Something as easy as reducing your water heater temperature can lower energy consumption and save money every month. The typical family spends up to one-quarter of its total energy budget on heating water. Turning down the temperature not only saves energy, but also increases the tank’s lifetime and improves safety.
Most water heater manufacturers set the water heater temperature to high or 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The water heater can be turned down to 120 degrees without creating a hardship for bathing, cooking, and cleaning.
Thermostat accuracy varies widely and the only way to know its real temperature is to test it. The best way to learn the current temperature of your water is to use an instant-read thermometer at the hot water faucet closest to the water heater. Run the water for three minutes before filling a cup to test its temperature.
How do you access your thermostat? Different systems vary:
- Electric water heaters. Some electric water heaters have two heating elements and two thermostats, one of which sits near the bottom and the other closer to the top. You may need to remove a metal plate that hides the thermostat for access.
- Gas water heaters. Turn the dial to a lower setting.
Wait for 24 hours before retesting the water heater temperature to verify that it is at or near 120 degrees.
Besides cutting your gas or electric bill, turning down the thermostat also prolongs the water heater’s lifetime. A lower water heater setting forms fewer hard water deposits at the base of the tank. A buildup of this sediment shortens the life of the tank. Additionally, a lower temperature reduces scalding injuries. Skin will quickly burn when exposed to water over 130 degrees.
- Holding water at 120 degrees may allow the growth of Legionella bacteria, a health hazard for people of any age with compromised immune or respiratory systems.
- Dishwashers without a heat-booster coil may not work as effectively, especially if you don’t rinse the dishes before loading them.
To learn more about adjusting your water heater temperature and saving energy, contact Rinaldi’s Energy Solutions, providing outstanding HVAC and plumbing services for Orlando homeowners.
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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