When people think of scalding injuries around the home, they likely think of burns from boiling water. However, in many housing units, the water from a faucet can be hot enough to cause serious injuries, particularly to vulnerable age groups, such as children and the elderly.
In other words, the water in your shower may be too hot. One study found that years after water heater manufacturers agreed to limit temperature settings, more than 40 percent of homes still have water hot enough to be dangerous. Water with a temperature over 120 degrees Fahrenheit is hot enough to cause severe burns.
In Georgia, the law requires that every shower be equipped with a valve that lowers the water temperature to a maximum of 120 degrees Fahrenheit before reaching the shower head. It’s also required that the shower handle be blocked from setting the temperatures any higher than 120 degrees. These laws are not always followed.
If you or a loved one has been scalded in a hot water accident, make sure to get adequate medical care. Once you’ve made sure the burn victim is stable, contact a trusted attorney. The Stoddard Firm has years of experience with these types of cases. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Causes and Types of Burn Injuries
Every year there are more than 500,000 scald burns in the United States. These burns occur most often among the elderly and young children, but anyone has the potential to experience a serious burn.
Hot water can cause a third degree burn after 15 seconds of exposure at 133 degrees Fahrenheit. If the water temperature is as high as 156 degrees, that time span shrinks to one second. Most of the time we think of burns as being the result of fire, but hot water causes more injuries per year than fire.
Many showers can easily produce heat in the dangerous range. As many as 11 percent of showers can reach a temperature as high as 130 degrees without going anywhere near their maximum temperature.
Why Might Your Water be too Hot
Back in the 1980s, water heater manufacturers agreed to limit the maximum temperature of water heaters to 120 degrees. In spite of this fact, some of the water in a water heater set to 120 degrees may be as hot as 150 to 166 degrees. This happens because the heat in the water heater may not be equally distributed—the water at the top of the heater will be hotter than the water at the bottom. Poor shower design, including the design of handles and valves, can also contribute to the excessively hot water in housing units.
What To Do If You’ve Been Injured
If you or a loved one has been the victim of hot water scalding through someone else’s neglect or negligence, you should first seek medical attention. You should also make sure you contact authorities. The Stoddard Firm has years of experience handling injuries, and we even offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case. Call us or contact us online today.