50C/122F Hot Water Decon Tests

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Re: 50C/122F Hot Water Decon Tests

Postby hewhocaves » Feb 26, 2012 8:26 am

GroundquestMSA wrote:Understood. I guess it doesn't really matter if it's clean or not, though. A ton of gear in a small space leaves little room for much hot water.


Agreed. I usually split it into two - three batches in my wash basin. Yes, it uses more water, but its still cheaper (and fewer chemicals) than formula 409.
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Re: 50C/122F Hot Water Decon Tests

Postby hewhocaves » Feb 26, 2012 8:35 am

Teresa wrote:Despite directing him to this thread, I am unable to convince my agency (and NSS fellow) husband that prolonged 122 degree water is possible with most hot conventional water heaters. He (unfortunately) sent out a memo to a bunch of people in his agency alerting them to this thread and insisting that medical grade sanitizing (installed heating unit) washing machines must be employed.

While it is the truth that our personal water heater isn't set to 140 deg. (no reason to, up to now) I know from personal experience (my grandma's house which was on untreated well water) that 140 deg. water (or probably more!) is entirely within the realm of possibility, because I scalded my hands too many times after running hot tap water to do dishes. I eventually learned, put the dishes in, and the soap, and came back in 7-8 minutes to perform the chore. Or used rubber gloves.

How do you find out what temperature a heater is set to or capable of? We've got a 20 year plus old unit; a Net search of both the brand name and the model number was fruitless. Presumably you have to removed one of the little panels, and look at a thermostat somewhere. TNX


I use one of these

http://www.amazon.com/H-B-Instrument-01 ... 930&sr=1-1

$8.95 and if you have amazon prime you'll get it with free shipping in 2 days. Ge something to put the water in (thermos, tall glass, etc) and you'll have your answer. :big grin:
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Re: 50C/122F Hot Water Decon Tests

Postby BrianC » Feb 27, 2012 9:48 am

hewhocaves wrote:
Teresa wrote:Despite directing him to this thread, I am unable to convince my agency (and NSS fellow) husband that prolonged 122 degree water is possible with most hot conventional water heaters. He (unfortunately) sent out a memo to a bunch of people in his agency alerting them to this thread and insisting that medical grade sanitizing (installed heating unit) washing machines must be employed.

While it is the truth that our personal water heater isn't set to 140 deg. (no reason to, up to now) I know from personal experience (my grandma's house which was on untreated well water) that 140 deg. water (or probably more!) is entirely within the realm of possibility, because I scalded my hands too many times after running hot tap water to do dishes. I eventually learned, put the dishes in, and the soap, and came back in 7-8 minutes to perform the chore. Or used rubber gloves.

How do you find out what temperature a heater is set to or capable of? We've got a 20 year plus old unit; a Net search of both the brand name and the model number was fruitless. Presumably you have to removed one of the little panels, and look at a thermostat somewhere. TNX


I use one of these

http://www.amazon.com/H-B-Instrument-01 ... 930&sr=1-1

$8.95 and if you have amazon prime you'll get it with free shipping in 2 days. Ge something to put the water in (thermos, tall glass, etc) and you'll have your answer. :big grin:



A standard meat grade cooking thermometer in a glass of water will do just fine. If the Temp needs increasing, turn it up, but be careful not to go much above 130 degrees, as your water heater can suffer, and scalding water will burn your skin.
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Re: 50C/122F Hot Water Decon Tests

Postby Teresa » Feb 27, 2012 11:43 am

Uh...I've got a meat thermometer, and a scientific grade digital hydrological thermometer, and as the oldest of 5 kids, I'm really familiar with using thermometers.

The question was: where can you adjust the temperature on the hot water heater?
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Re: 50C/122F Hot Water Decon Tests

Postby Pippin » Feb 27, 2012 12:06 pm

From what I've read, hot water heaters have high temp settings of 140 or 150. I had to unscrew a panel on my water heater and there's a knob that adjusts the temperature. Be sure to turn off the breaker before changing the temperature, and be sure to look and see if there's a reset button you need to press. If I were you, I'd turn it up, but not turn it all the way up. Then, just test the water temp when your washing machine is full of water and gear to ensure the temperature is actually hot enough. I'm not going to leave my water heater at the high temp permanently, I see no reason to and it wastes energy.

