Hot Water Scalding
I have a problem with the temperature of the water in my home. I have a hot water heating system, and my water is heated by the same furnace. I do not have a hot water tank. Instead, the water comes directly from the furnace. According to my oil burner company, I must keep the temperature of the water in the furnace above 140 degrees or my heating system will not work properly. This seems to be extremely hot and I am concerned that my little one (when he is old enough to reach the faucet) may burn himself. Should I insist he lower the furnace temperature?
PB from Scranton, PA
You are without-a-doubt correct to be concerned about your water temperature. Back in the good old days, it was not uncommon for water heaters to be set at 160 degrees, more than hot enough to cause immediate severe scalding burns! Nowadays, the standard setting for hot water is between 110 and 120 degrees.
However, I would advise against changing the water temperature of your furnace. Your furnace guy (or gal) is absolutely correct... lowering the temperature will radically change the built-in efficiency of your furnace and of your heating system as a whole.
Think about it. If you lower the temperature of the furnace, the temperature of the water circulating through your radiators will likewise be lowered. This will in turn increase the amount of time it will take for your home to be heated. All things being equal, it takes the same amount of oil to keep your home at a certain temperature regardless of how hot the water is. Therefore, your oil burner will have to cycle on and off more often to maintain this lower temperature because it will take longer for the temperature to rise. This will cause increased wear and tear on the furnace without any gain (or even a loss) in efficiency. The most inefficient moment in your furnace's operation is when it first starts up!
So instead of focusing on the furnace as the culprit, you can take measures to lower the faucet hot water temperature AFTER it leaves the furnace. This is done through the installation of a "mixing valve". A mixing valve is a simple thermostatically-controlled mechanism that mixes a little cold water with the hot water to lower the temperature. Mixing valves are adjustable to product the desired water temperature, but it is wise to use a thermometer to verify the temperature at the tap. Installation does require some plumbing skills such as pipe cutting and soldering, but the end result is worth it!
copyright 2000 G.G. Alonzy
Have a small home repair question for THE NATURAL HANDYMAN? Just click here www.naturalhandyman.com/aitikia
For more home repair information, visit NH's growing list of original home repair articles and quality links www.naturalhandyman.com
If this information has been valuable to you, please consider making a small donation to support NH's free service to the home repair community! For more information, please visit our "Friends" page www.naturalhandyman.com/friends
The Natural Handyman Site Directory
- Home Repair Articles www.naturalhandyman.com/iip
- Home Repair Links Library www.naturalhandyman.com/linkslibrary
- NH's Bookshop www.naturalhandyman.com/bookshop
- Find a handyman at www.naturalhandyman.com/network
- Win unique home repair gifts and prizes at www.naturalhandyman.com/contest
Please read the important copyright and disclaimer information is located at www.naturalhandyman.com/copyright
Also in Home
- Ways to reuse an entertainment center
- The cost of using your clothes dryer
- Hay bale gardens
- Priortizing home repair projects
- Great ideas for decorating your entry on a dime
- Easy, inexpensive ways to grow from seed
- 10 ways to save money on your utility bill
- 5 simple and affordable luxuries for your home
- 5 frugal ways to expand your living space
- Top 10 DIY mistakes made by home 'handymen'
- 6 ways to save on home heating
- 7 ghastly critters that will eat your house
- Find the best mortgage rates in your area
- 3 ways to use a mortgage calculator
- Mortgage calculator: Calculate your payment and more
- Home equity calculator: HELOC vs. line of credit
- Mortgage refinance break-even calculator
- How much money can I borrow for a mortgage?
- Who offers the most home insurance discounts?