Home water temps still too high: study

April 3, 2013

Baltimore – Water heater temperatures in many homes represent a danger to children and elderly people despite adoption of voluntary standards for hot water settings, according to a new study from Johns Hopkins University.

Manufacturers agreed to pre-set thermostats on new water heaters at 120° F in compliance with a voluntary standard in the 1980s, the study abstract states. However, a survey of 708 Baltimore homes found the water temperature set above that level in 41 percent of homes, including 27 percent in which the water temperature was at or above 130° F, according to a Johns Hopkins press release.

Compared to homeowners, renters were less likely to have a safe water temperature. Additionally, safe temperatures were less prevalent in homes with gas water heaters and water heaters that held fewer gallons per person.

Researchers recommend other efforts to reduce water temperature, such as putting anti-scald devices on faucets. Families also should test water temperatures after they adjust the gauges.

The study was published in the March/April issue of the Journal of Burn Care and Research.