Is Your Hot Water Tank Temperature Safe?

Many people are unsure of the correct temperature to set their hot water tank at and do not realize that the temperature of your hot water is an important factor in household safety.

There are a few things to keep in mind when thinking about hot water temperature in the home, particularly if your home’s occupants include young children, the elderly, or those with suppressed immune systems. It is important to take the appropriate safety precautions to ensure that your hot water system prevents disease and injury, so you can rest easy knowing that your home is safe for you and your family.

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Water Temperature and Safety Risks

Household hot water needs to be stored at a high enough temperature to kill potentially disease-causing bacteria, particularly Legionella, which causes Legionnaires’ Disease. Legionnaires’ Disease is a respiratory infection that leads to pneumonia and can be harmful and even fatal in some instances.

60 degrees C is often the default factory setting on hot water tanks. 60 degrees C (140 degrees F) is hot enough to ensure that dangerous bacteria like Legionella cannot survive. However, this temperature can scald you and cause serious damage to the skin, particularly for young children and the elderly.

Some people recommend setting your tank to 49 degrees C (120 degrees F) to prevent scalding. 49 degrees C is hot enough to kill most harmful bacteria, but it does not guarantee getting rid of all of it.

How to Keep Your Hot Water Safe

Both injury from scalding and disease from bacteria are legitimate safety concerns, so it can be difficult to determine the best course of action when it comes to your hot water tank temperature. You can protect yourself from both harmful bacteria and scalding hot water with a system that stores water in the tank at a high enough temperature to eradicate bacteria while giving you cooler water at the tap to prevent scalding. There are a couple of different ways that you can do this.

One option is to install a hot water tank booster. This is a device that keeps the water in the tank at 60 degrees C, then mixes it with cold water as it leaves the hot water tank so that the water coming out of your taps will be about 49 degrees C—hot enough for all your household needs but not enough to scald.

The other option is to have anti-scald devices installed right at each tap. Anti-scald devices monitor the temperature of the water and ensure that water comes out of the tap at a comfortable 49 degrees C. Anti-scald devices also account for changes in water pressure, so even if you are showering while someone else in the household is using cold water elsewhere, the anti-scald device will change the hot water pressure accordingly so that you don’t have a sudden burst of very hot water pouring onto you unexpectedly. Some faucets and showerheads have anti-scald devices built right in.

Butler’s experienced plumbers can help you find the best system for your home to ensure that your hot water is safe for you and your family.

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How Big Should my Hot Water Tank Be?

We’ve all been there – you are standing in the shower, relaxing and having a great time when it happens. The water goes cold.
The size of your hot water tank might not be something you think about all the time, but when that water starts to run cold nothing seems more important.
So, how are you supposed to know exactly how big your hot water tank is supposed to be? The easiest way to find out is to give us a call – we’ll ask you a few questions about your home, how many bathrooms, how many bedrooms, and finally, what your average consumption looks like. However, if you’d like to do a little more research on your own, follow our helpful guide below and as always, do not hesitate to reach out should you have any questions!

Hot Water flowing through a shower head from a hot water tank

Is There a Standard Hot Water Tank Size?

The size of the hot water heater you chose should really be dependent on the volume of hot water you use on average. However, the most common water heater capacity is normally 40 and 50 gallons. Some tanks have higher recovery rates, which can also factor into sizing. Choosing a tank that is too big can bump up your monthly energy bills while choosing a tank that is too small can leave you cold in the shower.

If you are replacing an old unit and you were happy with the way it performed, it is always best to get one that is the same capacity. This will also make the installation process easier because you will not have to make any adjustments to your power supply or pipe fittings.

What to Consider When Purchasing a New Hot Water Tank

Size of Hot Water Tank vs Size of Household

There are standard recommendations for each size of water heater:

It’s important to take note of how often you shower, run the dishwasher, do laundry and other activities that require hot water – just because there are standard recommendations doesn’t mean that they will work for every family.

Contact Us

If you are not sure at any point, contact Butler Plumbing and one of our skilled installation technicians would be happy to help you make the most informed decision for your specific needs or your emergency hot water heater needs.

 Give Us A Call (780) 432-3947