How to Check the Temperature on Your Water Heater

Save energy by setting your water heater temperature appropriately

Whether you are taking a shower in the morning to invigorate yourself for the day, or a bath in the evening to relax and unwind before bed, running out of hot water can definitely put a damper on your mood.  Luckily, many issues you may have with your water, such as it being too hot, too cold, or taking too long to warm up, can be resolved by calling a licensed plumber to adjust the thermostat on your water heater.

If you suspect that water temperature is the culprit in the issues you are having and would like to check it, you should let one hour go by without running any water.  Your next step is to go to the tap closest to your hot water heater, run the hot water freely for 60 seconds, and then fill a coffee mug with it.  You can measure the temperature of the water in the mug with either a cooking thermometer or one made to test candy.  If you find the temperature needs adjusting, your best course of action is to call a licensed plumber.

While you may be tempted to adjust the temperature on your own, it is strongly advised you do not.  The reason for this is that it is way too easy to accidentally set your water to a temperature that will cause scalding burns.  For example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that your hot water heater be set to 120 degrees in order to save energy and prevent scalding the skin of any small children or elderly adults in your home.  120-degree water can scald an individual within 20 seconds, which provides some reaction time to move away from the water.  However, that scalding time reduces to 10 seconds in the 130-degree water, and 1 second at 140 degrees.  A licensed plumber will have the knowledge needed to keep you and your family safe from harm.