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Water Heater Temperature Settings

I had a seller e-mail me after they had an inspection done on their home. They obviously weren't too happy with me judging by the undercutting tones of that e-mail. Using 'scare tactics' to push away the buyer was one of their accusations. One of the problematic 'tactics' that I reported on was the temperature reading on their water heater. It was reading 140 deg F. At 140 deg F, it takes about 5 seconds for an adult to receive 3rd degree burns and an infant will receive them in 1.5 seconds. An infant's skin is more sensitive and thinner and therefor, will burn quicker and deeper at the same temperature an adult is exposed. They also don't have the motor skills that adults possess to react quickly in this type of situation. An infant or toddler may scream when coming into contact with hot water, but may not have the ability to pull back in time. 


Lowering the temperature in the water heater so it exits the fixtures at no more than 120 deg F will greatly increase the time that it takes to cause severe burning. An infant has more of a fighting chance and has more time on their side when the temperature is lowered by that 20 degrees (140 deg down to 120 deg). It now takes over three minutes to produce the same type of burn that would have taken 1.5 seconds.

Please take a few minutes to watch this video report provided by CBS

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