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Should You Adjust Your Water Heater Temperature?

Adjusting the temperature on your water heater could help you save money, but before you do, here’s what you need to know.

The Right Temperature

If you drop the temperature down too low, you could turn your water heater into a party house for dangerous bacteria. Raising it up too high, on the other hand, could lead to scalding hot showers.

The right temperature for your water heater is 120℉. The US Department of Energy recommends this temperature since it will kill most harmful pathogens. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), however, recommends setting the water heater temperature to 140℉. The higher the temperature, the faster the pathogens will die off.

Having the temperature set at 140℉ does increase the risk of scalding. At this temperature, water can cause a third-degree burn in five seconds. This can be especially dangerous for young children and the elderly.

One solution is to install an anti-scald valve which will ensure the water will never be hotter than 120℉ at the tap, even if the water heater is set to 140℉. It’s best to hire a professional plumber for the job, since the complexity of the job will vary depending on the layout of your plumbing system.

How To Increase Energy Efficiency

Even though we don’t recommend lowering the temperature on your water heater, there are still ways to reduce energy consumption. For example, you could:

  • Use less hot water by taking shorter showers and running the dishwasher instead of washing dishes by hand.
  • Insulate the water and pipes with pre-cut insulation.
  • Replace your water heater after 8-12 years.

When To Replace Your Water Heater

Old water heaters are not very efficient and may not meet modern standards of efficiency. If you’ve had your water heater for about a decade, it may be time for a new one. When searching for a new one, look for the ENERGY STAR rating for maximum energy efficiency. 

Call Avis Home Solutions for water heater recommendations, installation, and maintenance service. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have and guide you through the entire process.

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