Understanding how your water heater works allow you to be more involved in energy efficiency in your home. For example, lowering the temperature setting of your water heater can help you reduce both energy consumption and utility bills without compromising your hot water needs.

Most manufacturers design their heaters to store water in the tank at a default setting of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. However, turning the setting down to 120 degrees will save on energy bills while still providing sufficient hot water. A substantial amount of the savings from lowering the temperature are due to less ambient heat loss through the walls of the water tank. Any tank-based water heater system is going to be subject to standby heat loss, and the higher the water is kept, the more heat will escape, causing the unit’s heating element to run harder and longer.

Another advantage to lowering the temperature of a water heater is that it will reduce the risk of scalding. At 140 degrees, the water can pose a safety risk, especially to children. Dropping it to only 20 degrees significantly decreases this risk. Before changing the setting on your water heater, check that none of your appliances require high water temperatures. Some are specifically designed to only work with water input between 130- and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Furthermore, some health conditions, such as suppressed immune systems or chronic respiratory diseases can be treated with very hot water. Symptoms related to these ailments could be made worse when exposed to lower water temperatures.

If you have any questions regarding the water heating system in our northern New Jersey home, please contact us at Pipe Works Services We look forward to helping with your plumbing, heating, and air conditioning projects. Our goal is to help educate our customers in Chatham, NJ, and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about water heaters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide. Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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