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Choosing the Optimal Temperature for Your Water Heater

Water Heaters
Reading Time: 2 minutes

You may not often think about your water heater, but it actually plays a very important part in the plumbing of your home. A poorly functioning water heater could result in bigger electricity bills as well as water that is either piping hot or ice cold. It is important to schedule annual maintenance to ensure that your unit is clean (hard water build-up is damaging to your water heater) and is set to the right temperature range. This will save you money, prolong the life of your water heater, and ensure that you and your family are healthy and happy.

Optimal Water Heater Setting

Professionals recommend keeping your water heater set at a temperature between 130 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Any higher, or lower, could actually be dangerous for you and your family.

While turning the temperature up higher can result in burns, turning it lower than the recommended setting can also be dangerous. In colder water temperatures, bacteria can form in the water heater tank. This could become a health risk for you and your family, potentially exposing you to health hazards such as Legionnaires’ disease.

This illness is a type of pneumonia and the bacteria that causes the illness can thrive in a water tank between the temperatures of 77 degrees and 113 degrees Fahrenheit.

Check Your Water Heater Temperature

If you are concerned that your water heater is set at an incorrect temperature — either too high or too low — call in a plumber who will be able to easily check the setting with a special thermometer and adjust as necessary.

If the temperature has been adjusted on the water tank but you do not seem to be noticing any difference in water temperature, a professional will also be able to check for sediment buildup and calcification in the hot water tank itself. Another indication that sediment may have built up in the tank is if you hear hissing or sizzling noises.

A professional can drain the tank and then attempt to fix the problem by scraping off any scale that may have built up over time and soaking the elements.

Life Expectancy of a Water Heater

Most hot water heaters are expected to last anywhere from 8 to 12 years. If you have a water heater that is 10 years or older, and appears to be leaking or is having some issues working, you might want to consider replacing it altogether, rather than just making a repair that will only temporarily solve the problem.

Maintenance of a Water Heater

Like with any appliance, a little upkeep and maintenance can go a long way toward extending the life of your water heater and keeping it in good working order. You may want to consider doing this maintenance with a professional in order to keep your water heater working properly.

Definitely keep your water heater set between the optimal temperatures. This will prevent any bacteria from forming in the cold water and prevent scalding you with a hotter-than-expected shower.

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