Hot Water Temperature Settings

If you are having problems with your hot water temperature
settings, water to hot, to cold, not enough hot water, check
the solutions below. Some hot water problems are easy fixes
and may save you from calling a plumber.

Water To Hot

Short Cycling
If you water is hotter than normal and you haven't adjusted
the thermostat, the problem may be that your water heater
is short cycling.
This is a common occurrence. Its more noticeable during the
winter months when ground water temperatures are colder.
Here is what happens.
When you use hot water it comes from the top of the water heater
tank. At the same time cold water enters the bottom of the tank.

This cold water will cause the lower element on electric units, and
the burner on gas units to began heating water.
If you use just enough hot water to start the heating process you
will have hot water in the top of the tank and cold in the bottom.

Because heat rises, water at the top of the tank will be much hotter
than normal before the lower thermostat is satisfied and shuts off.

If you use your hot water very soon after this cycle, you will notice
the temperature rise. It will cool to normal in an hour or so. This
is a normal occurance with all storage water heaters. No need
to call a plumber.

Thermostat Malfunction
Sometimes a thermostat will stick or malfunction and cause water
to over heat. This can happen on a gas or electric unit, however
its more common on electric models.

Here is what you can try.
For electric models, shut off the power, move both upper and
lower temperature controls back and fourth from the lowest settings to
the highest setting several times. If you have a tank of hot water
you should here each one click as you lower the setting. Set at
the desired temperature.

For gas models, set control to pilot setting. turn temperature
knob from the  lowest setting to highest setting several times.
If their is hot water in the tank you should hear the thermostat
clicking on and off.
Sometimes this will cause a stuck thermostat to resume working.
How to adjust your temperature

Grounded Element
Residential duel element water heaters always have 120 volts
on the element. The thermostat will send another 120 volts
when it calls for heat, creating the 240 volts that make the element
A grounded element will heat water even with the thermostat
off because it has power on it all the time.
This is not very common and needs checking only after everything
else has been eliminated.
Check for a grounded element.

Water Not Hot Enough

Cold weather can cause ground water temperatures to drop
as much as thirty degrees. This cold water mixes with hot
water in your tank and cools it off very fast.  Colder water
also takes much longer to heat.
Raising the thermostat temperature through the winter months
will help.

If you have raised the temperature setting on your water heater
and still you feel your water is not as hot as it should be, check
the thermostats and or the heating elements.

Water Is Hot But Runs Out Quickly

This is common on electric units when the lower or bottom
heating element or thermostat is not working. You will only
have hot water in the top of the tank.

Water Is Hot But Takes A Long Time To Reheat After Use.

Check the upper or top heating element. 
It is a good idea to replace both elements at the same time.

How to get more hot water from your water heater

Some thermostats settings are marked warm, hot and very hot.
Others will have 120 degrees to 140 degrees markings, some up to
160 degrees.
Water heaters will not hold an exact temperature. Temperatures
can vary several degrees in either direction.

A common compliant is "our water heater works, we just do not
have enough hot water".  One solution other than buying a new
larger capacity water heater is to install a Thermostatic Mixing
Valve, also called a Tempering Valve or anti-scald valve.

How it works - The valve is mounted above the water heater. As
hot water leaves the tank on its way to a faucet, cold water mixes
with the hot water and lowers the temperature. The valves have
an adjustable temperature controls.

As an example you could set your water heater temperature on its
maximum setting, very hot.
Set the temperature setting on the mixing valve at 125 degrees. This
will give you much more hot water than just setting your water heater
on 125 degrees.

If you have small children or an elderly person in your home these
valves are also a good safety feature against scalding.

For information on adjusting water temperature and much more click here.

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