3 Reasons to Lower Your Water Heater’s Temperature
Like many people, you may not even be aware of the fact that you can lower your water heater’s temperature—much less, the fact that there are benefits from doing so. As long as water hot enough for daily use comes out when they open the tap, most homeowners never give it a second thought. Proper water temperature shouldn’t be taken for granted. Water heaters come from the factory with the thermostat pre-set. However, the installer of the unit may alter that temperature, or fail to verify that it is still at its original factory setting at the time of installation. Here are three good reasons to check your thermostat setting yourself and perhaps lower your water heater’s temperature:
- Water above 120 degrees accelerates the accumulation of hard water mineral sediment, especially common calcium carbonate, inside the tank. Sediment accumulation is a trigger for water heater tank corrosion and shortens the expected service life of the entire unit. A layer of sediment in the tank also causes the burner to run longer to heat water, increasing fuel consumption operating costs.
- Water above 120 degrees increases the risk of scalding. Exposure to water at a temperature of 140 degrees can cause severe scalding in as little as 5 seconds of exposure. This is especially dangerous in homes with small children, the elderly, or others who may not be agile enough to quickly react to scalding water.
- Water above 120 degrees causes excessive stand-by heat loss. Hotter water stored in the tank cools faster. This means that a unit on stand-by re-lights the burner more frequently to compensate for heat loss and to bring the water temperature back up to thermostat settings. Frequent burner cycles waste energy and increase operating costs. The average home in the U.S. spends about $300 per year for hot water from a gas-fired water heater. Lowering the temperature from 140 degrees to 120 degrees can reduce standby heat loss and save up to 15 percent in annual water heating expense.