Did you know that your water heater makes up 18% of your home’s energy bills? The temperature of your water heater is a big deal. Your water heater has a maximum setting that controls the hot water faucets in your home or business. Many people don’t consider the fact that the setting is customizable; in fact, it can be very easily adjusted.
A new water heater is usually set at the maximum temperature by the installation service which is 140° Fahrenheit. Some argue that 120° F is better. Here is what our experts have to say:
Water heaters can be powered by electricity or gas. The power source doesn’t just heat the water but also controls water storage in the tank in a way that provides you with hot water on demand. This 20° F decrease in temperature reduces the amount of energy used.
Energy savings help sustain the environment better and are beneficial to your wallet too. Turning down your water heater saves you up to $60 a year.
Water at lower temperatures is less likely to leave mineral deposits in the water pipes. This reduces the problems created by hard water like plumbing buildup and hard-to-clean bathroom fixtures. The water flow in your home’s pipes will remain unobstructed by having water 20° F lower.
Water at 140° F can be hazardous. This temperature can cause serious burns within a few seconds of contact. Children and the elderly are more sensitive to burns and the effect of scalding temperatures.
Given the risk of scalding, why would anyone risk using a higher temperature?
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration 140° is considered a safe temperature. The website specifically states that bacteria are killed at this temperature. Bacteria that can spread Legionnaires’ disease (pneumonia-like disease) are killed at 140° Fahrenheit. However, homeowners don’t have to be too concerned as most bacteria are eliminated at 120° F.
Turning down or turning up your water heater’s temperature is a fairly easy task and doesn’t incur risk. If you have elderly family members in your home or little ones, it’s best to keep the level at 120° F to prevent any scalding accidents. The danger of getting burnt is far higher than the strain of bacteria.
If the area you live in is prone to LDB bacteria, you must turn up the temperature. You don’t have to start digging up the archives of your town to determine if you at risk. Notifications are sent out if there is a risk of LDB in the water supply.