Water heater meter made better (Day 222)…

water heater

Have you ever spent all day cleaning, trying to get that funky odour out of the bathroom, only to realize after scrubbing every single surface that it’s not the bathroom itself causing the smell, but a dead squirrel in the wall? Did you ever switch to using Tom’s of Maine toothpaste, thinking you were being all natural and eco-friendly, only to realize some months later it has sodium laurel sulfate lurking in the ingredients list?

Well, something similar just happened to me — yes, the squirrel and the toothpaste incidents, but more recently something even worse: Here I was, using lukewarm water to shower, cold water only for laundry, greywater for my plants, and meanwhile, this whole time, my electric water heater was cranked up to 140 degrees.

Considering that the hottest hot tub can only go to about 112, it’s completely unnecessary to have all that water being kept so hot, especially when it’s kept that way 24/7. So I grabbed a screwdriver, popped off the bottom cover and turned it down to 110, the lowest it would go.

I can’t wait to see my electricity bill for October. In the mean time, perhaps I’ll write a few letters to the manufacturers of these things asking why on earth we need scalding hot water for anything.

Diagram of an electric water heater taken from this website

14 Responses to Water heater meter made better (Day 222)…

  1. Marcie says:

    Tank temperature should be no less than 130 degrees to prevent bacterial growth, such as Legionnaires disease. (Although 120 is acceptable from the Energy sites) Just wanted to let you know as I would hate for you to get sick!!!!

  2. limesarah says:

    YAY! I wish I could do that…our hot water also heats the house, and can’t be fiddled with without potential scary exploding boiler things happening, so it’s at whatever temperature it’s at whether we use it or not 😦

  3. gettinggreen says:

    Hmm, Marcie, you’re scaring me… the Canadian government’s Natural Resources website also mentions this issue and says it should go no lower than 130:


    I don’t know, though. If I’m filtering all my drinking water, does it really matter what bacteria is in my shower water? I guess maybe if it gets on my dishes… grr…

  4. emily says:

    But if the water doesn’t sit there for long, then why get worried? Wouldn’t circulation prevent bacteria from settling and multiplying? Also, don’t forget that there’s chlorine in the water anyways… Not that I’m against looking into the safety concerns, but I tend to be skeptical about the “sterilize the world” mentality of cleaning product industries, utilities or appliances, etc.

  5. Rhett says:

    You know, our current apartment is the first one we’ve lived in where I can’t find the water heater. I’m suspecting the landlord keeps it in a separate and inaccessible room in the building. Kinda sucks, since we’d love to be able to lower it.

    We just started with greywater reuse ourselves. It must be “Water Week” on the green blogosphere.

  6. April says:

    Thanks for the tip! I’ve been busy greening my home all year and forgot about the hot water heater. As soon as I read this, I checked mine, and it was set at 130ºF so I took it down to 120ºF. From what I am reading, 120ºF is the recommended according to theU.S. Department of Energy website. This site also has some other good tips I’m gonna try and implement.

  7. marcie says:

    I don’t want to scare you! Just keep you safe, but yes, Emily is right. If the water doesn’t sit there forever and ever —NEVER circulating, then yeah, 110 might be fine.
    If you are filter, I wouldn’t see an issue since you probably actually USE your hot water…well maybe you don’t depending on your obsession with the green ideas…
    Anyway I think you’d be safe @ 120 or 130.

    But I got to thinking, 110 in Fahrenheit or Celsius? Since I’m in Washington (State not DC!!!) I always think in Fahrenheit….sorry just a US habit I guess!

  8. Ann says:

    Another way to save energy on the water heater if you don’t need hot water all day is to plug it into one of those timers used for turning lights on and off at certain times when you’re away. Then you can have it heat only when you need hot water, like for a morning shower and in the evening for dish washing. This has saved us a lot of energy.

  9. I turned mine down, but then the water was barely warm enough for a shower. I do have a new (2 years old?) EnergyStar water heater, so I’m thinking that maybe it’s so efficient that turning it down made it TOO efficient.

  10. Anna says:

    My partner and I just took the plunge and are having our Hot Water On Demand System installed into our basement TODAY! The final cost for the system was $2.700.00 but it will hopefully pay for itself over time. We just couldn’t justify heating a huge tank of water all day and night. Also, the Hot Water On Demand system takes up way less space. The entire box is about 2 x 3 feet in size. For those who are not up for this project, it’s always a good habit to turn off your pilot light below your hot water tank when you’re away on vacation, etc.
    Happy Bathing!

  11. FlatGreg says:

    No one wants to shower in scalding hot water, but the hotter the hot water temperature the less of it you need to shower. For situations with lots of people in a single household, that hotter temp is going to leave some hot water for the last person to shower with. However if you never run out of hot water, by all means turn it down to save energy.

  12. psipsina says:

    Yeah, what Flat Greg said. Our house inspector told us that if you never run out of hot water, you’re making a donation to the gas company.

  13. izlebu says:

    Thank you Waiting for more shares

  14. good… ı am remember history…

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