Safety and Energy Concern: Check your hot water temperature excessive hot water can result in a scalding hazard, damage some fixtures and sink basins, and result in higher energy bills.
If your hot water temperature is set to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, it takes three seconds to burn your skin seriously enough to require surgery. Three seconds isn’t long at all. What’s more, The American Burn Association found that 41% of the homes they inspected were at unsafe levels capable of causing these types of significant burns to your skin. Imagine if your hot water temperature was set to 150 degrees or more. To put it into perspective most hot tubs have the water set to 106f to prevent injury.
The CDC recommends your water heater temperature be set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. OSHA has a different hot water temperature recommendation. OSHA however, recommends you keep your water heater at 140 degrees Fahrenheit so your risk of being exposed to microorganisms and Legionella is reduced.
Older water heaters may also be an energy hog due to antiquated installation and heating technology. If your water heater is past its statistical life expectancy you may want to consider a replacement. Check with your local energy provider there may be some rebates or tax credits.
Some other safety considerations with the water heater include the temperature pressure relief discharge. This should be directed down within 6" of the floor surface and never be capped off or reduced in diameter. If the TPR ever discharges, it should do so to a safe termination point.
If you ever install insulation on your gas water heater, keep it away from the a metal flue draft hood or vent pipe and the burner opening, as this can pose a potential fire hazard. Be sure to have your vent pipe inspected annually for proper condition and termination.
Home Inspector, Environmental Consultant
Maryland State Home Inspector License #29634
ASHI ACI Certified Membership
NACHI® CMI Certified Master Inspector
InterNACHI® CPI Certified Membership
Certified Commercial Property Inspector Association
FAA Certified UAS Pilot #3987636
CRT Certified Residential Thermographer
Back to Maryland Home Inspection Blog