One Redditor claims their landlord is creating dangerous conditions by leaving their water heater set to an absurdly high temperature.
Many tenants struggle with landlords who ignore problems in their rental units. Residents have reported landlords who risked house fires, ignored gas leaks, and performed ridiculous renovations that didn’t fix the problem — all to save time or money in the short term.
This time, the problem is a water heater set way too high. According to a photo provided by the original poster, the water from their kitchen tap measures almost 180 degrees Fahrenheit. For reference, water at 160 degrees can cause third-degree burns within half a second, according to InspectAPedia — and this water is 20 degrees hotter.
“My landlord refuses to get over here and turn down my water heater,” the poster said. In response to suggestions that they make the change themselves, they added, “I don’t have access to it.”
According to one commenter, a water heater set this high is likely illegal. “This is out of code in any city I know of,” they wrote. “Water beyond 120° is actually classified as hazardous.” They then suggested a lawsuit, and other commenters recommended reporting the violation.
Some users speculate that the water heater itself may be damaged. “Your landlord’s option is to fix it for cheap now or replace the entire water heater when it completely fails,” said one commenter. Another replied, “Scalding hot water all of a sudden, it could be leaking already.”
A fourth user compared the water temperature to the infamous 1992 McDonald’s hot coffee incident, in which 79-year-old Stella Liebeck was given scalding coffee at one of the franchise’s drive-thru windows in Albuquerque.
Liebeck, who was in the passenger seat when she opened the coffee lid to add cream and sugar, spilled the coffee in her lap while the vehicle was parked, and it burned her so badly that she needed to be hospitalized for days and also required skin grafts.
It was later found that McDonald’s kept their coffee at a ripping 190 degrees Fahrenheit – near boiling point – and that the fast-food giant knew how dangerous it really was to serve liquid that hot to customers.
“That’s how hot the McDonald’s coffee was that burned the lady who sued them,” the user wrote. “That’s the temp you brew coffee. You are not supposed to be able to brew coffee or tea straight out of the regular tap.”
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