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Save Energy and Money through Modifying Water Heater Temperature

Mar 29, 2008
Modifying the water heater temperature can actually be used in order to save energy. Water heaters are known to be the most energy-consuming appliances in your home, and you can be spending up to $400 in electric fees annually just through the use of water heaters alone!

Because of this, manufacturers are coming up with products that can minimize the energy consumed by water heaters. There are water heater timers and insulating materials that are both effective in cutting back energy consumption. Then again, if you do not want to spend for such, you can always apply simple and easy to implement changes to your water heater temperature setting.

How does this work?

If you set your water heater thermostat at a low setting, you can actually be saving significant amounts of energy. As a matter of fact, you could be saving up to 5% of energy just by reducing 10 degrees Fahrenheit from your current water heater temperature.

Did you know?

Some manufacturers calibrate water heater thermostats at 140 degrees Fahrenheit even when the average household only requires a water heater temperature setting of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If you lower your temperature setting by 20 degrees Fahrenheit, you can be saving up to 10% of energy. Using 140 degrees Fahrenheit as your temperature setting can also pose some serious risks and hazards, such as scalding.

Lowering your water temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit can also delay the process of corrosion and mineral buildup in your water heater and pipes. This contributes in making your water heater last longer and function at its optimal efficiency.

How do I operate the thermostat?

Water heater manuals contain instructions that will guide you in maneuvering the thermostat. For a gas storage water heater, the thermostat dial is located near the bottom of the tank of the gas valve. For electric water heaters, the thermostat dial is usually behind screw-on plates or panels. As a precaution, always shut off electricity to your water heater before attempting to remove the plates, to prevent you from getting electrocuted. Also remember that an electric water heater may have two thermostats - one for each upper and lower heating elements.

After locating the thermostat and adjusting it to a lower water temperature, take note of the beginning temperature and the adjusted temperature displayed on the thermostat dial. This will serve as your future reference. Afterwards, proceed to checking the water temperature at the tap farthest from the water heater if the temperature has indeed dropped according to your specifications. Most thermostat dials are inaccurate so you might need to perform several adjustments before you finally get the right temperature.

Various Tips on Using Your Water Heater

If you plan to be away from home for several days, turn the thermostat down to its lowest setting or completely turn off your water heater. You can switch it off by turning off the circuit breaker to it.

For dishwashers without a booster heater, use water temperature with the range of 130-140 degrees Fahrenheit for maximum cleaning.

As a whole, if you want to cut back on electricity costs, but you're not ready to invest in water heater timers and insulating materials, you can do so by simply lowering down the water heater temperature setting.
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