For quite a few people, there’s nothing better than a hot shower to start the day. While 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 above the recommended degree can throw away energy and cost you money. It also can create a safety concern for members of your household. But, if you set your water heater temperature too low, it can permit growth of potentially harmful bacteria and not supply enough hot water for your property.

So, what number should you set your water heater? In this article, we’ll identify 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 own water heater.

What Temperature for my Water Heater Is the Most Energy Efficient?

Although many manufacturers suggest setting the water temperature at 140 degrees, a better temperature for a water heater is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Experts say 120 degrees hits the right balance between safety and energy usage.

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 particular challenge for water heaters because traditional tank models continuously heat a tank of water in case it is required. If you have the water heater temperature set too high, your water heater is consistently heating a tank filled to the brim with super-hot water.

What's the Right Temperature for My Hot Water?

In many instances, the suggested efficient temperature of 120 degrees is the right setting for your water heater. At 120 degrees, the water is heated enough to meet the desires of most members of the household, but not so hot that it risks burning skin on contact. This makes it a safer option, especially in homes with small 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 replacement.

Can I Set My Water Temperature Higher Than 120 Degrees?

While many energy experts say 120 degrees is the ideal water heater temperature if you’re wanting to save money, is it acceptable to set it higher? Apart from 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: 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 a problem with bacteria, or if any residents of the house are sick.
  • High usage: If your home has a tendency 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 sufficient hot water for everyone.
  • Old dishwasher: If your dishwasher is old and doesn’t heat water on its own, you may need to set your water heater to a higher temperature for it to work effectively.

What Temperature Is Too High?

Even though some people like their water very hot or would rather blend hot and cold water to create their ideal water temperature, there is such a thing as water that is too hot. Plumbing and heating specialists say any temperature hotter than 140 degrees is too hot for a water heater in a residence. At 150 degrees, which is considered way too hot, it takes just seconds for the water to cause third-degree burns. This is why a water heater temperature of 150 degrees is particularly dangerous in residences with children or the elderly.

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

Water heaters can sometimes feel a little mysterious, but the skilled specialists at Pure Comfort Heating and Air Conditioning 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 tackle your water heater repair in Streamwood.

We also are skilled in water heater replacement, so reach out to us at 630-313-2509 if you suspect you need water heater installation in Streamwood. We are happy to examine your system and produce a free estimate!