If you're looking to save money and lessen your impact on the environment, consider investing in a tankless water heater. Unlike a traditional storage heater, a tankless water heater heats up your water on demand. In contrast, a storage water heater heats gallons of water at one time and then keeps it hot until you need it, which means that long hot shower you love costs you more in energy and money.

A tankless water heater is a smart investment, both financially and environmentally, but only if you know how to use it the right way. Here's how to change the temperature on your tankless water heater.

The Ideal Water Heater Temperature Setting

Is there an ideal tankless water heater temperature setting? You may think there is not since everyone enjoys a different heat level when they shower or bathe. However, experts say that, in fact, the best temperature setting for a tankless water heater is about 120°F (49°C), although the default setting is 140°F (60°C).

Manufacturers set the temperature higher for several reasons. For one, they don’t know your home’s size or how far the water must travel to reach the furthest shower or faucet. As hot water travels, it loses some heat, so larger homes require a slightly higher water tank temperature to ensure the water is still hot when it reaches its destination.

Also, manufacturers don’t want customers to complain or return their water heaters because they think they are faulty. Many associate a “new” water heater with “hot” water, so they turn up the heat to keep customers satisfied.

Yet, reducing the tankless water heater temperature to 120°F (49°C) is best for optimal comfort and safety and promotes energy efficiency. With a lower temperature, you can still enjoy a hot and comfortable water supply without the risk of scalding. Keeping the water temperature at 120°F also eliminates the risk of bacterial growth in the water heater.

Further, you may prefer a different water temperature depending on its use. For example, you may like hotter water when washing the dishes but prefer cooler water for laundry and showering. Thus, finding the ideal water temperature setting is all about trial and error in discovering your personal preference.

Most tankless water heaters have a temperature display, making monitoring and adjusting the water temperature easy. You’ll always have complete control over the heat provided by your water heater.

How Can Reducing Your Water Heater Temperature Be Beneficial

Reducing your tankless water heater’s temperature setting can be advantageous for several reasons.

First, scalding becomes less of a risk. Although we, as adults, can feel the temperature of the water before stepping into the bath or shower to prevent scalding, children, the elderly, and some people with disabilities face a greater risk of scalding. They don’t always know to test the water before stepping into it. Some may also have a condition that limits their ability to feel hot and cold temperatures, like hypoesthesia.

Second, turning down the temperature helps reduce energy consumption. The less energy you use to heat the water in the tank, the less you’ll spend on your utility bill each month. In the average home, the water heater accounts for nearly 20% of the total energy bill, so reducing the temperature can lead to significant savings.

Also, when the water heater is at a high temperature, the home has more hot water for times of high usage. The home’s water system combines cold tap water with hot water before it reaches its destination to extend the hot water supply. However, households with only a few people don’t need all that hot water supply. You will unnecessarily heat water you’re not using, wasting energy and money.

Thus, try turning down the temperature a few degrees to see if you notice a difference in the heat and your energy bill!

Determine What Type You Have

The method for adjusting your tankless water heater depends on the type of water heater you have. The first is a tankless water heater designed for household use; when someone turns on the faucet, this type of water heater heats the water in the holding tank, and it's immediately delivered to you.

Additionally, point-of-use (POU) devices heat water at the last minute before it exits the sink faucet, shower head, or bathtub faucet.

How to Turn Up the Temp on Your Tankless Water Heater

Temperature adjustment on a tankless heater is simple. Each tankless water heater or POU device has an LED panel where you can adjust the desired temperature. These LED controls offer you much more control over temperature than you have with a storage heater. You can change the temperature degree by degree rather than by a less precise dial control.

If you have multiple POU devices throughout your house, maybe one that controls the temperature of your washing machine and another near your bathroom sink, you can adjust and set different temperatures for each device.

You can also adjust the vent controls that work with your tankless water heater. Your computerized temperature controls also allow you to choose fan settings to control the temperature. For example, the system will clear out vapors that can become dangerous if you haven't turned on your hot water for a while.

Get Professional Help in Atlanta

A tankless water heater is a simple, efficient, and affordable device that can help you use heated water more responsibly throughout your home.

If you are ready to replace your storage heater with a tankless heater, Ragsdale's expert plumbers can help you choose the tankless heater that will best suit your Atlanta area home and family's needs.

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