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Q: Our water heater is on its last legs. But I wouldn't go through too big of an effort to change the settings on an old water heater. If you’re looking to shave a few dollars off your next heating bill, consider lowering your water heater’s temperature setting to the 100–110 °F (38–43 °C) range. A water heater set to 120 degrees may be just fine for most people. While most water heater thermostats can be set at 150 degrees, or higher, manufacturers post warnings that settings over 125 degrees can scald the skin. I set mine at 125F, which is the recommended setting for my REEM water heater. Heating large quantities of water gets expensive fast. Having them used evenly will spread out the minimum time to replacement. Even a small change can save you big over the course of a few months. The Department of Energy recommends having your tank-based hot water heater set to 120 degrees Fahrenheit for most people, but if you’ve never adjusted the temperature on your hot water heater, it’s probably set to 140 degrees, which is the default setting from most manufacturers. Set the temperature of the water reservoir (hot water heater) to 140°F but deliver the water at 120°F by way of a mixing valve. But finding that setting on the water heater temperature setting dial isn’t easy, because most dials aren’t labeled with numbers. Setting the temperature too low may reduce your dishwasher or washing machine’s cleaning power if they lack an internal heater. If you set the top element too much higher, then it will be used most of the time, and the bottom element acts more as a pre-heater. Note that setting your water heater temperature too high is dangerous, and can result in scalding. Every water heater is preset in America to 120F by the manufactures, but some states like Wisconsin require the water heater temp to be at least 125F. Flow the six (6) step process to adjust your temperature: However, by following these simple steps, you can increase the temperature to 140℉ if you choose. If you have a dishwasher without a booster heater, it may require a water temperature within a range of 130ºF to 140ºF for optimum cleaning. A temperature between 120F and 125F is ideal for most situations. However, if you have a compromised immune system or are prone to respiratory conditions, you should consider setting the temperature higher than 120. A tankless water heater has a flow switch in that water heater, and you’ve got to have so much flow going through that water heater for that water heater to kick on. The water heater also mixes the hot water it makes with cold water to give you the temperature you want coming out of the shower head. The mixing valve takes the hot water from the newly set heater (140°F) and mixes it with cold water until it can be released from the valve at a safe 120°F temperature. Set too high, or at 140ºF, your water heater can waste anywhere from $36 to $61 annually in standby heat losses and more than $400 in demand losses. For your safety, Rinnai tankless water heaters come with a maximum temperature default setting of 120℉ to help prevent scalding. It all depends though, on the size of your water heater and the number of machines using your water heater, as well. I’ve increased the temperature on the tank to its highest setting, but the water coming out just isn’t hot anymore.

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