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For the upcoming winter season many money-saving resources are advising individuals to lower the thermostat temperature on their home’s water heater. One such resource advises readers to lower the standard temperature of 140° F to 120° F. While this will save you money during the upcoming cold months due to decreased energy usage, it may also be a hidden and deadly risk. By lowering your water heater’s temperature from a safe temperature of 140° F you are creating a perfect environment for bacteria to grow and multiply. This is especially true for legionella, the bacteria that causes the deadly form of pneumonia known as Legionnaires’ disease. Legionella is a common bacteria and once it has entered a water system it can easily spread throughout the entire system putting the home’s residents at risk for Legionnaires’ disease. While Legionnaires’ disease is only contracted through inhalation of the bacteria, this can occur during many common uses of a home’s water system, such as showering and washing dishes. For this reason it is important to maintain a water heater temperature of 140° F, the minimum temperature required to kill the bacteria. Some may argue that this puts water users at risk for scalding due to high water temperature. This problem, however, can be remedied through the installation of a device known as a mixing valve, which mixes cold water with the hot water as its being used to create a safer hot water temperature.

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 9:25 am

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