Most of us are pretty spoiled when it comes to having hot water in our homes. We turn on the faucet or shower and have the hot water we want in a matter of seconds. And that is thanks to one of the unsung heroes of every household, the water heater. But what you might not know is that the temperature of your hot water can be adjusted at your water heater. And there can be some very significant reasons for adjusting the temperature setting on your water heater that range from decreasing your monthly energy cost to increase the safety of your loved ones.
Taking Cost Into Consideration
In most homes, the water heater accounts for almost 20% of the energy consumption. And if you have your water heater set very high, you could be wasting a lot of money. Think of all of the hours of the day when no one is home. No one is using hot water, but the water heater is still maintaining that 80 or more gallons of water at a very high temperature. The same is true at night when everyone is asleep. So turning your water heater down a few degrees means that it can be far more efficient during the hours that no one is using hot water.
To determine if you want to turn down the temperature on your water heater, turn on a hot water faucet and let it run for a minute or two. If the water is too hot to wash your hands, then it is a good indication that you can safely turn your water heater down a few degrees. This process will help to reduce the energy being used to heat and maintain your hot water, and it will reduce your energy bill. In general, you can expect to save between 3 and 5 percent of your energy bill for every 10 degrees that you decrease the temperature setting on your water heater.
Water Heater Temps And Health Concerns
It might surprise you to learn that you can have your water heater set too low. You can have your water heater low enough for the water to feel too cold to be comfortable for bathing, but you can also have water that is too cold to be safe for your health. The reason for this safety concern is that any water maintained below 120 degrees is not hot enough to stop the growth of bacteria. Water that is below 120 can become stagnant and can develop Legionella. So to maintain your hot water bacteria-free, be sure that your water heater is set to at least 120 degrees. Also, if your automatic dishwasher does not heat the water before a wash cycle, meaning it relies on your water heater for hot water, keep your water heater set to 140 degrees to ensure the cleanliness of your dishes.
Safety For Children And Elderly Loved Ones
We all know that small children and the elderly have more sensitive or delicate skin than the average adult. With this in mind, keeping the temperature of your water tank lower is a smart way to ensure the safety of both children and older loved ones. According to BabyCenter.com, “It takes just two seconds for a child to receive third-degree burns from water that is 150 degrees and five seconds if it is 140 degrees, the temperatures at which hot water heaters often leave the factory.” This measure will not eliminate the possibility of a burn, but it will significantly increase your loved one’sone’s safety.
Where To Begin
If resetting the temperature of your water heater sounds like a good idea, but you are not sure what will be best for your household, there is a simple process to follow. Start with a setting of 120 degrees and “test the water” for a few days. If this is not warm enough to suit you, then increase the temperature by five degrees and try that for a few days. Continue with the five-degree increases until you find your perfect water heater temperature.
To learn more about caring for your water heater and how to get the most energy efficiency from your unit, call the plumbing professionals at Metroplex Leak & Line for advice or to schedule maintenance for your water heater. One call to (214) 388-4525 will put you in touch with a team member who is ready to help you.