Water Heater Safety

Did you know that hot water is the leading cause of scald burns and admissions to hospital burn units? Most scald burns can be prevented. It is important to keep your water heater set at a recommended safe temperature in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.

Babies, young children under the age of five, the elderly and sick people may not be able to respond quickly when in contact with hot water and are most easily burned. It takes less than three seconds to produce a partial-thickness burn when the water temperature is 145°F. It takes much longer — about five minutes — when the water temperature is 120°F.

This lower water temperature also uses less natural gas and can help you save money. Yet this lower water temperature has not been found to present other problems for consumers, such as not having enough hot water or not cleaning clothes or dishes well.

More information is available in the flyer, Pediatric Scalds: A Burning Issue (pdf), from the American Burn Association.

Image of a water heater.