There are benefits and drawbacks to choosing between having your water heater set at 120 or 140 degrees. Careful assessment of your needs and matching them with the information below will help you make the best decision for your household.
Real Monetary Savings
Dropping the temperature of your water heater by a mere 20 degrees can save a few dollars on your bill every month. Your water heater will not only catch a break from heating the water all the way to 140 degrees, but it will be in the clear of maintaining that temperature in the holding tank. Every dollar saved helps you stay within a budget. It can be important if high energy costs make home financial management a struggle.
Upgrading your water heater will provide a unit that is more energy-efficient than older models. One additional way to reduce energy and be kinder to the environment is to set the temperature of the water heater down to 120 degrees. You will still have hot water, but reduce the energy used by as much as 15 or 20 percent overall.
Reduce Mineral Build-Up
Mineral deposits are a big factor in causing clogs and reduced pressure in your plumbing system. The deposits slowly coat the inner surface and begin to thin the passageway in the pipes. Hot water can contribute to this problem. Cooler water tends to allow for less mineral build-up. Dropping the temperature of your water heater a few degrees can make a noticeable difference.
Prevent Hot Water Burns
Temperatures of up to 140 degrees can cause scalding burns on the sensitive areas of skin. You may want to consider reducing the temperature of the water heater to 120 degrees to lessen the risk of injury to children and elderly. Water that is 120 degrees is still hot to the touch but without the immediate scalding capabilities of higher temperatures. You will have to weigh out the potential risks and benefits.
Incomplete Bacteria Removal
The temperature of 120 degrees is enough to kill many types of bacteria, but there are some that survive. One that is known to cause serious lung illness is Legionnaires Disease. The water heater has to be set at 140 degrees to kill this bacteria. You may want to consider leaving the water heater at the higher temperature if the water is stored a long time before use, or you have a compromised immune system.
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