Cleveland HVAC Blog

Don’t Set Hot Water Temperatures Too High

Posted by Paul Wadsworth on Fri, Nov 19, 2010 @ 01:20 PM

For anyone looking to save money in their energy bills, one of the simplest places to start is with the water heater.  Your water heater can consume as much as 20% of your gas costs. Here at P.K. Wadsworth, we’ve noticed that a lot of homes have their water heaters set too high. The simple fact is that most Cleveland-area homeowners, and even many plumbers, would rather error on the side of too hot.

Unfortunately, running a water heater like that wastes money every single day. Think about it – you’re using energy to heat water to a hot temperature, and then adding cold water to cool it off to the desired tempaerature at the faucet or shower head. It’s a built-in energy waste!

Most people we talk to don’t really know how high a water heater should be set to. They don’t have a clear sense of exactly what the temperature is as it comes out of a shower or tap. But most water heaters will go 120 degrees or more, which is hot enough to scald a person.

And would you believe by setting your water heater too high, you might actually be breaking the law? In many municipalities, zoning laws prohibit water temperatures over 120 degrees.

One of the reasons we’ve heard for people running their water heater so hot is that they feel it’s safer for laundry, to sanitize the clothes more. But that’s just not really necessary anymore; harmful bacteria and contaminants are removed adequately at lower temperatures through the action of the soap and the rinsing action of the water.

Adjusting the temperature setting on any water heater is a relatively simple process, but it varies among several different types. You can consult your water heater’s manual to find the correct procedure. Regardless of the model, it’s usually just a few quick steps.

To arrive at a more efficient setting for your water heater, start with small adjustments, allowing the system to stabilize overnight. Keep working the temperature down until you don’t need much cold water to make the temperature comfortable.

Then keep an eye on your energy bills and enjoy the savings.  You might be surprised by how much it can add up in a short time.

P.K. Wadsworth services the Greater Cleveland, OH area including cities Chagrin Falls, Shaker Heights, Eastlake or anywhere in between.  To get started, check out our website.

Topics: Cleveland, energy bills, water heaters

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