LESLIE: Andrew is calling in from New Jersey, needing some help with an exterior hot water heater. Oh, I said it, Tom. I said, “Hot water heater.” (Tom chuckles) Trouble.
Water Heater Temperature Control
Welcome, Andrew. How can we help you?
TOM: (overlapping voices) It’s redundant. It’s redundant. (chuckles)
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) I did.
TOM: Hi, Andrew.
ANDREW: I have a – yeah, I have a water heater outside. It’s in like a closet in my condo.
ANDREW: And it’s getting pretty hot in New Jersey now and it’s – when it’s really hot and you want to take a shower, the water comes out like super, super hot.
TOM: OK. Well, what do you have it set at?
ANDREW: Oh, I have no idea what it’s set at.
TOM: Well, see, now that would be the first place to start, Andrew. We want to check what the temperature is. Is this a gas water heater?
TOM: OK. So there’s going to be a gas knob and normally there’s a control on there that doesn’t have, necessarily, the temperature written on it but it usually says somewhere in the middle : “normal.” I would set it right to the left of “normal” and see how that works out for you. If it happens to be turned up all the way, it could be way too hot.
You want the water temperature to be at about 110 degrees coming out of that. Turning it up is going to push it up northwards of 135 or 140 degrees and that’s very, very dangerous. So check the temperature, if you can, with a thermometer and make the adjustment. But if it’s just a straight, normal gas valve, it’s going to have a “normal” button on it. You want to set it right to the left of that.
LESLIE: And Tom, the water heater being outside – say if it’s in a space that gets a lot of direct sun at a certain time of year – is it possible that the …?
TOM: Has no effect on it.
LESLIE: Has no effect. It’s not heating what’s in there?
TOM: (overlapping voices) No, because – right. You’re measuring the temperature of the water and you’re telling the gas valve to come on or off based on what the water temperature is.
Now, certainly, there’s going to be less system loss in the winter than there is in the summer; it’s going to be more efficient in the summer than it is in the winter. But the fact that it’s in a hot space is not going to change it.
ANDREW: OK. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Andrew. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.