Lower Hot Water Temperature
You can reduce your water heating costs by simply lowering the thermostat setting on your water heater. For each 10ºF reduction in water temperature, you can save about 4% in energy costs.
Many water heaters are installed with their thermostats preset at 140ºF. Most families really only need them set at 120ºF or even 115ºF. Water heated to 140ºF can pose a safety hazard in the form of scalding, especially where young children live.
If your automatic dishwasher does not have its own built-in water heater, it may require a water temperature within a range of 130ºF to 140ºF for best cleaning.
A lower water temperature also helps your system operate with better efficiency and for a longer lifetime of useful service, because reducing your water temperature to 120ºF slows mineral buildup and corrosion in your water heater and pipes.
Read your water heater owner's manual to learn how to properly operate its thermostat. The thermostat dial for a gas storage water heater is typically near the bottom of the tank on the gas valve. Alternatively, Electric water heaters may have thermostats positioned behind screw-on plates or panels. Always play it safe and shut off the electricity to the water heater before removing or opening the panels. Be aware that electric water heaters often have two thermostats; one each for the upper and lower heating elements.
Before changing the current setting, mark the beginning temperature on the thermostat dial for future reference. After turning it down, check the water temperature with a thermometer at the tap farthest from the water heater. Thermostat dials are often inaccurate. Several adjustments may be necessary before you get the right temperature. Thermostat dials are often inaccurate. Several adjustments may be necessary before you get the right temperature. When you are satisfied that you have found the best setting, you should mark the adjusted temperature on the dial for future reference.
If activities keep you away from home for 3 days or more, turn the thermostat down to the lowest setting or completely turn off the water heater. To turn off an electric water heater, switch off the circuit breaker to it. For a gas water heater, make sure you know how to safely relight the pilot light before turning it off. If you don't know how, just leave it at the lowest setting to avoid a safety risk. Remember to turn the thermostat up again upon your return!
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