To prevent burns, test the temperature of your hot tap water with a candy or cooking thermometer.
In a new study from Johns Hopkins of more than 700 households, 41 percent had water temperatures above 120°F— dangerously high. About one in four had temperatures above 130°F. That’s despite implementation of voluntary standards almost 25 years ago for water heater manufacturers to pre-set thermostats at the factory to 120°F.
Gas water heaters (as opposed to electric ones, which require a professional to adjust), smaller-capacity water heaters, and those in rental homes were more likely to produce water that’s too hot. Moreover, as the researchers discovered, none of the water heater gauges indicated safe temperatures, and most were not easy to adjust.
Every year an estimated 1,500 Americans are hospitalized with burns from tap water, and about 100 die. Young children and the elderly are at greater burn risk.