A slight turn of the dial makes water heaters safer
Plain old tap water can be dangerous. Water heaters set too high send thousands (mostly children) to hospitals each year with burns.
What temperature should a hot water heater be set at?
Most safety experts recommend a hot temperature setting of 120 degrees F. But finding that setting on the water heater temperature setting dial isn’t easy—most dials aren’t labeled with numbers. If the stickers on the water heater don’t tell you how to set the temperature and you can’t find the owner’s manual, use this method: Run hot water at the tap closest to the water heater for at least three minutes. Then fill a glass and check the hot temperature. If the water is above 120 degrees, adjust the dial, wait about three hours and check again. Repeat until you get 120-degree F water. For a final test, check the water heater temperature the following morning, before anyone uses hot water.
Fine-tune the water heater temperature
To find the recommended water heater temperature setting of 120 degrees F. on an unnumbered dial, check the temperature of the water at different settings. Make a mark on the dial once you find the setting.
Check the temperature
Run the hot water for several minutes, then check the water heater temperature in a glass or pot with a thermometer. Next, find out some simple things you can do today to extend the life of your water heater.