vent/light ranges, we can offer a solution to meet any budget, room size, or design profile. Our products are designed for easy installation, comply with the latest building codes, and will offer the end-user many years of reliable service,’ Monique says. 

Ever since John Backwell installed and tested the prototype Tastic in his own bathroom in 1977, the heat/vent/light fitting has enhanced the comfort, performance and aesthetic value of bathrooms across the country. Over the years, IXL have refined and evolved Tastic’s design to remain at the forefront of the product sector: incorporating new design technology, improving performance and energy efficiency while maintaining a contemporary aesthetic. 

Current Tastic ranges include Tastic Classic, Eco Tastic and Ducted Tastic, which feature strong extraction fans, powerful heat lamps and energy saving LED globe; the premium Tastic Luminate 3 in 1, with its sleek fascia design, a dimmable warm/cool LED light and inline extraction system.

Last year, IXL released the newest-generation Tastic – the Ovation 3 in 1 Bathroom heat, vent and light. Ideal for medium sized bathrooms, this award-winning product features a powerful centrifugal exhaust fan for a strong airflow extraction of up to 396m3/hr to quickly eliminate steam, keeping the bathroom fresh and dry. Finished in a contemporary white fascia design with frosted 4000K cool white LED lights and 800W heat lamp with Halo Heat™ Technology, Tastic Ovation delivers warmth and light in a stylish package.

‘Tastic Ovation is designed with a side ducted fan with inclined outlet for optimised ducting and easy installation,’ Monique says. The self-sealing back-draught stopper prevents draughts from entering the room via the ceiling, and stops warm air escaping from the bathroom into the roof cavity when the exhaust fan is not in use. This helps to maintain a comfortable temperature in the bathroom, meaning less energy is required for heating.’ 

As IXL’s most advanced Tastic yet, the Ovation was recognised as an ABA100 Winner for Product Innovation in the Australian Brand Awards 2021.

IXL Tastics are available in a range of sizes, price points, and functional combinations, so whatever your project requirements, there will be a product to suit. If you’re unsure which one is right for your new home or renovation project, you can use IXL’s handy online ‘Help me choose’ calculator to find the maximum performing model(s) for each room type and size.

Compliance at the core

The National Construction Code (NCC) 2019 introduced new legislation to help minimise condensation in houses and apartments. This includes specific provisions for exhaust and ducting, particularly in regard to discharging of the exhausted air. 

Further changes are proposed for NCC 2022, however Joshua Burg, HIA Assistant Director Building – NSW, says that while energy and condensation provisions for flow-rates and ducting won’t be finalised until August 2022, flow rate requirements are expected to remain at 25 L/s for bathroom/sanitary areas and 40 L/s for kitchens and laundries. 

NCC 2022 may include:
  • the need for mandatory ducting
  • in certain situations the ability for the exhaust fan to be interlocked with the light switch, with a 10-minute run-on timer after the switch is flicked off (if there is no window or other natural ventilation available).

IXL’s ventilation products offer home builders an easy compliance solution: ‘All IXL Tastics exceed the air flow requirements of the NCC’ Monique Chung says. 

‘By maintaining strong airflow over duct runs, Tastic effectively removes steam and prevents excessive condensation,’ Monique adds. ‘This helps inhibit mould growth and damp spots, along with the associated negative impact on occupants’ health and wellbeing, and long-term structural damage or corrosion.’

Quality you can count on

IXL has been a trusted brand in Australian and New Zealand for over 160 years – and the company stands by the quality of its market-leading, locally manufactured products. ‘IXL Tastics come with a five-year in-home warranty, and a two-year warranty on heat lamps and in-line exhaust, so builders can specify them with confidence,’ Monique says. 

IXL Ventflo and Tastics are available from leading retailers right across Australia. To find out more about the range and find a product for your next project, visit their website IXL Appliances or contact them on 1300 727 421. 

Brand promotion: This article was compiled with contributions from IXL Appliances.