Reducing Hot Water Temperature

If the hot water temperature controls in your apartment or condominium complex are set too high, you may be able to reduce your water temperature and prevent energy and money from going down the drain. Here are a few tips and guidelines to help with these cost-saving adjustments.

Temperature Guidelines

Check the setting of your hot water tank by using a thermometer at a faucet near the tank (thermostat settings on water heaters are not always accurate). The following are guidelines for common activities using hot water.

Handwashing - 110° - 115°

Showers - 110° - 115°

Dishwasher Rinse - Residential-type dishwashers usually require 130° to 140° water. Some models have built-in booster heaters that allow the water heater to be set at 110° to 115°. Experiment with the water temperature at the dishwasher and choose the most economical setting.

Laundry - Many laundries can reduce hot water from higher temperatures to 125°. Check local codes to insure compliance.

Adjusting the Temperature

Adjusting the hot water temperature is usually straightforward. A plumbing or mechanical contractor can make the adjustment or you can do it yourself. The thermostat may be behind a coverplate and can be accessed by removing a few screws. When turning down an electric water heater, be sure to shut off the power at the circuit breaker to avoid the danger of electric shock. If the thermostat dial is visible, simply adjust it to the desired temperature.

You many find that your first adjustment results in inadequate hot water for your uses. Experiment with the setting to find the temperature that provides adequate hot water, while still resulting in energy savings.