As a responsible homeowner, you want to minimize your energy costs while maintaining the level of comfort and security that your family has come to expect. One of the quickest, easiest ways to reduce your total energy costs is to set your water heater to an efficient temperature. However, there’s a surprisingly robust debate about what qualifies as an ideal water temperature range.
What’s an Efficient Water Heater Temperature?
The appropriate household water temperature range is governed by two competing forces: the need to avoid scalding and the potential for harmful bacteria growth. If your home’s water is too hot, it may be impossible to avoid serious skin burns during prolonged exposure. If it’s too cool, it promotes the growth of legionella bacteria, one of the primary causes of a potentially dangerous type of pneumonia called Legionnaire’s disease. Generally speaking, legionella thrives at temperatures below 110, and unavoidable scalding occurs at temperatures above 140. However, legionella can grow at up to 125 degrees, so it’s advisable to keep your water settings around this mark.
Inefficient Water Heaters Can Cost You
For households that use water at close to the average per capita rate, the EPA advises that every 10 degree reduction in water temperature is good for a 3 to 5 percent reduction in total energy costs. If you drop your water temperature from 145 degrees to 125 degrees, then, you could save as much as 10 percent on your next power bill. This dramatic difference is partially due to the fact that standing water loses heat at a rapid clip. When your heater is set too high, it needs to work hard to keep the water in its tank at the desired temperature.
Although this isn’t a problem for tankless heaters, such equipment poses a different problem. After all, tankless water heaters need to rapidly bring cold water up to the appropriate setting. This can actually be more inefficient than simply heating standing water.
Don’t Push Your Luck
As noted, low water temperatures can put you and your children at risk of developing Legionnaire’s disease. Kids, elderly folks and people with compromised immune systems are particularly prone to this affliction. If such people live in your home, then, it may be worthwhile to eat the additional cost of a 140 degree water heating setting. At this temperature, legionella die almost immediately. Aside from Legionnaire’s disease, low water heater settings can also promote the buildup of minerals and other pollutants that can clog your pipes and necessitate costly cleanings or repairs. Hotter water tends to keep things moving smoothly.
Water Heater Repairs in Des Plaines, IL
Properly set water heaters can provide years of reliable performance, but even the best-made systems require a little TLC. Whether you need water heater troubleshooting tips or think it’s time for a tune up, our friendly service professionals are happy to assist. Just give us a call to learn more!