Burn injuries can be caused by defective boilers

By Steven Miller
Senior Partner

In your home, there is a boiler. It does exactly as its name describes, boiling water to supply hot water around your home.

With boilers, there is normally a safety in place to prevent water from getting too hot. There are also pressure valves to release steam and energy, so there is a lower chance of an explosion.

What are the risks of defective boilers?

A defective boiler could result in scalding, which is a kind of burn injury. The water may come out of the tap so hot that it causes serious burns, permanent physical scars and emotional trauma.

In the event that the boiler can’t release pressure, there is a risk that it could explode in the home. This could spray individuals around it with hot water and debris, causing severe injuries.

Water temperatures: How hot is too hot?

With any home boiler system, you have the ability to adjust the temperature. Some people prefer it hotter, to the point that it has the potential to burn. Others prefer it to be set low enough that burns are impossible.

Burns are possible at a temperature of over 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures over this are considered extremely dangerous and can lead to extreme burns. Usually, a thermostatic mixer valve is installed to control the outlet temperature. In cases where a thermostatic mixer valve was not installed, people often reported burns to themselves, the elderly and children.

Remember that there is also a margin of error in any hot water cycle. The margin of error is between 12 and 18 degrees Fahrenheit, which is partially a result of the hotter water rising to the top of the water heater while the lower temperatures gather at the bottom.

Burns can happen in as few as two seconds once the water temperature exceeds 140 degrees Fahrenheit. For example, at 120 degrees Fahrenheit, a person would suffer a 3rd degree burn in only five minutes of bathing. At 124 degrees Fahrenheit, it takes only three minutes. At 148 degrees Fahrenheit, it takes two seconds to suffer this serious burn.

Why do water heaters need to reach higher temperatures?

Water heaters have to reach hot temperatures to eliminate the Legionella bacteria, which can cause Legionnaires’ disease. A mixer helps by allowing the boiler to reach extremely high temperatures but then delivering safe temperatures to faucets by mixing in cooler water as the hot water leaves the system.

Burn injuries can be prevented with the right tools. Always check that a mixer is in place, so your family stays safe.

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.