At Home with Lisa: Water Heater

My basement is pretty creepy—half crawl space, half cellar, there aren’t a lot of reasons to go down there except for getting some stuff out of storage. But this week I went down there for a good reason—I needed to check the temperature on my water heater.

Looking through Avista’s Energy Guide, I found that it offered some good advice for my water heater. I didn’t know I could change the temperature. If you are looking for tips to make your house more energy efficient, you can always download the Energy Guide.

Using a meat thermometer, I tested the water temperature coming from my kitchen faucet. The Energy Guide recommends 120 degrees as the most efficient temperature, but also said that your hot water shouldn’t be hotter than 140 degrees or cooler than 115 degrees. Mine was running a little warm—about 130 degrees. I found the water heater on my circuit breaker and turned off its power.

I didn’t need many tools for this project. Just my screwdriver. There are two panels on the side of the heater that you can remove. Once you do that and pull aside any insulation, you can see a tiny little knob. I used my screwdriver to move the knob to about 120 degrees.

Once I was finished with that, I replaced the panels and found a bucket. At the bottom of the heater is a tap. Every three months or so you should fill a bucket or two of water from here to minimize on the sediments that collect at the bottom of your heater. This was new information to me, too. If your heater fills up with too much sediment or minerals it can become inefficient.

The hardest part of this project was getting up the courage to go downstairs, which is kind of creepy. This was another easy project to do and it gives me some control of how much energy I use.

Lisa, an Avista customer, bought her 1910 house because she loved the old-world character, some of which doesn’t make her house very energy efficient.  Lisa is sharing her experience on taking some simple do-it-yourself improvements to inspire others to do the same.  You’ll find her stories right here every Tuesday morning.

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  1. At Home with Lisa
  2. Electric
  3. Energy Saving