Settling on the best temperature to keep your water warm and your home safe
Have you ever hopped in the shower on a winter day only to be greeted by a jet of freezing cold water? Many factors make it difficult for your water heater to maintain a consistent temperature during cold weather. Turning up the thermostat is just one potential solution to this problem.
Why Water Temperature Drops
Colder weather means colder temperatures in the air and underground. This chills the water entering your water heater, causing the unit to have to work harder to reach the right temperature. As it’s running, more cold water comes in and cools everything back down. Older heaters may have an especially difficult time keeping up with this cycle.
Small Change, Big Warm-up
While many water heaters come pre-set at 140 degrees, most recommendations say to set the thermostat at 120 to save energy and avoid the potential for scalding. Depending on the outside temperature, this may not be enough to make the water feel hot. A small change of five to ten degrees can make a huge difference in how the heater performs. Be sure to refer to the owner’s manual before making any adjustments.
Scalding is the number one danger of a water heater that’s set too high. One way to determine if the temperature works for you is to use a thermometer to measure how hot the water is at the faucet furthest away from the heater. Make adjustments until you get the level of heat you want.
A drop in water temperature could be due to other factors besides the cold. Instead of adjusting the thermostat, you could:
- Warm up the area around the heater by sealing drafts or raising the room temperature
- Insulate the pipes that travel to and from the heater
- Inspect the water heater for damage or sediment buildup
- Invest in a “jacket” for the heater to keep the temperature consistent
If you need help with your water heater, contact us at ABC Home & Commercial Services. We have both plumbing and home heating specialists on staff to ensure that the temperature of your home (and your water) is comfortable all year long.