For many people, there’s nothing better than a hot shower to start the day. Even though that may just be a perfect way to wake up and start the day, experts say you can 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 issue for members of your family. But, if you set your water heater temperature too low, it can enable growth of potentially harmful bacteria and not produce enough hot water for your dwelling.

So, what temp is ideal for your water heater? In this article, we’ll identify the most cost-effective temperature to use, when there could be justification 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 brands encourage setting the water temperature at 140 degrees, a more efficient temperature for a water heater is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Experts say 120 degrees hits the right balance between safety and energy consumption.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that setting a home water heater temperature at 120 degrees could save roughly 22 percent on energy costs. Energy waste is a particular challenge for water heaters because traditional tank models constantly heat a tank of water in case it is required. 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.

So What Temperature Should My Hot Water Be?

In many instances, 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 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 men and women. Reduced temperatures also cut down on mineral deposits in your water heater, which could cause it to break down or need replacing.

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

While many industry experts say 120 degrees is the ideal water heater temperature if you’re wanting to save money, is it alright to set it higher? Beyond personal preference, there are a few circumstances where it could be wise to set your water temperature a little higher, between 130-140 degrees:

  • Bacteria: Hotter water temperatures can be a good way to eliminate harmful bacteria that can cause or worsen 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 are sick.
  • High usage: If your home is inclined to use a significant amount 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 for all the household's needs.
  • Old dishwasher: If your dishwasher is getting up there in years and doesn’t heat water on its own, you may have to set your water heater to a higher temperature for it to work effectively.

How Hot Is Too Hot for a Water Heater?

Although some people like their water extremely hot or would rather blend hot and cold water to obtain their desired water temperature, there is such a thing as water that is too hot. Plumbing and heating specialists say any temperature higher than 140 degrees is too hot for a water heater in a residence. At 150 degrees, which is definitely 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 especially hazardous in households with children or the elderly.

Call Pure Comfort Heating and Air Conditioning for Your Water Heater Service Needs in Streamwood

Water heaters can seem a little mysterious, but the knowledgeable pros at Pure Comfort Heating and Air Conditioning know these appliances extremely well. They’ve repaired many brands and models of water heaters throughout the years, so they have the experience to handle your water heater repair in Streamwood.

We also offer water heater replacement, so reach out to us at 630-313-2509 if you think you need water heater installation in Streamwood. We are happy to take a look at your system and produce a no-cost estimate!