Maintenance, safe use of hot water heaters can protect you and y - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Maintenance, safe use of hot water heaters can protect you and your family

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This is National Burn Awareness Week and Safe Electricity is encouraging everyone to pay attention to a danger you have right in your home.

Safe Electricity says burns can be some of the most painful injuries. It's encouraging everyone to learn about scald prevention and water heating safety, as you may not realize the threat your water heater can pose.

Mike Rokita, a Lowe's appliance specialist, says water heater safety is something that people just don't think about.

"People need to understand what they have at home and it's not a toy so always handle with caution if you don't know how your hot water heater works," said Rokita.

Rokita says with the dangers of scalding as well as the heat of the water heater itself, it can be very easy to get burned if you're not careful. He says, especially if you have kids at home, it's very important they understand the dangers of getting burned.

Rokita says a lot of people will try to touch it or turn the valve to see just how hot the water is. He says the water temperatures inside can reach 180 degrees and he suggests setting it lower to avoid getting burned.

"Some of the electrical ones that have a control on there. You can set them at 120 to 140 degrees," Rokita said.

Rokita says the lower you set your water temperature, the more money you save as well. So turning it down can avoid a burn to your skin and avoid burning a hole in your wallet.

The water in the heater is much hotter than the heater feels on the outside. It can be up to 180 degrees. And Rokita says you don't need to open up the valve to find out.

If your hot water isn't lasting as long as it should, Rokita says you either have something wrong with the electric or the pilot light or you might have an issue with the valve, but he warns never to test it by touching the water inside.

But what if you have an older water heater that doesn't have a temperature control on the outside?

Rokita says many of the newer ones do have the temperature control, but if it doesn't, you can get one for anywhere from $45-$100.

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