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All You Need To Know About Water Heater Thermostats

Water heater thermostats are in real sense very simple devices which operate off a bi-metal switch that’s normally located at the back of the thermostat. Once the bi-metal disk reaches a certain temperature it pops out or in, whichever the case, it connects or disconnects the power supply to the heating element. The disk is what one hears when the temperature is turned down or up. When shopping for a water heater thermostat, the two most important things you need to take into consideration are the voltage of the water heater and the number of elements in the water heater.

The most common residential dual element water heaters are normally 240V. It is important to note that the upper thermostat as well as the limit switch is normally sold together. For your water heater, there are always two thermostats, the upper or primary thermostat and the lower or secondary thermostat. The upper thermostat is normally mounted onto a limit switch.

Depending on the design, a thermostat can be either used for a single element water heater or a dual element water heater. Contrary to popular belief, the dual element residential water heater doesn’t use both elements to heat water at the same time. Generally what happens is that when you start to heat a tank of cold water, the upper element will be used to heat the water in the top half of the tank. Once the upper element has been satisfied that water on the upper side has been warmed enough, it will shut down and then the lower element will start to heat the water from the bottom.

When using, installing or replacing a thermostat, it is important to note that turning down your water heater temperature can save you a wad of cash and energy as well. even though some manufacturers set their water heater thermostats at 140 F, many households rarely get to that level since a huge majority can function pretty well if it is set at 120 F, making this change not only saves you energy but also lowers or slows down the corrosion and mineral build up in the water heater as well as pipes. In addition, there is the danger of scalding that water heated at 140 F poses to many users.

Any savings emanating from reducing the water heater temperature in your home is usually based on two main components; these are reduced standby losses which emanate from heat that’s lost from the water heater onto the surrounding basement area as well as loss through consumption from water use or demand from your home.

Even though it has been acknowledged that there is a slight chance of promoting the presence of legionellae bacteria when you maintain hot tanks at 120 F, this particular level is still widely considered safe for use. However, if you have a chronic respiratory disease or a suppressed immune system, then you should consider keeping your water tank at 140 F. To minimize instances of scalding, it is highly recommended that one installs other temperature regulating devices or mixing valves on taps used for bathing or washing.

Here are some of the most popular water heater thermostats readily available in the market. They include but are not limited to the following:

1) Product Name: Reliance Upper Electric Thermostat

Product Price: $ 14.75

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Product Details: this unit should solely be used with electric heaters. The thermostat is easy to install, reliable and durable. The unit has both WH9 and WH10A operation. The WH9 operation electrifies the lower heating element until the water temperature heat is reached while the WH10A electrifies the upper element until the set water temperature is reached before transferring power to the bottom element.

2) Product Name: Rheem Electric Thermostat

Product Price: $ 10.76

Product URL:

Product Details: this is a lower thermostat that fits all models and is ideal for use as a residential unit. It is also easy to use and install. Many users report a much better control of temperature from the unit. As earlier mentioned, wires fit straight into the screw making the installation process a breeze. The unit is long lasting and very durable as well.

3) Product Name: Camco Apcom Style Upper Thermostat

Product Price: $ 14.44

Product URL:

Product Details: the unit is ideal for dual heating element applications. It does also have an energy efficiency range setting as well as a built in safety switch that helps prevent the water heater from overheating. It does also have an adjustable temperature range that ranges between 110 F to 160 F even though it does come preset at 120 F.

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