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Adjusting Your Hot Water Temperature

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Take care if you change the thermostat on your water heater. A slight adjustment could mean a big difference.

Often there are more people in the house during the holidays. Adequate hot water may be a concern.

One way to increase the hot water supply is to increase the temperature the water is heated to. Normally, the shower water is a mix of hot and cold. If the water starts hotter, more cold water is required to temper it, and thus less is used per minute. It runs hot longer before chilling the bather.

Unfortunately, the water heater can easily be set too high, posing burn risks, especially to children or the elderly. Do you remember the backstory from the movie Rain Man? Dustin Hoffman’s character was sent to an institution because he put the infant version of Tom Cruise’s character in a tub of too hot bath water.

Note the water heater thermostat shown in the photo. The dial can be set through 245 angular degrees from LOW to VERY HOT. It was set at ‘A’, and the water seemed like it was just not hot enough for long showers, dish cleaning, etc. Bumping it up toward ‘B’ resulted in scalding water at the faucet.

There are 25 angular degrees between ‘A’ and ‘B’. The temperature change might have been 25 Fahrenheit degrees.

If this was a linear scale, the thermostat adjustment would be from frozen pipes to live steam. That is obviously not the case, but move the dial in small increments if increasing the setting. Wait several hours before determining how the new setting will affect the temperature at the tap.

Here is one more warning. If you call that tank in your basement your, “hot water heater,” be advised that someone will say, “It’s a just a ‘WATER HEATER’! Why would it heat HOT water?

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