When it’s hot outside, you’ll notice that even when you turn on the cold water, the water coming out isn’t all that cold. That’s because as outside temperatures heat up, so does the temperature of the water in your pipes.
This is an area where you can discover considerable savings. Your hot water heater is the second-largest energy consumer in your home, just after your HVAC system, so make sure you’re only asking it to work as hard as it needs to — and no more.
Adjust Your Water Heater and Save
Summertime is ideal to adjust the temperature on your hot water heater. You don’t need it to work as hard because it’s warmer outside, so why pay more to have it work harder?
Manufacturers will typically preset hot water heaters up to 120 degrees, or somewhere in that range. Most homeowners don’t think about this setting ever again. They simply use the hot water, and the 120-degree temperature is great for washing dishes and clothes — but it’s not ideal for showering and bathing in summer.
Studies show that decreasing your hot water heater’s temperature by 10 degrees leads to five percent in savings. Those savings can add up from late spring through early fall.
What’s the best setting for summertime? It’s always a good idea to stay between 110 and 120 degrees. Closer to 110 during summer is a good idea, and closer to 120 in winter is a good idea, too. This range may not sound like a large swing, but you’ll notice the difference when you get under the stream of water when you shower. Even making these minor changes in the setting of your hot water can lead to the perfect level of comfort at your home.
How to Change the Setting
OK, so you’re ready to change your hot water heater’s temperature setting — where do you start?
Your hot water heater should have a temperature dial, but these dials are notoriously inaccurate. That means it’s important to take the water’s temperature yourself.
Use a meat or candy thermometer, something capable of reading higher temperatures, and take the temperature of your hot water at the water stream that is farthest from your heater. You can also fill a cup with the hot water and measure the temperature from there so you aren’t just leaving the faucet running.
If your water temperature is higher than you want, adjust the dial on your water heater to the desired setting. Wait a few minutes, and then take the temperature again at that same stream of water. Test out different settings until you arrive at the perfect summertime temperature for your showers and baths.
When to Call a Professional
While this may sound like a simple process, it can descend into frustration fairly easily. Capturing an accurate temperature isn’t always easy when using a thermometer at a water stream, and those notoriously inaccurate dials can also drive a homeowner crazy.
You can always call in a professional to provide assistance. It’s a good idea to have your hot water heater examined and serviced once or twice a year anyway. Call a service provider and set up your inspection for the months leading up to summer and the months leading up to winter. That way, your professional can adjust the hot water heater’s temperature as appropriate — and ensure you get the hot water you need at the lowest possible cost.
At Summers & Zim’s, we are your good-natured plumbers — home service professionals you can count on to get the job done and to get it done with a service-first attitude. We know hot water heaters and other home appliances inside and out, and we can deliver the dependable and effective service you need, whether for a hot water heater adjustment or another repair or maintenance task.
Contact us today for help in resetting your hot water heater’s temperature or other home service needs.