Learning how to regulate an electric water heater can help prevent any damage to the unit. Also, regulating the water heat can help save money since it will take more energy to gain a hotter temperature. Much like the highly recommended air temperature be set at 68 degrees, most experts claim setting an electric hot water heater at 110 degrees is sufficient.
How Does It Work?
The user sets a desired temperature with the water heater’s thermostat so when the tank water drops below the pre-set number it fires up heating the water. It will control the heat flow by switching the burner on and off. The thermostat can be a simple component allowing heat in or out of the storage tank or it can be an entire electrical control system that operates larger more complex home heating systems for both water and ambient air. The thermostat includes a heat sensor that monitors the water temperature level. The sensor sends a signal to the heating element that controls the heat flow. The most common sensors are electrical and use mechanical parts that move from heat pressure to open or close a connection that ignites a burner (gas) or turns on a heating element (electric).
Adjusting the Thermostat
Adjusting the thermostat will lead to a change in water temperature when using an electric heater. The heater has a dial read out or on many new units, an LED control panel with push button operation. The user simply operates the dial turning it to the desired temperature setting. The LED control unit allows for an up or down push button that when pressed, displays the temperature. The LED allows for greater accuracy because it will display the exact number. The traditional dial regulator will approximate the desired temperature as long as the dial s calibrated properly.
What’s the Best Temperature?
There are both safety and financial concerns when considering the appropriate temperature setting for your hot water heater. Most safety experts recommend a water temperature no higher than 125 degrees. This may be a little on the high side in a house with children present. Although good safety practices call for supervision of all young children when operating a water delivery system such as at the bathroom or kitchen sink, unsupervised children turning on a hot water faucet might experience third degree burns exposed to 125 degree water for more than two minutes.
A suggested maximum setting at 120 degrees would mean the child would have to run the water for 10 minutes in order to get burned. Obviously, adjusting your home hot water heater to this level will provide greater safety in a home where young children are present. The opposite is quite dangerous because water temperatures set at 150 degrees cause burns in two seconds and at 140 degrees it takes six seconds to cause a bad burn to a child.
Why 120 Works
The debate that water set at 120 degrees might prove a health hazard not allowing for hot enough water to kill germs is a misnomer. Frequent hand washing with soap at 120 degrees is a good way to prevent illnesses from spreading. Most illnesses are spread through inhalation of airborne germs anyway.