Don’t get burned: Adjust your hot water heater temperature

June 26, 2015

Is the hot water in your home too hot? Scalding hot water from the faucet can be dangerous for kids and adults alike. However, most people don’t have the slightest idea that water temperature can be adjusted let alone what is safe.

Recommendations and Ideal Temperature

Most manufacturers recommend that you set the temperature of your home’s hot water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit for two reasons.

First and foremost, this is a safe level that won’t accidentally scald a member of your family. Most people find this level satisfactory for washing their hands and doing their dishes without worrying about bacteria and sanitation concerns.

Secondly, keeping your hot water heater at 120 degrees will save you money compared to higher temps by saving energy. Manufacturers aren’t the only organizations that recommend this temperature setting, either; the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends 120 degrees, too!

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), on the other hand, makes a slightly higher recommendation: 140 degrees Fahrenheit under special circumstances. By raising the temperature 20 degrees, you make it harder for bacteria to grow. Some people find that their dishwater gives off a foul odor due to bacteria, but following the OSHA recommendation will help ensure that your dishes are clean and sanitary by killing them at a higher temperature.

Checking the Temperature of Your Water

If you’re wondering what temperature your water is set to, you can test it from a regular faucet in your house (preferably whichever is closest to the heater itself).

Before you test the water temperature, it is best to let your water heater sit unused for an hour. Once you’re ready, turn on the hot water and let the faucet run for at least 1 minute. Cold pipes have the ability to cool hot water down, but this will help them warm up so you can get a more accurate reading.

Fill a glass with water (make sure that’s not cold either!) and use a standard thermometer to figure out the temperature. Be careful! It’s hot water after all.

Safety Concerns

No matter what, remember this much: If you are unsure of yourself or don’t know what you are doing, call a knowledgeable plumber! When in doubt, it is much better to work with a qualified professional than risk your safety and the safety of others.

Hot water is just that: hot! Scalding hot water can easily burn a child, and unfortunately, these kinds of injuries happen every year. Though minor burns can be treated at home, serious burns could require a visit to the hospital, so always err on the side of caution.

Ensure the comfort and safety of your family by setting your hot water heater to a safe and appropriate level. If you don’t know how, we’re always here to help! Contact Save Home Heat Co. today if you have questions!