Your water heater is arguably the biggest consumer of energy among your household appliances and devices. In the average American home, a water heating system accounts for nearly 18% of the overall power consumption, according to the department of energy.
Ensuring that your water heater is set to the ideal temperature may not only help significantly reduce your monthly energy bills, but will also help prolong its life. But what is the recommended water heater setting?
According to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, you should set your water heater’s temperature between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Any lower, or higher, could actually cause potential danger for you and your family.
Whereas setting your heater’s temperature up higher can easily lead to burns, turning it lower can encourage the growth of bacteria inside your water tank, potentially exposing as well as your family members to health hazards, including Legionnaires’ disease!
So, why is it recommended that you don’t set your water heater temp too high (above 140 degrees Fahrenheit)?
There are lots of reasons why you should never set your water heating device’s temperature relatively higher.
A qualified plumbing technician will advise you that setting your system temp too high can pose a potential danger to your health as well as that of your family.
What’s more, extremely high heater temp settings can not only impact the health of your heater itself, but can equally drive up your monthly energy bills significantly.
Reasons why you shouldn’t turn up your heating unit’s temperature too high
Surging monthly energy bills
As already explained, a water heater set overly high can easily skyrocket your monthly electricity bills. According to Energy Department, a water heating system can waste at least $40 annually because of standby heat losses.
Thankfully, you can potentially save up to 20% every year by lowering your heater’s temperature. This is simply because it helps minimize standby heat loss, ultimately resulting in reduced total energy usage.
The risk of scalding accidents
It is imperative to note that hot tap water is a leading cause of burns. Scald burns are a huge concern, particularly if there are children below the age of five and the elderly aged 65 and above residing in your home; two groups of people at the highest risk of suffering scald burns.
It is worth noting that younger children usually have fairly thinner skin, making them highly susceptible to burns. In fact, at least three hundred children aged between 0 and 19 are treated in various emergency rooms across the U.S for burn-related injuries daily, with at least two of them succumbing to their burn injuries.
On the other hand, the elderly people’s skin is less sensitive to heat, and this perhaps makes them slower to respond to scalding waters.
But of course, even a very healthy individual is at risk of suffering first-degree burns within two seconds when subjected to water with a temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
It may minimize the lifespan of your unit
Water heating units can be a huge investment, and this is why you want yours to serve you for an extended period. Experts have proven that excessively high water temperatures can result in the accumulation and deposition of hard water mineral sediments, particularly calcium carbonate, at the base of your storage tank.
And this unwanted accumulation will, in turn, lead to corrosion of the tank, drastically shortening the expected life of your unit.
What’s more, the rust created as a result of the corrosion can cause leaks as well as water contamination. In case you didn’t know, rust accumulation in a heater’s storage tank is the primary cause of heater breakdowns.
Why you should not set your heater temperature setting too low?
As already mentioned, setting your unit’s temp too low can cause unwanted health concerns. To be more precise, it can expose you to Legionnaires’ disease.
Research has proven that nearly one hundred Americans are hospitalized because of a certain bacterial infection that is spread by water taps annually! And nearly 10% of the country’s death rates emanate from diseases associated with the bacteria.
The bacteria associated with this particular illness is the Legionella bacteria, which is predominantly found in low-temperature water, usually below 120 degrees Fahrenheit. You can contract the disease by inhaling water droplets in the atmosphere where the bacteria are present.
However, in general, residential water heating plays a significant role in the growth of these bacteria. Studies have revealed that vast cases of Legionnaires’ disease transmission came from drinking water distribution in private homes.
And those who are susceptible to infection are children, the elderly, sickly patients, those with compromised immune systems as well as heavy smokers!
The Bottom line
As you may have seen, setting the right temperature for your water heater is crucial because it impacts your overall wellbeing in a number of ways. As experts in the industry, we recommend a temperature of between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
But if you have kids and a few older people in your household, it is highly advisable that you set the temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit simply because it’s not only recommended by EPA, but also safe for the general population!