Anytime you fill up your tub to take a hot bath, what is the first thing you do? You slowly stick your toe into the water to make sure the temperature is perfect, right? Testing the water is important because if you just take the chance and jump right in you run the risk of burning yourself. However, a dial that is connected to your water heater determines the temperature of your hot water. And making sure this dial is set on the correct temperature is something every homeowner should pay attention to because it can end up saving you money and maybe even a third degree burn.
Experts agree that all heaters, whether they are traditional or tankless, should be set to 120 degrees. This temperature is hot enough to get you, your clothes, and dishes clean, but at the same time is not too hot to burn you.
“Most water heater manufacturers recommend that your heater should be set to 120 degrees, and if you were to buy a tankless heater then it would come factory set at 120 degrees making it really difficult to adjust,” said John Moore Services Senior Operations Manager Joe Bany. “When you buy a traditional heater it has a dial, like a radio volume dial, and has different settings. One is the factory setting of 120 degrees, one is a little bit cooler and one is hotter. But going hotter than the manufacturer recommends is dangerous and the reason for that is scald control.”
What if I like my water really hot?
Everyone enjoys taking a hot shower or bath, and if our water were not heated to a certain degree then this wouldn’t be possible. However, going against the recommendations of the manufacturer and setting your heater to any degree higher than 120 will cause problems and end up costing you more money each month.
“There is a misconception that if I turn my temperature higher than I am going to get hot water faster but that is not true,” said Bany. “The water still has to travel the same distance, and all that will happen is you are going to pay more for water that is too hot to use. Once you start adjusting the temperature of the heater you are immediately shortening the life of your heater. It may last the same amount of time but I guarantee you are going to have to replace some major and expensive parts during its lifetime. Something you wouldn’t have to do if you keep the temperature set where it should be.”
What harm can be done with a little adjustment?
You might not think that by adjusting the temperature 10 or 20 degrees that you are doing much harm, but you would be surprised. If you set your temperature higher than 120 degrees, two major things can happen: burns and a shortened lifespan for your heater.
Many household burns are caused by hot water coming out of a faucet. Right now you are probably thinking that 120 degrees is hot, so wouldn’t you get burned anyway? And the answer to that is no. If you have your heater set to 120, the water must first travel through your pipes in order to reach your faucet. As the water flows, it cools down, so by the time it reaches you it is a temperature that you can handle. But if you have your heater set to 140 degrees, the water that is coming out of the faucet will be a scalding 120, which can cause major burns to the skin in as little as 40 seconds.
“Another reason for keeping your temperature set at 120 is to prolong the life of your heater. If you have them burn at a higher temperature you are causing them to work much harder than they are designed to do,” said Bany. “In fact, many tankless water heater manufacturers will void the warranty if they figure out that you have increased the temperature. I always say this, if I had a car and you had a car, and I took great care of mine and you drove yours fast and never got its oil changed, whose car do you think will last the longest?”
Don’t take the risk of setting the temperature of your water heater too high. If you have any questions on how to set the temperature on your water heater call the expert plumbers at John Moore Services. We have years of plumbing experience and want to help you and your families stay safe.