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Preventing Hot Water Scalds

dripping-showerheadWhat words spring to mind when you think of your water heater? Comfort? Appliance? Vital? Your water heater is definitely one of the hardest working appliances in your home, but there is one other word that should come to mind when you think of your water heater: safety. Modern water heaters are designed to operate in the safest manner possible, but any appliance that heats water and then pipes that water to fixtures for your own personal use has the potential to create dangerous situations.

Hot water scalds are no laughing matter, and ensuring that you are able to use hot water in your home without the risk of scalds is extremely important. This is especially true in those homes with young children that may not pay close attention to faucet/shower settings or think to test the water before jumping in. There are ways to prevent scalds from happening, and our plumbers in Rancho Cucamonga, CA want to share some of them with you today.

Why Might Temperatures Get So High?

There are various reasons why the temperature of the water coming from your faucets may be hot enough to scald human skin. A phenomenon known as “thermal stacking” is perhaps the most common. This is a situation that can occur with tank water heaters, which just happen to be the most commonly used type of system around.

Basically, if you are making multiple short draws on your hot water supply in rapid succession, but are not really draining much water from the tank during prolonged usage, cold water is going to have to be brought into the tank to replace the bursts of water leaving it. There is still plenty of hot water at the top of the tank, but the cold water at the bottom is going to call for heating. That means that the top-level water will get hotter and hotter, and that can lead to scalds when next you call for hot water at the tap.

Another issue that can lead to scalds is simply putting too much faith in the thermostat on the water heater. That thermostat is there to set a target temperature for the water to be heated to. It is not necessarily denoting a maximum temperature in the tank. The water heater is not going to shut down or attempt to somehow cool the water within just because the temperature exceeds that set at the thermostat.

So How Do I Prevent Scalds?

First things first, nothing beats a bit of precaution. If you do have kids, remind them to get the water running and to test that water with their hands before stepping into the shower. If you have younger children that likely won’t remember to do so, go ahead and set the temperature for them. That’s a step in the right direction, but taking a more technical approach can also be beneficial.

Speak to a professional plumber about installing a temperature-actuated mixing valve, which will mix some cooler water in with the hot, an automatic compensating mixing valve, or even a point-of-use temperature limiting device. When it comes to safety and hot water, it pays to be proactive.

Schedule your water heater services with The Sunny Plumber SoCal. Bright and Shiny and won’t show our Hiney.

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