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Keep Your Hot Water Tank Healthy

Hot Water Tank_ThermometerWith the rising cost of energy, we must take every step we can to conserve electricity – not only to save money, but to reduce the demands on the electricity system. There are many ways you can conserve electricity; however, reducing the temperature setting of your electric water heater should not be one of them.

The National Research Council has recommended that the water temperature in electric water heaters be set at 60ºC (140ºF) to prevent the proliferation of Legionella bacteria. Legionella thrives in warm water environments, 49ºC (120ºF) or less, but is killed at 60ºC (140ºF) or above. Peterborough Utilities Inc. installs its rental water heaters with the thermostats factory-set at 60ºC (140ºF). Lowering the temperature of your water heater increases the risk of Legionella forming.

If you want to lower the temperature because you have concerns about scalding, a master thermal mixing valve (also called an anti-scald device) can be installed which will limit the water temperature at the tap to 49ºC (120ºF). These devices are now mandatory for new or replacement tanks.