Is your water temperature, like British heavy metal band UFO, too hot to handle? When you turn on the hot water at your sink and wash the day off your face, do you have to turn the cold water on just a teensy bit, too?

If you answered yes, your central heating boiler is working harder than it needs to, and you’re wasting money and energy. Handle this: When you turn on the cold water faucet so as not to scald that pretty visage of yours, you’re cooling down water that was just heated down in the basement. Come on now.

Instead of tempering your water at the sink, adjust it at the source—march your bad self down to the basement and turn the hot water heater down to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The Chelsea Green Guide to Energy says 140 “should do it,” and we’re inclined to believe them, so give it a try. Next time we’ll talk about turning the Lights Out.

This article originally appeared in Plenty in October 2007. The story was added to

Don't throw cold water
Water too hot to…handle? Turn down the temperature on your water heater.