How to Adjust Your Hot Water Heater Temperature
Lowering your water heater temperature is one way to make substantial energy conscious changes this winter. This recommended energy savings project is your DIY answer for annual energy reduction, lower costs, and less scalding.
Nearly all water heaters are pre-set to 140° Fahrenheit — much hotter than is necessary. If you have young children and are worried about them being scalded when using the hot water faucet, you’re not alone. 140° water increases the risk of burning and scalding.
Households are usually perfectly comfortable with a water heater set to 120°. Beyond obtaining this worry-free and more family-friendly temperature, you’ll also receive a monetary perk — expect up to $30 per every 10° reduction on your annual energy costs.
Sound like a project you’d like to take on? The best part of all is that this process is completely free. Follow our step-by-step instructions to adjust your hot water heater temperature and save money and energy in 2017.
- Before beginning, read through your water heater’s manual. This will offer instructions on how to operate your thermostat.
- If you have a gas water heater, you will find your thermostat near the bottom of the tank, located near the gas valve.
- If you have an electric water heater, you will need a screwdriver because your thermostat will be located behind a screw-on plate. There are often two thermostats on an electric water heater that will both need to be adjusted to the same temperature.
- Remember, if you have any confusion, ask your local HVAC and Plumbing company. Gold Medal Service is here 24/7 for additional instruction, support, and water heater check-ups.
What You’ll Need:
- A thermometer to test the current temperature of your faucet’s hot water.
- A marker to indicate the setting on your water heater. For example, a small piece of blue painter’s tape.
- If you have an electric water heater, you will need the correct screwdriver.
How to Adjust Your Water Heater Temperature: Step-by-Step Instructions
- Take Your Water’s Temperature
Test the current temperature of your hot water by using a thermometer. Go to your kitchen faucet, and turn on the hot water to its hottest point. Wait for the water to get as hot as it can. Then, fill up a glass with the heated water. Place the thermometer in to take its temperature.
- Make Your Mark
Once you know the current temperature of your home’s hot water, mark the setting on your water heater’s thermometer, with a small piece of blue painter’s tape, for example.
- Turn It Down
From that marker, turn the thermostat down the desired amount.
- Repeat Step No. 1
In a couple hours, repeat step No. 1, and take the temperature of your faucet’s hottest water.
- Still Too Hot?
You can continue to readjust the thermostat until you’ve reached the optimal temperature for your home. Again, 120° seems to be a perfect temperature for most households.
- Temperature Just Right?
Move your marker to the new temperature on the thermostat so you have a clear indicator of your heater’s current level and both you and your HVAC specialists can make easy adjustments in the future.
Reasons you may consider keeping your water heater temperature at 140°:
- Does your dishwasher have a booster heater? If not, you may want to keep your hot water temp at 140°, which is the recommended temperature for sanitation when cleaning.
- If you or a family member in the home has a chronic respiratory disease, get further information on whether or not you should reduce the temperature below 140°.
- There are temperature-regulating devices that you can consider as well. Talk to Gold Medal Service about your options when it comes to the temperature of your home’s water.
Watch this video from energy.gov for visual aid and what you should include on your supply list:
More water heater savings tips:
If you plan to be on vacation for more than 5 days to a week, consider turning your thermostat down to the lowest setting or turning off your water heater completely.
If you’re trying to turn off an electric water heater, easily switch off the circuit breaker that controls your water heater. Switch it back on when you return.
For a gas water heater, it’s important to know how to relight your pilot light safely when you return. If you do not know how, obtain this information before attempting to fully turn off your water heater.
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