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Lower Water Heater Temp = Lower Tacoma Utility Bill

Lower Water Heater Temp = Lower Tacoma Utility BillThere are countless ways to lower the costs of energy each and every month in your Tacoma home, but few of these ideas are as simple to implement as just lowering the temperature setting on your home’s water heater. It has been estimated that a homeowner can save as much as five percent on the water heating portion of their utility bill for every ten degrees that they lower the water heater temperature setting.

Some manufacturers ship out their units with a temperature setting of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. While this will deliver some seriously hot water for your use, it is probably higher than most Tacoma homes need and will waste a lot of energy in the process of heating it. Most homes function just fine at a setting of 120 degrees Fahrenheit and this is a pretty good guide for you to follow. If you find that your needs are not being met at this setting, you can always change it back. There is one caveat to this bit of advice is that if you are using a dishwasher in your home that does not have a built-in water heating booster, you may not get the best cleaning at a lower setting and have no real choice but to leave the setting at 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Every water heater is different and you will need to read your owner’s manual for the details of how to make this temperature adjustment to your particular unit. You can also ask your Tacoma plumbing contractor, who will certainly make the adjustment for you if you are uncomfortable.  As a general rule, gas and electric units will have the thermostats located in different areas. You will usually be able to locate the thermostat dial near the gas valve for gas-powered water heaters that utilize a tank design for holding water. Electric water heaters will often have the thermostat located in an area that is protected by an access panel that requires a screwdriver to access. Some electric-powered units could even have two temperature control units, one for each of the heating elements in the unit.

If you decide to experiment with your thermostat settings, be sure to do so in a safe manner. Before beginning any adjustments, make sure that the power to the unit has been turned off. You risk serious injury if you start making adjustments to a unit that has electricity powered on.

One thing you will need to do is test the setting after you make an adjustment. The dials on most Tacoma water heaters do not have a good track record of accuracy. So, be sure to go to a faucet or shower as far away from the unit as you can find and see if the water feels hot enough. If not, make another slight adjustment to the thermostat and test again until you get the desired temperature.

As you can see, making a change to your water heater thermostat is not too big of a project and can easily be done by just about everyone. You don’t need to be a DIY whiz to be able to save energy and money without sacrificing comfort.

If you are looking for a Tacoma plumbing contractor, please call 877-694-5176 or complete our online request form.


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Storage water heaters are by far the most common type of water heater in the U.S. today. Ranging in size from 20 to 80 gallons (or larger) and fueled by electricity, natural gas, propane, or oil, storage water heaters work by heating up water in an insulated tank. When you turn on the hot water tap, hot water is pulled out of the top of the water heater and cold water flows into the bottom to replace it. Because heat is lost through the walls of the storage tank (this is called standby heat loss), energy is consumed even when no hot water is being used. New energy-efficient storage water heaters contain higher levels of insulation around the tank, substantially reducing standby heat loss.

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