Your water heater is basically a large storage container that heats and re-heats water for use on demand. It sounds harmless enough, yet the costs for heating water amount to about 18 percent of the average home’s energy usage. Rather than being stuck with high water heating costs, you may be surprised to learn of the many ways lowering water heater temperature can keep more money in your pocket.

Water Heater Savings

Most of the energy that your water heater uses is to heat fresh water intake that is replacing supplied hot water. For example, clothes washers use about 20 to 35 gallons of water per wash, depending on the model and efficiency. If “warm” or “hot” cycles are used, there’s going to be several gallons of fresh ground water flowing into the water heater. Your water heater powers on to bring the new mix of stored water to the thermostat’s temperature setting.

Maintenance Problems

Stored hot water that is too hot, such as 140 degrees, corrodes water pipes and lining faster than lower water heater temperatures. Lowering your water heater temperature to 120 degrees, as suggested by Energy Star, may reduce water heater maintenance, extend its lifespan and save you up to 10 percent water heating costs.

Standby Losses

All storage water heaters lose heat energy due to standby heat loss. Standby heat loss describes the movement of heat out of the water heater through the sides, bottom and top. As water temperature cools inside the tank, the water heater powers on to reheat the stored water back to the thermostat setting even though no hot water is being used inside the home.

Reducing the Temperature

For gas water heaters, the thermostat dial is located on the gas valve near the bottom of the tank. Dials for electric water heaters are concealed behind panels near the bottom and midway up the tank. Turn back the dials and, after three hours, check hot water temperature with a thermometer at a faucet until it’s at 120 degrees.

For more details about reducing water heater temperature, please contact Wolff Mechanical.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Phoenix Valley area of Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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