Turning Down the Temperature on Your Water Heater Can Save You Money

Your water heater temperature may be too high for both optimum economy and vital safety. In a typical home, annual water heating costs exceed $400. The temperature of hot water and the operating costs to produce it are directly related. For example, by reducing the water heater temperature by 10 degrees, you can cut up to 5 percent off that annual expense. Conversely, as water temperatures go up, so do the dangers of scalding. 120-degree water takes at least 5 minutes of direct exposure to cause scalding. However, 140-degree water can inflict second or third-degree burns in as little as 5 seconds.

Who Turned Up The Heat?

If your water heater temperature is too high, you may be wondering who in the family fiddled with the thermostat dial and cranked it up. The truth may well be nobody. Often, water heaters are shipped from the factory with the thermostat already pre-set as excessively high as 140 degrees and simply installed that way.

How To Turn It Down

Here’s how to cut water heating costs and reduce scalding hazards by lowering water heater temperature:

  • Locate the thermostat, usually a notched dial near the bottom of a gas-fired heater or higher up on an electric heater.
  • Ignore the displayed thermostat setting. Most are inaccurate and not a reliable indicator of the temperature of hot water actually coming out of household taps. Mark the present setting with a pencil or pen.
  • Open the hot water tap in the house furthest from the heater. When the water becomes hot, check the temperature with a cooking thermometer. Back at the water heater, turn the thermostat dial down a few notches and make a new setting mark.
  • Wait a few hours for the temperature setting change to have an effect, then test the water temperature at the furthest tap again. Using this trial-and-error method, after several measurements and readjustments, you’ll get the temperature down to 120 degrees. Mark that spot on the thermostat dial with a permanent marker for future reference.

In San Antonio, for professional service to set your water heater temperature, contact Beyer Boys.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Antonio, Texas area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Serenethos/Shutterstock”

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