Water heater - one notch cold to hot

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by sanrico, Apr 14, 2020.

  1. sanrico

    sanrico New Member

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    Hi everyone, I have a Bradford White Defender 50 gallon water heater. I think it's about 15 years old. I have always set the thermostat to the red notch, but in the past few weeks, our hot water hasn't been as hot as normal. Showers felt lukewarm and when washing dishes, the water wouldn't get as hot as needed.

    I flushed the tank to make sure there wasn't too much sediment settled at the bottom. I also took out the burner and cleaned it, along with the intake screen, which had a lot of sediment in it. The problem persisted.

    I did some YouTube research and figured I needed a new dip tube. Before going to the hardware store, I bumped the thermostat up a notch as pictured below. Suddenly, the water is too hot. During my morning shower, I had to back off the heat, and while washing dishes and hands, the water can get uncomfortably hot. Not dangerously scalding, but hotter than we are used to.

    I'm guessing the dip tube isn't the problem after all since I suddenly have very hot water again? Is it normal for a thermostat setting to vary so much between notches? Or does that need to be replaced? Anything else I should examine?

    Thank you very much.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    There is 10 degrees differnce between the notches. The red line is 120 degrees and the maximum, (hot), is 160 degrees. So you changed the temperaute from 120 to 130 degrees and THAT could feel much hotter.
     
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  4. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    I don't know, but it is common to set the dial between notches. When you find a good setting, mark it.
     
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  5. sanrico

    sanrico New Member

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    Thank you for responding. Where it is set now (the picture), I just checked with a food thermometer and the water coming out of my kitchen tap was 115 degrees. I imagine the water cools a bit in the pipes. Does that reading sound right?
     
  6. DIYorBust

    DIYorBust Active Member

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    It sounds good. You don't want it less than 120 at the tank because legionella can grow in the water. You also don't want it more than 120 at the tap due to scalding, so with the cooling in the pipes you're probably close.
     
  7. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

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    Actually to kill bacteria the ASSE recommends for a residential heaters be a minimum of 135 deg F

    I usually set it the water temperature to 140 residential and 160 - 180 DEG for commercial in lieu of using chemicals for sterilization

    The reason I use 140 deg is it ideal for the washing machines and dish washers and this will kill all the bacteria in the tank as under 135 can cause the tank to be an incubator of bacteria

    Over 120 DEG is against most codes for showers this is why we use an anti scald shower body.

    A Holby tempering valve is one of the best on the market but it like all the others are not considered an anti scald device as they are slow action

    Ideally you want to run a dedicated line for the dishwasher (high temperature) installed prior to the mixing valve


    The DOE suggests a temperature of 120 to save money like most government agencies the right hand never talks to the left

    This is a no win for plumbing contractors

    Water set to low and people get sick from water born bacteria the plumber is guilty of neglect (less then 135)

    !35 or more the plumber is at fault if someone gets scalded

    If you do decide to increase the temperature to 140 make sure you have anti scald shower body and think about placing one of these under every sink that some child or elderly may come in contact with



    Watts USG-B-M2 3/8" Under Sink Guardian Thermostatic Mixing Valve (0204141)


     
  8. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

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  9. DIYorBust

    DIYorBust Active Member

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    Good advice, although in most homes I doubt people can put anti scald devices on each sink or homerun plumb the dishwashers and washing machines. Perhaps in pex houses this would be more feasible.
     
  10. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

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    I never used any plastic product for potable water not even bottled water

    Abut the notion people cant put safety devices in their home such as anti scald protection or smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors .

    It is what people feel is their higher priority, going to a hockey game and spending a few hundred dollars for a days out or spending a few hundred dollars to protect everyone in their home

    As professionals we should offer a choice especially where there are children or elderly

    One lawsuit can cost as much a buying a home

    There is no valid reason for someone to be scalded because of excessively hot water or getting sick because he water is tempered and causes water borne diseases
     
  11. DIYorBust

    DIYorBust Active Member

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    I guess the question would be, for the price, the labor, and the inconveniencee, are those devices the best use of resources to prevent injury? We could also put laminated glass in every picture frame and cabinet, and limit our coffee tempature.
     
  12. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

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    Hey it is fine with me as people save money .

    Just a long as there was a option to prevent scalding and it ends up in court this kind of litigation helps pay my bills

    NY is blessed with no one takes personal responsibility

    A child drowns in a pool on LI then the pool owners is responsible that some child came into their back yard when they were not home and there was no fence to stop the intruder ...

