Boiler dangers: Defective boilers can lead to scalding burns

By Steven Miller
Senior Partner

When you want to use hot water in your home, the goal is to make it hot enough to kill bacteria and to feel hot to the touch, but you don’t want it so hot that it burns you. When the temperature gauges are not working correctly, it’s possible that the water could become so hot that it causes burns.

There are two types of safety controls on a boiler. The first is the safety relief valve, which protects people from high temperatures and high pressures. The next is the low-water cutoff, which turns off the boiler if there isn’t enough water. If a landlord neglects to maintain or fix faulty boiler controls, tenants can get seriously injured. 

Why is it important to prevent high-temperature water from contacting the skin?

Anything hot can cause damage to the skin, including water. Did you know that you could suffer a third-degree burn by exposing your skin to 150-degree water for only two seconds? If the water is as hot as 140 degrees, you’ll suffer third-degree burns after just five-to-six seconds of exposure.

The risk of burns continues on a downward trend as temperatures decline. Typically, it is safe to bathe in water of 120 degrees or less, which is the typical maximum recommended setting for boilers. At 120 degrees, it’s still possible to suffer from burns after five minutes of exposure, so it’s best to reduce temperatures so that they are close to body temperature or slightly warmer.

Typically safe water temperatures for your activities include:

  • Showers at 110°F to 115°F
  • Hand washing at 110°F to 115°F
  • Laundry washing at 110°F to 120°F

What can you do if you are burned by a defective boiler?

You should feel safe in your own home. Unfortunately, many New York tenants face dangerous conditions in their apartment complexes. It is your landlord’s duty to properly maintain the building so you can avoid easily preventable injuries. 

If you have been burned by a defective boiler in an apartment complex, then you may be able to file a personal injury claim to cover damages. Damages could include medical bills and payment for pain and suffering. 

About the Author
Steven Miller, Esq. is the founding member and Senior Partner in Miller, Montiel & Strano, P.C. Mr. Miller’s extensive career as a trial attorney spans five decades. He tries cases for the catastrophically injured victims of construction site accidents, motor vehicle and premises accidents caused by the negligence of others. Mr. Miller is a detail oriented, tenacious attorney committed to achieving the maximum results for his clients; he has obtained numerous seven figure verdicts and settlements.