University of Missouri Extension

Water Heater Settings - Safety First

Nearly 2 million people are treated for burns annually in the United States. About 112,000 of these burns are scald burns. Young children and the elderly are at the greatest risk of burns from tap water. Water temperature above 120 degress can cause tap water scalds. Water heaters leave the factory set at 140 to 150 degress Farenheit. To prevent hot water burns, turn down the water heater to Low or 120 degrees.

Unfortunately, while lower water temperataures are indeed safer, the best cleaning results occur when the water heater is set at 140 degrees. To combat clothes from becoming grey and dingy, increase the amount of detergent and extend the wash time. To remove greasy food from dishes in the dishwasher select the water heating and heat dry options found on many machines. Do not overload the dishwasher and stack dishes and utensils according to the manufacturer's instructions.

"Water Heater Settings - Safety First" by Donna Chilton in Family Connection, Sept/Oct, 1995, p.3.

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