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Seriously Scalded By A Hot Water Heater?

Apartment dwellers do not have the advantage that other homeowners have when it comes to regulating the temperature of their water flow. Therefore, the water that spouts from sink faucets, shower heads and the like could be utterly too cold or excessively hot for those attempting to use it.


Subject to the conditions set by the property owner himself, residents of apartment buildings have almost no way of alleviating the problem of a water flow that comes out unexpectedly too hot. That being the case, it is probably not surprising to learn that burn injuries can easily result.

The State Limit Is 120 Degrees

The New York State Department of Health has regulated that water heaters be set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything above this temperature is considered to be dangerous. In fact, a child who is exposed to water temperatures of 140 degrees Fahrenheit could suffer from severe burns. Adults are equally as susceptible to injuries of this nature, making the need to take legal action after an injury of this nature of extreme importance.

Common Causes Of Hot Water Heater Accidents

The most common causes of hot water heater accidents are:

  • Faulty regulators that don’t reflect the true temperature of the water being dispersed from faucets throughout the complex
  • Insufficient inspections by a building owner who is not familiar with the engineering techniques required to accurately read a water meter
  • Water pressure and temperature affected by facility users in other apartments (i.e., a toilet is flushed in the apartment above yours while you’re using the shower, effectively causing a temperature increase to your shower water)

Another common cause of water heater accidents is an electrical malfunction (in the case of electric water heaters). These devices need to be closely monitored because of the serious risks they pose to individuals.

When Is The Landlord Liable?

Since there are standard regulations for setting the temperature of your water heater, your landlord can be liable if they fail to set it at the proper temperature. Water heaters can also be defective. In these cases, it may be the fault of the landlord, the manufacturer of the unit itself, or the company responsible for maintenance and repair. It all depends on the exact fault.

Children are particularly at risk in these types of accidents, because their skin is more sensitive. The National Safe Kids Campaign released data that indicates up to 5,000 children are scalded by tap water that has been overheated by hot water heaters. Any water supplied to your apartment or condominium must first come through a set of pipes. The water must be heated before this can even happen.

This Can Affect Dishwashers, Sinks, Showers And More

Anything from your dishwasher to your washing machine can be affected by a faulty water heater. Take this scenario into consideration. Say your hot water heater is set by your landlord, because that is the way your apartment is run. If you have a dishwasher, then the water supplied to this machine comes from your hot water heater. If your water is too hot, then even unloading your dishwasher after the cycle is finished can cause a serious scalding injury. If you happen to have a gas water heater rather than an electric one, this may also present the possibility of a fire or explosion.

If you were injured by a hot water heater, contact the attorneys at Sakkas, Cahn & Weiss, LLP for a free consultation: 212-571-7171. We’re ready to help.

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