Adjusting your water heater controls
Water that’s too hot scalds and burns. Tepid water, on the other hand, makes for uncomfortable showers. Finding that middle ground where the water out of your tap is Goldilocks “just right” is no easy feat. The trick to just-right water is to get to know the temperature settings on your water heater and what they mean.
Water heater controls aren’t always clearly marked, nor are they easily understood. For example, you may have controls that say no more than “hot” and “warm.” On the other hand, you might find the controls on your water heater are labeled with degrees. In that case, is 80°F hot enough? Is 150°F too high?
Dipping in Your Pinky
If you can’t hold your pinky finger under a faucet in your home when the hot water is on full, then your water heater controls are set at too high of a temperature. If you’d rather not put your pinky at risk, hold a thermometer under the running hot water.
The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your water heater at 120°F for the best energy savings. That’s a fairly common setting anyway and keeps you and your family safe. You won’t get burned for at least five minutes under water set at 120°F. On the other hand, you can get scalded in fewer than about five seconds under water set at 145°F.
Test and Then Test Again
It doesn’t take many turns on the water heater controls to change the temperature. Just move the dial on the water heater in small increments before you test it again. After a shower is a good time to test the water.
After changing the setting on your water heater temperature, you may not feel any difference for a couple hours. It may even take you a few days before you get it to 120°F or the desired setting. To remind yourself to check, keep a thermometer in the bathroom near your shower.
Good for the Environment
As with every aspect of your carbon footprint, the lower your water heater controls, the less energy you burn and the fewer carbon emissions you create. At the same time, comfort and cleanliness are important. As far as getting your dishes clean with hot water that’s not quite scalding, most energy efficient dishwashers have a heat booster built in to make up for lower water temps.
You’ll also save energy and keep your water hotter longer if you:
- Wrap your water heater in an insulated blanket designed just for that purpose.
- Insulate the pipes leading away from the water as well, especially if they are hot to the touch.
- Get regular check-ups to ensure all the parts of your water heater are functioning optimally. A sluggish valve, for example, can lead to backups. And without regular flushing, sediment builds up in the bottom of your water heater, making it less efficient and shortening the life of the unit. Most tankless water heaters require annual flushing in order to maintain the warranty.
- Purchase a new water heater after 12 years at most, the outside limit of how long most traditional, tank-based water heaters last.
- Allow your trusted plumber at Blue Planet Plumbing to set your water heater controls when he checks its operations to protect you and your family from scalding while ensuring you operate your water heater at maximum efficiency.
The Asheville plumbers from Blue Planet Plumbing offer knowledgeable advice so you can make an informed decision. They recommend the most up-to-date, cost-effective and environmentally conscious plumbing available. Call Blue Planet Plumbing at 828-423-6289 for all your plumbing needs.