For quite a few people, there’s nothing better than a hot shower to start the day. Even though that may be a great 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 squander power and cost you money. It also can pose a safety concern for members of your household. But, if you set your water heater temperature too low, it can allow growth of potentially harmful bacteria and not supply adequate hot water for your dwelling.

So, what temperature should you set your water heater? Here, we’ll determine the most effective temperature to use, when there could be reason to set it a little higher and how hot is too hot for your home's water heater.

What Is the Most Efficient Temperature for a Water Heater?

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

The U.S. Department of Energy states that setting a home water heater temperature at 120 degrees could save roughly 22 percent on energy bills. Energy waste is a particular challenge for water heaters because traditional tank models always 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 brimming with extremely hot water.

What Temperature Should I Set My Hot Water To?

More often than not, the suggested efficient temperature of 120 degrees is a good setting for your water heater. At 120 degrees, the water is heated enough to meet the requirements of most residents, but not so hot there's a danger of burning skin on contact. This makes it a safer alternative, especially in homes with young children or elderly people. Reduced temperatures also cut down on mineral deposits in your water heater, which could cause it to break down or need to be replaced with a new one.

Should You Ever Set Your Water Temperature Higher Than 120 Degrees?

While many energy experts say 120 degrees is the ideal water heater temperature if you’re trying to save money, is it acceptable to set it higher? Beyond personal preference, there are a couple of different situations where it could be wise to set your water temperature a little higher, between 130-140 degrees:

  • Bacteria: Hotter water temperatures can be beneficial in eliminating harmful bacteria that can cause or aggravate certain health conditions. This also may be helpful if you know your home has trouble with bacteria, or if any people who live in your home have a compromised immune system.
  • High usage: If your home tends to use a large volume of hot water simultaneously—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 getting up there in years and doesn’t heat water as part of its process, you may have to set your water heater to a higher temperature for it to work properly.

How Hot Is Too Hot for a Water Heater?

Even though some people like their water extremely hot or prefer to blend hot and cold water to create their ideal water temperature, there is such a thing as water that is too hot. Energy officials 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 just seconds for the water to lead to third-degree burns. This is why a water heater temperature of 150 degrees is considered very unsafe in residences with children or the elderly.

Call Van Haaften Plumbing & Heating for Your Water Heater Service Needs in Pella

Water heaters can seem a little mysterious, but the knowledgeable technicians at Van Haaften Plumbing & Heating know these appliances like the back of their hands. They’ve fixed many brands and designs of water heaters throughout the years, so they have the experience to take care of your water heater repair in Pella.

We also are skilled in water heater replacement, so contact us at [[phone]] if you suspect you need water heater installation in Pella. We are happy to take a look at your system and produce a no-cost estimate!