More often than not, when I check water temperatures during a home inspection, the temperature is set too high. If you own the home it’s easy to get ‘used’ to a setting and you compensate. However a visitor that isn’t familiar with your home may get a surprise. It’s not uncommon for me to find temperatures in excess of 140 degrees… that’s just TOO hot! The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) urges all users to lower their water heaters to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition to preventing accidents, this decrease in temperature will conserve energy and save money.
If you have a standalone water heater there is usually a dial on it where you can set the temperature, or if it’s not marked clearly, at least adjust it until the water is the right temp. Here in Pennsylvania, boilers are common and with a Summer/Winter hookup, domestic water runs through a coil in the boiler and will always be too hot unless a tempering valve is installed. About half of the homes I inspect have working tempering valves.
You can use a candy or cooking thermometer to check your water heater temperature. Go to the faucet nearest the water heater. Run the hot water for one full minute (this will heat the water pipes and give you a more accurate reading ). Fill a coffee cup from the faucet and read the thermometer.
This easy to do tip can save someone from getting burned. Ask your Inspector to check this for you.