And you can tell your husband that I think it's totally absurd for him to think that we must all use some sort of super expensive machine to achieve a sustained water temp of 122F. Does he think that cavers can't figure out how to operate a hot water heater or how to operate a thermometer to ensure the water is actually hot enough? I calibrated my thermometers before I ran my water temp tests and the water was plenty hot. I didn't even have my water heater set to the very highest temperature setting. I could bump it up even more and likely get the water up to the mid 130s. Maybe I'll try my temperature tests again with the water heater set to the highest setting just to prove your husband wrong. :big grin: No offense to your husband, but one of the most annoying things to me about about dealing with various agencies about WNS is the continual insinuation that regular non-agency cavers are completely incapable of understanding basic science concepts. I frankly have found that attitude one of the most annoying things about the entire WNS situation.
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Re: 50C/122F Hot Water Decon Tests

Postby caverdan » Feb 27, 2012 12:15 pm

Teresa wrote:The question was: where can you adjust the temperature on the hot water heater?

Down near the bottom of the tank there should be a dial that you turn up or down to set the tempature. If you have a gas hot water heater, the dial should be on the front of the gas valve and may be seperate from the control you turn to light the hot water heater with. If it is electric it should be the same dial as you turn it on with. You might have to open an access panel to get ot it. If you still can't find it, can you post a picture of it? It might help to follow the gas line or electric cable from the wall to the unit to aid in finding the control.

Where you want to test the tempature is at the washing machine itself. You will find very little if any tempature loss between the tank and the machine unless you have an unusually long distance between them.
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Re: 50C/122F Hot Water Decon Tests

Postby chac » Feb 27, 2012 12:37 pm

Check to see if you have the old owner's manual for the heater first. It will tell you how to increase the temperature. If you don't have the manual, and it's a gas unit, follow the copper tubing to the small "box" at the base of the heater. There is/was a temperature-setting dial on the face or side of this "box". If your heater is electric, look to where the wire enters the heater (usually at the top of the unit). There will be small rectangular plate (with one or two screws) on the side or top of the heater near this location. You may want to inspect the outside of the heater first for a temperature adjusting mechanism.

First, please turn the power off to the electric unit at the circuit breaker box before doing anything. Remove screws, plate, and push the insulation to the side. Depending on the unit, you will see wires attached to a black distribution box. There may be a small dial with a screwdriver slot at this distribution box. The dial will have a W<>C, H<>C, or some reference to temperature. Increase the temperature in small increments, replace the insulation, plate, and screw. If you don't find this W<>C adjustment, look for a plate on the outside of the unit below the upper access plate. When you are done turn the power on and check the hot water temperature later.

If it's a really old heater, just add more wood to the fire :tonguecheek:

If it's an older heater and your water supply is mineral rich, I'd personally leave the heater settings alone. The interior of a 20 year old tank may be pitted. By increasing the tank temperature, it may aggravate any pitting in the holding tank. You just may want to fill a cooler with hot water from your water heater and then add hotter (boiling?) water from the stove. Then add your gear and adjust the temperature to last the recommended temperature and time.
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Re: 50C/122F Hot Water Decon Tests

Postby BrianC » Feb 27, 2012 12:49 pm

chac wrote:
If it's an older heater and your water supply is mineral rich, I'd personally leave the heater settings alone. The interior of a 20 year old tank may be pitted. By increasing the tank temperature, it may aggravate any pitting in the holding tank. You just may want to fill a cooler with hot water from your water heater and then add hotter (boiling?) water from the stove. Then add your gear and adjust the temperature to last the recommended temperature and time.

Very good information chac, The higher the temp can also increase pressure especially if you get air from the outside source. That can lead to some unfortunate results. Higher temps also increase the solution of the lining of the tank, and like you stated , this can also cause undesirable effects. Boiling water added to a vat can be controlled very well and at much higher temps as too.
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Re: 50C/122F Hot Water Decon Tests

Postby hewhocaves » Feb 28, 2012 10:26 am

Teresa wrote:Uh...I've got a meat thermometer, and a scientific grade digital hydrological thermometer, and as the oldest of 5 kids, I'm really familiar with using thermometers.

