Heater Safety and Efficiency
|"Hot tap water accounts for nearly one-fourth
of all scald burns among children and is associated with more deaths and
hospitalizations than other hot liquid burns. Tap-water burns most often
occur in the bathroom and tend to be more severe and cover a larger portion
of the body than other scald burns."
Safe Kids Campaign
This statement should cause us to ask ourselves,
"Just how hot is hot enough?"
The United States Department of Energy
recommends that water heaters be set no higher than 120 degrees, which
is adequate for most household chores with a minimal risk of scalding.
The only appliance that requires water hotter than 120 degrees is the dishwasher.
Since most dishwashers pre-heat the water to the proper temperature, this
should not be a problem. Check to be sure your dishwasher does have
this feature before reducing the temperature on your water heater.
Lowering the temperature not only makes
your home safer, it saves you money. Reducing the water heater temperature
just 10 degrees can save as much as 3 - 5 percent of the part of your energy
bill that goes to heat water.
Most water heaters come from the factory
set at the MEDIUM setting which is about 140 degrees. Setting your
temperature to LOW/WARM should keep the temperature at about 120 degrees.
Be careful not to set the thermostat below 120 degrees because you will
have to use more heated water to get the same temperature at the shower
head or faucet.
If you are going to be gone from home for
at least three days, you can save money by turning the water heater down
or off. Electric water heaters are easy to turn off by switching
the circuit breaker off. Gas water heaters can be set to their lowest
setting. Make sure you know how to relight the pilot light before
turning your gas water heater completely off. If you have to ask
the gas company to come relight it, they will probably charge you for the
For more information on these and other
tips on energy-efficient water heating, visit the United States Department
of Energy at http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumerinfo/factsheets/eewtrhtr.html