For many people, there's nothing like a hot shower to start the day. While that might be a fantastic way to wake up and start the day, experts say you should be careful not to set your water too hot.

Setting your water heater to a temperature that’s too hot can throw away electricity and cost you money. It also can create a safety concern for members of your residence. But, if you set your water heater temperature too low, it can permit growth of potentially harmful bacteria and not supply adequate hot water for your household.

So, what temp is the right one for your water heater? In this article, we’ll determine the most cost-effective temperature to use, when there could be cause to set it a little higher and how hot is too hot for your home's water heater.

What Water Heater Temperature Is the Most Efficient?

Although many companies advise setting the water temperature at 140 degrees, a more efficient temperature for a water heater is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Industry experts say 120 degrees hits the right balance between safety and energy use.

The U.S. Department of Energy reports that setting a home water heater temperature at 120 degrees could save up to 22 percent on energy bills. Energy waste is especially a challenge for water heaters because traditional tank models constantly heat a tank of water in case it is demanded. If you have the water heater temperature set too high, your water heater is forever heating a tank full of extremely hot water.

What Temperature Should I Set My Hot Water To?

More often than not, the suggested efficient temperature of 120 degrees is an effective yet cost-saving setting for your water heater. At 120 degrees, the water is hot enough to meet the requirements of most homes, but not so hot there's a danger of burning skin on contact. This makes it a safer alternative, especially in homes with younger children or elderly individuals. Cooler temperatures also cut down on mineral deposits in your water heater, which could cause it to break down or need replacement.

Can I Set My Water Temperature Higher Than 120 Degrees?

While many energy experts say 120 degrees is the preferred water heater temperature if you’re wanting to save money, is it OK to set it higher? In addition to personal preference, there are some scenarios where it could be wise to set your water temperature a little higher, between 130-140 degrees:

  • Bacteria: Higher water temperatures can be beneficial in eliminating harmful bacteria that can cause or worsen certain health conditions. This also may be useful if you know your home has an issue with bacteria, or if any people who live in your home are immunocompromised.
  • High usage: If your home is inclined to use a lot of hot water at the same time—showering while also running the dishwasher and washing machine, for example—a higher water heater temperature may be necessary to make sure there’s adequate hot water to go around.
  • Old dishwasher: If your dishwasher is an older model and doesn’t heat water on its own, you may need to set your water heater to a higher temperature for it to work correctly.

What Temperature Is Too High?

While some people like their water very hot or like to blend hot and cold water to obtain their ideal water temperature, there is such a thing as water that is too hot. Plumbing and heating specialists say any temperature above 140 degrees is too hot for a water heater in a residential dwelling. At 150 degrees, which is regarded as way too hot, it takes only seconds for the water to cause third-degree burns. This is why a water heater temperature of 150 degrees is considered very hazardous in residences with children or the elderly.

Call Ameri-Tec for Your Water Heater Service Needs in Narvon

Water heaters can sometimes feel a little mysterious, but the knowledgeable pros at Ameri-Tec know these appliances inside and out. They’ve serviced many brands and types of water heaters throughout the years, so they have the experience to take care of your water heater repair in Narvon.

We also provide water heater replacement, so contact us at 717-479-4950 if you suspect you need water heater installation in Narvon. We are happy to examine your system and provide a complimentary estimate!