Water heater temperature has a significant impact on home energy usage. The federal Energy Star program states that about 17 percent of the average home’s energy bill is attributed to water heating costs. That comes as no surprise considering that the water heater is essentially “on” all of the time heating, re-heating and maintaining stored water.
As hot water leaves the water heater for clothes washing, bathing or other hot water outlet, cold water flows into the tank to replenish the water supply. As cold water mixes with hot, the water temperature drops and the gas valve or electric heating elements power on to bring the water back to temperature, which is typically 140 degrees from the manufacturer.
Hot water at temperatures this high use excessive energy, may cause scalding, make your water heater work harder, and contribute to faster tank and pipe corrosion. Follow these tips to lower your water heater temperature to 120 degrees, which is suggested by the federal Energy Star program.
Lowering Hot Water Temperature
- The first task you want to do is find out the temperature of your hot water. Using a thermometer, measure hot water temperature from the faucet most distant from the water heater. Let the hot water flow a few minutes to ensure accuracy (the pipes need to warm up).
- For gas water heaters, simply turn back the thermostat which you’ll find located on the gas valve.
- The dial for electric water heaters is located behind a panel on the tank. There may be two panels for newer water heaters that have two heating elements.
- Before you remove the panel or panels, turn off the electricity at the circuit box.
- Remove the panel or panels and turn back the dials.
- Wait three hours to allow the water to cool down to the new setting.
- Check the hot water temperature again at the most distant faucet.
- Repeat these steps until hot water is at 120 degrees.
If you have questions about lowering water heater temperature or would like to know more ways to save energy in your Northeast Ohio home, contact Stack Heating & Cooling.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Cleveland, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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