For lots of people, there’s nothing better than a hot shower to start the day. Although that may just be a great way to wake up and start the day, experts say it’s possible 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 cause a safety challenge for members of your home. But, if you set your water heater temperature too low, it can enable growth of potentially harmful bacteria and not provide enough hot water for your household.

So, what number is ideal for your water heater? In this article, we’ll identify the most effective temperature to use, when there could be justification to set it a little higher and how hot is too hot for your personal water heater.

What Water Heater Temperature Is the Most Efficient?

Although many manufacturers advise setting the water temperature at 140 degrees, a more economical temperature for a water heater is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Specialists say 120 degrees hits the right balance between safety and energy consumption.

The U.S. Department of Energy states that setting a home water heater temperature at 120 degrees could save roughly 22 percent on a home's utility bills. Energy waste is a frequent challenge for water heaters because traditional tank models constantly heat a tank of water in case it is needed. If you have the water heater temperature set too high, your water heater is constantly heating a tank filled to the brim with super-hot water.

What Temperature Should I Set My Hot Water To?

In most cases, the suggested efficient temperature of 120 degrees is a good setting for your water heater. At 120 degrees, the water is hot enough to meet the requirements of most residents, but not so hot that it risks burning skin on contact. This makes it a safer choice, especially in homes with younger children or elderly people. Lower 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.

Can I Set My Water Temperature Higher Than 120 Degrees?

While many energy experts say 120 degrees is the best water heater temperature if you’re trying 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 helpful in eliminating harmful bacteria that can cause or worsen certain health conditions. This also may be practical 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 tends to use a significant amount 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 enough hot water to go around.
  • Old dishwasher: If your dishwasher is old and doesn’t heat water on its own, it may be necessary to set your water heater to a higher temperature for it to work properly.

What Temperature Is Too Hot for my Hot Water Heater?

Although some people like their water extremely hot or prefer to blend hot and cold water to obtain their perfect water temperature, there is such a thing as water that is too hot. Experts say any temperature higher than 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 a few 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 Childress Heating & AC for Your Water Heater Service Needs in Fredericksburg

Water heaters can sometimes feel a little mysterious, but the qualified specialists at Childress Heating & AC know these appliances like the back of their hands. They’ve serviced many brands and styles of water heaters through the years, so they have the experience to handle your water heater repair in Fredericksburg.

We also provide water heater replacement, so give us a call at 540-675-4306 if you suspect you need water heater installation in Fredericksburg. We are happy to take a look at your system and give a no-cost estimate!