The water heater thermostat can be turned down to save energy, but there are several things to consider when setting the temperature. This article will explain how to choose the correct setting, reduce the risk of scalding and kill more germs. But be aware that it’s not always the most comfortable setting for you. It’s best to experiment with the settings yourself until you find what works best for you and your home.
Ideal temperature range for a water heater
The ideal temperature range for a water heater varies from one manufacturer to another, but there are certain guidelines that all water heaters should follow. Hot water should be at least 158 degrees Fahrenheit to kill bacteria. Even though this might be too hot for a normal adult, it is still a better option than a cold water heater for households with small children and older residents. Even at 120 degrees, hot water can burn you.
The Energy Department and CDC recommend a temperature range of 120 to 140 degrees for a water heater. For large water heaters used in hospitals and industrial facilities, the ideal temperature range is 130 to 140 degrees. However, for most homes, the recommended temperature range is 120 to 140 degrees. Even though these temperatures are too hot for babies, they are safe for most people. If you’re uncertain about the ideal temperature range for your water heater, make sure to consult with your installer.
Saving energy by turning down your water heater’s thermostat
Depending on the temperature you choose for your water heater, you can save anywhere from three to five percent on your electric bill. Most water heaters are preset at 140 degrees, but you can easily lower this setting to 120 to reduce energy consumption. It still produces enough hot water to use for your needs. Often, lowering your water heater’s temperature will make it last longer and save you money.
Before lowering your water heater’s temperature, you should mark it on its wall. Write down the starting temperature and then turn the thermostat down gradually for a few hours. Once you have achieved the desired temperature, take a temperature reading at the faucet farthest from the water heater. This measurement can be repeated a couple of times until you reach the desired temperature. If it doesn’t, make necessary adjustments until you reach your goal.
Reduces risk of scalding
A higher temperature on water heaters can be more dangerous than a lower one. The CDC recommends avoiding water temperatures between 120 degrees and 140 degrees to protect against Legionnaires’ disease. Legionnaires’ disease is caused by bacteria in water systems that are old, rusty, or poorly maintained. The lower the temperature on your water heater, the higher the risk of scalding for children and elderly people.
Higher temperatures are safer for the elderly and immuno-compromised, but they also pose a higher risk of scalding for young children. If you have a hot water tank booster installed, the water will stay at a safe temperature. Alternatively, you can use a special testing card from your local public health office. However, make sure to always set the temperature at a safe level, such as one of the suggested temperatures for children under three years of age.
Kills more germs
A water heater’s highest temperature setting kills more germs than its lowest setting. While 120 degrees may be sufficient for most homes, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends a higher temperature for homes with susceptible residents. Although this setting is extremely hot and can scald the skin within five seconds, it is not recommended for elderly people and those with weakened immune systems. A higher temperature setting will kill more germs and provide a safer environment for those with compromised immune systems.
According to the American Society of Sanitary Engineering, temperatures in the 95-115degF range provide a thriving environment for legionella bacteria. These temperatures encourage the bacteria to multiply, which results in massive buildups of bacteria. The temperature range of 120degF will stop the growth of legionella bacteria but will not kill them. If the water heater is set at the lowest temperature, legionella bacteria will no longer multiply. If a water heater is set above this temperature, however, the bacteria are still capable of spreading to a new location.