Thin, Delicate Skin And Older Individuals: Safe-Guard Your Plumbing's Hot Water

Posted on: 30 May 2017

If you're an older individual with thin, delicate skin, you might worry about burning your skin with hot water. Although most hot water heaters allow you to adjust the temperature of your water, lowering the temperature too much leaves your water vulnerable to bacteria and other contaminants. In addition, if you try to manually make your water safe to use, you may accidentally scald your hands or body. Here are things to know about your home's hot water and what you can do to safe-guard it and your delicate skin from scalding.

How Can Hot Water Become Dangerous?

As people age, so does their skin. Your skin loses its elasticity and thickness over time, which makes your skin vulnerable to inflammation, germs, and temperature changes like heat. The heat from hot water not only dry out your skin, it can also make it breakout and itch. Some people can even experience serious to severe burns from hot water.

Both appliance manufacturers and the Environmental Protection Agency recommend setting your water heater at 120°F to prevent burns. OSHA cautions residents to set their water heaters to 140°F in order to prevent the growth of infectious microorganisms inside the tank. However, other sources report that individuals with thin skin can experience burns from their home's hot water, even when the water temperature is 120°F. 

If you use the right precautions, you can keep your water tank's water safe and prevent skin burns.

How Do You Use Hot Water Safely?

One of the things you can do is have a plumber install anti-scald valves inside your water tank. Anti-scald valves allow cold water to mix with the hot water leaving your hot water tank. The temperature of the hot water lowers significantly, which makes it safer for you to use when you shower or bathe.

A plumbing contractor may also place anti-scald devices directly on your kitchen and bathroom sink fixtures. The fixtures are called point-of-use devices or valves. The valves work similar to the valves placed inside hot water heaters. If the water is still too hot, you can always have a plumber adjust the valves for you.

If possible, have a plumber check your hot water heater for contaminant buildup. The buildup can still make your home's water unsafe to use if it contains too much bacteria. 

To learn more about safe-guarding your home's hot water or hot water heater, contact a plumbing service like AAA Home Services.

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