One of the most important devices in any home is the water heater. This may be an electric heater or a gas one. The correct setting can often result in a considerable saving in your electric or gas bill each month. While there are different methods of adjusting temperature settings on the two different types, the first step is determining the one that is best for your particular situation.

Temperature Settings

The most common setting for water in a heater is 120°F. Anything higher than that can cause severe burns. Water temperature set at 160°F, for example, can cause instant scalding.

Tests have found that a temperature below 120°F can open the door to Legionnaires Disease which causes a severe illness and is especially dangerous for the elderly and children. This indicates the importance of having the water temperature set at the correct temperature.

To check your hot water temperature:

  • Run the hot water in a faucet nearest the heater for one minute.
  • Fill a small container with water and insert a candy or cooking thermometer.

Gas Heater Adjustment

The temperature on gas heaters is indicated by a control valve dial located on the front of the unit and is easily adjusted. A number of these controls simply have an indication of hot or warm. Use the above thermometer method to find 120°F and mark it with a felt pen for future reference.

Electric Heater Adjustment

The electricity must be turned off prior to starting work. Your heater will have one or two thermostats, depending on the brand. Using a small flat blade or Phillips screwdriver, remove the panel or panels. Inside you will find insulation which, when pulled aside, will reveal one or two thermostats. After testing the water, as indicated above, you can see if the temperature is the desired 120°F. If it is not, use the screwdriver to increase or decrease the temperature. Once the adjustment is made the panels should be reattached and the electricity turned back on.

It’s always a good idea to check the owner’s manual for recommendations and proper settings, whether you have an electric heater or a gas heater. In doubt? Call your heating contractor for instructions. That’s where Rusk Heating & Cooling comes in!