120°F or 140°F?
The right temperature
setting for the water heater is an issue with a lot of argument on it. The temperatures
most commonly mentioned by experts are 120°F and 140°F. Both of these settings
have some disadvantages so it is hard to find a perfect temperature at which to
keep your hot water heater.
hot water heater at 120°F is generally advocated by proponents of energy
efficiency. At this temperature, there will be less energy loss to surroundings
when the water is not being used so the overall energy consumption will be
less. Another, point in favor of the 120°F setting is about safety. Usually
people mix hot with cold water for personal cleaning but if the cold water
pressure suddenly falls for some reason you can be exposed to very hot water. Water
at 140°F can cause serious burns upon contact and while 120°F is also a
dangerously high temperature, at least it gives you a chance to jump out of the
shower cabin. This is why 120°F or less should be preferred in homes where kids
and elderly reside. However, there is also serious disadvantage to keeping the
hot water tank at 120°F. Bacteria survive and flourish at that temperature and
the most dangerous example of such bacteria is the Legionella, which causes the
dreaded Legionnaires’ disease.
No germs can
live at 140°F so this temperature setting has been gaining popularity in recent
years but it is going to boost your bills and more importantly, water at that
temperature is very dangerously hot.
Get Out of the Dilemma with A Tankless Water Heater
As the name
suggests, tankless water heaters have no tank and they heat the water as it
moves through without keeping any sedentary, warm water anywhere inside. For
this reason, tankless water heaters are much less prone bacterial
contamination. As a matter of fact, this health advantage is by itself a great
reason to get a tankless unit next time you need to replace your water heater.