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How to Change the Temperature on an Electric Hot Water Heater

VIDEO TRANSCRIPTION

We’re on electric water heater and we’re talking about changing the temperature settings for your comfort level and your home. This is also a task that requires us to turn the power off, so make sure, first and foremost, that you turn the power off before you ever remove one of these panels on the water heater, and then once come back and double check yourself.

Always double check yourself because a lot of times the boxes aren’t marked right or maybe the breaker doesn’t work or there’s something faulty in the electricity.

These will hurt you if you don’t check and double check yourself. So what we do, we have our power off so we’re going to go ahead and open up the cover and get into our little mechanical room on our water heater here.

The next thing we’re looking for is power. There are two places that I check for this on a water heater. The first one is down here at the element. Typically, if the power is on it’s going to be towards this element, but there’s also another place I check before I call it good.

Now you can see that there is no voltage at this element here. The next one is a little trickier to get in. To check, I always reach up at the top here, in the top corner, just the plastic itself and I pull this plastic thing off- don’t worry it snaps right back on.

The next thing I do is check up here for power, at the top two screws because there is power here all the time regardless. Sometimes the power transfers to the lower element and that’s why I say check both spots. If you’re in one cover it’s just as easy to pull this off. If you want to start there you’ll know for sure right away.

As you can see I’ve got no power at the unit, so we’re safe to go ahead and work with this. Now, the thermostat in these- there are two thermostats in an electric water heater; there’s an upper thermostat and there’s a lower thermostat. You ask why there two, the reason being is once you get the water to a certain temperature up here for that first hour of recovery, it switches to the bottom to go ahead and finish heating the rest of the tank.

Electric Hot Water Heater

Now, when it does that, typically the bottom element is lower temperature on the thermostat by 10 degrees or so, then the top one, due to a phenomenon called temperature stacking, which is pretty simple if you think about it. Heat rises, it does the same thing in hot water and in the tank itself, so your top is going to be a little bit hotter than your bottom so that they don’t alternate wrong.

It’s something that a lot of people don’t know about that’s pretty important. So, your lower element is usually one setting lower than you upper element because each setting on these is about 10 degrees. Now we get into the thermostat itself. Each one is a little bit different. Some of these thermostats have numbers on them and some of them have letters on them.

This one, in particular, has numbers on it and as you can see, it goes up to a hundred and fifty degrees Fahrenheit on this thermostat- this particular one. I like to see the hot water at about a hundred and ten degrees, especially when you’re dealing with the elderly and small children because it is potentially very, very dangerous any higher than that and you’ve got some time still to move away from the hot water before it scourges your skin.

Baby skin is very, very tender and elderly people just can’t move very fast, so those are the two things that you have to be very aware of. Hot water is potentially very dangerous, it’s something that we all use every day. A lot of us end up taking for granted until your water heater goes out or goes bad but it’s something that we need to pay attention to (temperature wise) because it can be very potentially dangerous.

Okay. Now, to change the temperature setting, what you need is a smaller screwdriver. As before we used a larger one. You may have a couple of different sizes. You’re looking for a smaller screwdriver to do a job like this because it’s got to fit in the slot. What you do is you fit it in the slot and you turn it clockwise to turn it up. Did you hear that click? That click means that it turned on. And you turn it counterclockwise to turn it down.

This particular one on the top is set at a hundred and twenty-five. I don’t recommend you set them this high just because that’s a pretty high temperature. I like to see the top one set at the top side on the electric heater at about 110 to 115 degrees and the bottom one 105 to 110. And you got that stacking that happens, that makes your water heater very efficient. That’s how you adjust the thermostat on this. Now, there’s also a redundant thermostat in the lower half once again that you have to adjust to.