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Should You Adjust The Temperature of Your Hot Water Heater?

 

In most homes, the water heater is one of the largest consumers of energy. It’s only natural that our customers ask us if they can and should turn the temp down to save money. 

This is a tricky question to answer – If you turn your water heater to low, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria. Setting to high, and you run the risk of dangerous scalding hot water coming from your faucets.

 

Saving Money with my water heater

We are all for saving money and lowering our carbon footprint by saving energy. In this case, it’s not as simple. There’s a balance that must be struck between potentially exposing your family to harmful illness and saving energy. However, you’re in luck – we have some tips and tricks to lower your costs without adjusting your water heaters thermostat: 

  • Use less hot water. Haha, yeah, we know this is the obvious answer. But shaving a few minutes off your shower time can make a big dent in your energy costs. 
  • Add insulation to your water heater and pipes. An entire industry is dedicated to this purpose. You can buy pre-cut pieces of insulation and turn this into your next DIY project.
  • Water heaters have a finite lifespan. That lifespan averages 8-12 years if properly maintained. In fact, we won’t even attempt a repair on a water heater older than 10 years. If you’ve had your water longer than 10 years, you’re going to be blown away at the changes in new water heaters. 

 

So How Low Can You Go?

Water heaters default preset temperature is 120 degrees Fahrenheit and is the recommended temperature setting of the U.S. Department of Energy

At this temperature, most harmful pathogens and bacteria are prevented from multiplying and may be killed. However, the higher the temperature, and higher the chances of eradicating bacteria altogether. OSHA, for example, recommends a temperature of 140 degrees. 

 

 

How Hot is Too Hot?

Water can cause 3rd-degree burns in as little as five seconds at 140 degrees. Thankfully, our homes are equipped with mixing valves that help us control the water’s temp by mixing cold tap water with the hot water coming from the heater. 

 

If you’re ready to upgrade your water heater, give us a call today!