The question was: where can you adjust the temperature on the hot water heater?


:) Apologies for misunderstanding. There's a red dial on mine. I think it actually has increments of 1,2,3,4,5. So I had to figure out the temp to increment ratio.

Btw there is copious humor value with nieces / nephews and younger kids and the High School science thermometers. "sorry timmy, we have to take your rectal temp. Let me go get the thermometer!"
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Re: 50C/122F Hot Water Decon Tests

Postby wyandottecaver » Feb 28, 2012 7:30 pm

Teresa's husband proves a point I think many have overlooked. Caver Decon has always been essentially on the honor system. From a land manager/agency standpoint they need to have policies that are defensible in court. Thus commercial sanitizing equipment vs pa's 20 yr old heater/washer setup at home.

While this is great news for cavers (and bats) in the *practical* fight against WNS, cavers dunking clothes in scalding water behind closed doors means exactly zero from a policy and management perspective.

While I think there are plenty of self-serving, greedy, stupid reasons the USFWS will push for stupid WNS policies, cavers saying they washed gear, in water they say was hot enough long enough, using equipment they individually claim works....isn't a basis to change even well managed policies.
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Re: 50C/122F Hot Water Decon Tests

Postby caverdan » Feb 29, 2012 9:49 am

wyandottecaver wrote:Teresa's husband proves a point I think many have overlooked. Caver Decon has always been essentially on the honor system. From a land manager/agency standpoint they need to have policies that are defensible in court. Thus commercial sanitizing equipment vs pa's 20 yr old heater/washer setup at home.

While this is great news for cavers (and bats) in the *practical* fight against WNS, cavers dunking clothes in scalding water behind closed doors means exactly zero from a policy and management perspective.

While I think there are plenty of self-serving, greedy, stupid reasons the USFWS will push for stupid WNS policies, cavers saying they washed gear, in water they say was hot enough long enough, using equipment they individually claim works....isn't a basis to change even well managed policies.

Good thing we used commercial steralization methods at the 2011 convention so we could show them USFWS people how it's done. :kewl: :clap: :big grin:
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Re: 50C/122F Hot Water Decon Tests

Postby Scott McCrea » Feb 29, 2012 9:53 am

The fact that this new decon proposal has stretched out to 57 posts, just proves that even putting stuff in hot water can be difficult for cavers.

Has anyone tested killing GD in hot tubs?
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Re: 50C/122F Hot Water Decon Tests

Postby BrianC » Feb 29, 2012 10:15 am

Scott McCrea wrote:The fact that this new decon proposal has stretched out to 57 posts, just proves that even putting stuff in hot water can be difficult for cavers.

Has anyone tested killing GD in hot tubs?


At 104 degrees, it would probably breed something undesirable, unless of course the chlorine was over 20 ppm, and then the gear would be deemed useless anyway.
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Re: 50C/122F Hot Water Decon Tests

Postby Teresa » Mar 1, 2012 12:13 am

Thanks for the technical info. I like the concept of pouring boiling water into the washing machine and using a thermometer. Thanks to chac...well, I wasn't going to go fiddle with the panels because at least one is rusted shut when I checked. I suspected something like what he said...we have municipal water, but it is groundwater from 900 ft down and it is as hard as Hades. We haven't cleaned the tank out in some time. Yeah, we make rocks from water in the basement...what else do you expect from two cavers?
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Re: 50C/122F Hot Water Decon Tests

Postby John Lovaas » Mar 2, 2012 1:16 pm

I had a chance to do a load of caving laundry with 3 Onset HOBO Pendant temperature loggers as part of the load. They are accurate to 1 degree F., and have a 5 minute response time in water. The loggers collected water temperature at 10 minute intervals in this experiment.

I ran the washer through a 20 minute hot water soak cycle, followed by a standard hot/warm wash cycle with 10 minutes of agitation. The washer is an ancient Roper; my water heater is a new AO Smith; on a 0/1/2/3/4 rotary scale, it is set at 2. Im on city water, with the cold tap currently running at 49F.

The soak cycle started at 9:05AM, and ended at 9:43AM. The wash cycle started imemdiately afterwards, and ended around 10:50AM. The washer was opened at 11:07AM, and the data was downloaded.
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