    A bar tender serves a guy a drink this guy gets into a car wreck and the bar tender is guilty

    A woman orders coffee in McDonald gets in her car the coffee spills on her lap she sues and wins coffee was to hot

    A low life in NYC was breaking into a building and fell through the skylight. He sues the city and wins as the skylight was painted black and he did not see it

    A contractor hires the lowest bidder and says codes set minimum standards go as cheap as possible

    Then when someone is burned and they ask "could this have been prevented" that is when plumbing engineers , master plumbers and the games begin


    I was called in a on a case 19 months after the incident .


    If someone thinks it is not cost effective to protect the elderly or their children then great as I understand their priorities


    https://pospislaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Clinindin-v.-NYCHA.pdf
     
  13. DIYorBust

    DIYorBust Active Member

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    As landlords, we need to do these things to address the liability. However as a homeowner, I think it's a question of judgment. When I was growing up, we didn't have all these tempering valves, and my folks somehow kept me unscathed.
     
  14. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

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    As a home owner a guest comes over and gets scalded does this mean you have no liability? Suppose they fall down on step?


    When my Weimaraner attacked someone in my home there was a law suit and I did have coverage though my insurance company

    I now have three cats all declawed indoor cats

    When I was growing up we had monkey bars in parks with concrete under them ,

    We opened a fire hydrant in the summer for cooling off .

    We had water exceeding over 190 deg though a tankless coil and did our own tempering by using a manual by pass and cars did not have air bags or seat belts

    In those days someone if someone was burned they learned "hot water burns" and next time we would be more careful

    We did not have people who have 3 children by three different fathers and each child some how was burned and the mother was placed in charge of the trust fund

    When the trust fund was depleted another child was scalded or fell though a window with no guard or ate lead paint

    In law there is no such thing as justice it is win or lose .

    Today it cost nothing to sue for personal injury and the odds are better then lottery

    If you get a sleaze ball attorney to take the case and if he wins you get compensated if he loses you pay nothing .

    Everything to gain nothing to lose

    I was testifying in court abut how a woman fell in a bathroom because of a tiny bit on water on the floor (her apartment)

    After I testified the insurance company lawyer decided to make an out of court settlement for $40,000

    Listen to the law firm advertisements "Get the money you deserve" "We show you the respect your entitled to" "We sue because it wont happen again to others" "Someone has to be responsible for your pain and suffering and mental anguish " "We hold them accountable if you fall on a broken sidewalk"

    Last year one of the law firms I work for called asking me who is responsible for the curb box on the side walk.

    I asked is it water supply or gas they were not sure so I had to go to Brooklyn to a large drug store in a very busy area with lots of people walking over the curb box .

    I took some pictures and measured how deep the box was LESS THEN 1/4"

    I sent a one page report stating it was a water main cub box and the property owner is responsible for maintaining the sidewalk and this includes the curb box ( DEP)

    This store is located on court street possibly over 2 million people a year walk over this curb box and one only one person fell

    I was sent a check for $2,800 and the drug store insurance company settled for around $85,000 for a sprained ankle

    Personally I think the "victim" should have been drug tested

    The store was there for over 30 years, millions upon millions of people walked on this sidewalk and ONE out of possibly 10 million people ONE trips

    If you look up FLSA you can understand why so many companies have manufacturing over seas

    I was driving yesterday and decided to take route 7 north just past Danbury Connecticut and stopped by a gas station they had a car wash all mechanical no attendant no brushes

    When I filled my car up with gas it said "want a car wash" I pushed the Yes sign and it gave me a printout of a code to place by the machine

    There were several signs "keep windows closed" "Do not get out of the car" "shut off windshield wipers" "In case of a problem call this number STAY IN YOUR CAR"

    Every wonder why COLA (Cost of living adjustment) is so expense? Companies have to keep getting higher insurance coverage

    When we did a sprinkler and stand pipe on the 86 floor of the empire state building 2 years ago you would not believe the rider we had to take out for water damage just in case of a failure
     
  15. DIYorBust

    DIYorBust Active Member

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    Fair enough. But I don't live in the empire state building, and I don't allow any guests in my home who can't use a faucet. I also learned a thing or two when I fell off the monkey bars.

    I'm not interested in owning any regulated housing units in NYC for this reason. Basically that's a game of see what you can get away with to cut costs, because raising the rent is not an option.
     
