Adjusting Your Water Heater Temperature: Should You Do It?

By Thornton Plumbing and Heating

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Water heaters are the primary source of high energy consumption for most homes. If you need to make a few cutbacks, adjusting your water heater temperature is a great place to start.

However, if you set the temperature too low, bacteria will develop on your water heater. On the other hand, setting the temperature too high might lead to a scalding accident.

To ensure you steer clear from either of those scenarios, our experience plumbers in Salt Lake City have the best tips for adjusting your water heater’s temperature. Let’s get into it!

How Low Can You Set the Temperature?

The minimum temperature of your water heater should be 120 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, harmful pathogens are killed and prevented from spreading.

As you ramp up your water heater’s temperature, these pathogens will die quicker. So, for households with weak immune systems, the best minimum temperature is 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

But if everyone in your home has a strong immune system, 120 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal.

What About Boiling Hot Water?

At 140 degrees Fahrenheit, water can cause third-degree burns within seconds. Children are more vulnerable to boiling water as their skin is thinner compared to adults. Elderly folk are also vulnerable as they have a slower reaction time or sensitive skin.

To avoid this, get anti-scald valves. Install these valves at each point of hot water contact to keep your temperature set at 140 degrees. And to ensure the water doesn’t get hotter than 120 degrees when flowing through your faucets.

What About Energy Efficiency?

It’s essential to save energy and money where you can. But your family’s safety is the first priority.

Here are a few ways to cut costs while not using your water heater’s thermostat:

  • Use less hot water. Make shower times shorter and use a dishwasher instead of handwashing your dishes as it consumes less water.
  • Insulate your hot water heater and pipes. This is a seamless DIY project to do, and you can buy pre-cut insulation pieces for this purpose.
  • Replace your water heater. If maintained properly, a water heater lasts anywhere between 8-12 years. Older water heaters or water heaters that need maintenance will not efficiently save energy.

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