Written by April Reinhardt (last updated January 12, 2022)
With three teenagers in our house involved in sports, the two showers in our home are used frequently each day. When we rented a new house, I complained to my husband that I ran out of hot water before I could rinse my hair while showering. He indicated that the previous tenants had small children and had set the water heater thermostat to a lower setting to prevent against hot water burns, and then he adjusted the thermostat of the tank while I watched. It is very simple to adjust the temperature on an electric water heater. Simply follow these steps:
We've moved again since that time, and now two of our boys are in college, leaving only three people in our home. Again, we needed to adjust the temperature on the hot water heater, but this time it was a gas heater. And, again, I watched as my husband adjusted the temperature.
Gas water heaters have one thermostat and one heat source. The thermostat is found near the bottom of the tank, usually having a dial control setting. Simply rotate the dial to the number you want. Some gas water heaters have thermostats housed underneath a metal plate. Simply swing the plate aside to expose the dial and rotate it to the number you want.
Always raise the thermostat of your hot water heater incrementally and allow at least four hours for the desired temperature to be reached. When a water heater leaves the factory, it is set between 140 and 150 degrees. It takes two seconds to receive a third-degree burn from water heated to 150 degrees. Dishwasher water needs to reach at least 180 degrees in order to kill bacteria, but your home hot water heater cannot reach that temperature without ruining the relief valve. Therefore, home dishwasher manufacturers equip their products with booster heaters to heat the water inside of the dishwasher to reach 180 degrees.
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