Water heater temperature has a direct impact on water heating costs. The average family in the U.S. with a gas-fired water heater spends over $350 a year for hot water. In many cases, they may be unaware that the thermostat setting on their water heater is higher than necessary or safe. Many water heaters come off the assembly line with thermostat pre-set as high as 140 degrees.
To maintain that heat, the burner cycles on and off more frequently, reducing energy efficiency and boosting monthly utility costs. It’s also a safety issue — at that temperature, less than 5 seconds exposure can cause serious scalds.
Reduce hot water costs by almost 10 percent — as well as the risks of scalding — by lowering water heater temperature down to 120 degrees or less. Making that adjustment isn’t a matter of simply turning down the thermostat, however. The actual temperature of hot water coming out of the plumbing in the house is often quite different from the setting on the thermostat dial. To get accurate water temperature, here’s a simple procedure:
- Make a reference mark on the water heater thermostat dial to indicate its present setting.
- Go to the household tap located furthest from the water heater and turn on the hot water. Using a cooking thermometer, check the actual temperature of water coming out of the tap.
- Return to the water heater and turn the thermostat dial down a few notches. You’ll need to wait at least two hours now for the change to affect temperature of water in the tank.
- After a couple of hours have elapsed, check the temperature of hot water at the tap again. If it’s still too high, lower the thermostat again, wait two hours and re-check water temperature with the thermometer.
- Repeat this process as many times as necessary to get actual water temperature down to 120 degrees or lower at the tap. Once you’re there, make a second mark on the thermostat dial to indicate the preferred lower setting for future reference.
For more about reducing water heater temperature for lower costs and greater safety, contact Rinaldi’s Energy Solutions.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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