  16. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

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    Did you know that any repairs in a tenants apartment is a tax write off

    Also if you do install anti scald devices and contact your insurance carrier you may get a discount

    It is not just NYC that is regulated as most of the anti scald requirements are state wide and the federal government is also getting involved with their guide lines

    I was called for a case in Wantagh LI (exit 36 Northern state PKWY)

    Seems some handyman installed a new shower body after the code was changed requiring anti scald types

    and most of the piping in this home was 1/2 Copper (5/8 OD) and someone was taking a shower when in another bathroom someone flushed the toilet

    The LOW FLOW Shower head had a severe volume loss of cold water and the person in the shower was burned slightly but fell in the tub and had her chest, legs burned and hurt her back in the fall

    The handyman was held accountable .

    Practicing plumbing without a license , no liability insurance.

    I was at a deposition paid for my services rendered and never bothered to ask about the outcome of case

    Another case in Hicksville child taking a shower then sprinkler system came on and again sudden drop in CW volume cased the child to get burned on his face

    Normally this would not be a problem but between low flow shower heads and water heater set above 140 things happen

    The reason for the 140 deg water temperature to save money the owner decided to buy a 40 gallon water heater instead of a 50 gallon and turned up the temperature figuring less hot would be needed so they could use a smaller tank

    Not all cases are scalding .

    The ones I really like are "road trip" cases where no one was hurt

    I had a case years ago to go to Ogunquit Maine because of a leak caused by a roof drain improperly installed

    I even asked the lawyer why not hire a local plumber or roofer and the answer was they needed an outside opinion as it was a good ole boys club there

    We took Route 95 straight up stayed over night went to the site and drove home the next day after I did some fishing and decided to take Route 1 back to see the local towns

    Paid vacation :)
     
  17. DIYorBust

    DIYorBust Active Member

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    Ha. I mean those are some crazy stories. I don't disagree with you at all in fact. In a rental unit, it's necessary to address the liability. But putting a mixing valves on the water heater and setting it at 120 degrees seems to do that job. There's a couple drawbacks. I have lived in a unit with this setup. There are a couple drawbacks. The dishes don't get as clean in the dishwasher. When taking a bath, you have to drain a lot of water if you want to warm up the temp after it cools, and the water may cool to 115 or so before it hits the shower and I have a family member who actually wants to shower above that temp. Probably for cleaning it could be helpful to have hotter water, and maybe for laundry, although I rarely find it beneficial to use ultra hot wash water for laundry. Commercial facilities I'm sure differ on this.

    But at the end of the day, no renter compares that the hot water temp at different faucets. I've never had that happen, and if a potential rent regulated tenant insisted on the temperature being different at each faucet, I think that would be a legitimate reason to move to the next tenant on the list.

    In my own house, I might like to homerun plumb the tub or dishwasher, but using copper it's expensive and time consuming. If I were running in pex I think it might not be a big deal it all except for the cost of the tempering valves. This could be a major advantage to pex in the future, but it's not allowed in NYC for domestic water as far as I know.
     
  18. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

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    PEX is not allowed thankfully in NYC

    BUT I am sure someone will get a donation and then it will be approved as NY is blessed with the best polititions money can buy

    The tempering valve I use is strictly Holby and they are not considered anti scald devices because they are slow acting

    About water taking a long time to reach the fixtures you should consider return circulation and safe money on fuel and water bills

    I was not talking about different temperatures at each faucet as faucets can have a max of 125 DEG F but showers require 120 Max and a Bidet is 110 DEG F

    Heath care is lower at the shower and sinks

    Many under sink models cost under $100
     
  19. themp

    themp Member

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    Location:
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    Did not know about the 120 degree factory setting and 140 degrees for Legionaires's disease. In Googling this, the CDC also says:
    It can become a health concern when it grows and spreads in human-made building water systems like showerheads and sink faucets.
    And then you find a plumber's website that states this: "Legionella also breeds in pipes where stagnant hot water cools below that 120-degree mark. As hot water trapped between a water tank to a faucet or tap cools, it becomes more and more susceptible to infection."

    So, in the end you cannot win for trying. So, the 140 degree setting only will help for the water heater itself, unless you let the 140 degree water run to the shower or sink faucets and let it clean the pipes. There was some discussion that I found that most people are immune to Legionaires's disease.

    Oh, and I guess I will not be using the vacation setting on my water heater anymore :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2020
  20. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

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    plumbing - fire suppression - boiler inspector
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    Being immune to cancer, the plague and other aliments that strike mankind UNLESS your not the one who is immune


    When I was doing my studies and realized your dammed if you do and dammed if you dont it was a perfect win , win to become an expert witness for and against building owners


    Knowing several codes does have its befits
     
  21. DIYorBust

    DIYorBust Active Member

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    Tell me if I'm wrong Sylvan, but I think it's safe to shut down the water heater and keep it at room temp, assuming the room is normally below about 75 degrees.
     
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