For quite a few people, there’s nothing better than a hot shower in the morning. Although that may just be a perfect 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 scorching can squander energy and cost you money. It also can create a safety issue 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 provide sufficient hot water for your dwelling.

So, what temperature is ideal for your water heater? Here, we’ll determine the most effective temperature to use, when there could be cause to set it a little higher and how hot is too hot for your personal 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 strikes 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 approximately 22 percent on a home's utility bills. Energy waste is especially a 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 full of extremely hot water.

What Temperature Should I Set My Hot Water To?

In many instances, 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 homes, 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 men and women. Reduced temperatures also decrease 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 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 couple of different scenarios where it could make sense to set your water temperature a little higher, between 130-140 degrees:

  • Bacteria: Increased water temperatures can be beneficial in eliminating 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 residents of the house are immunocompromised.
  • High usage: If your home tends to use a significant amount of hot water simultaneously—showering while also running the dishwasher and washing machine, for example—a greater water heater temperature may be necessary to make sure there’s sufficient hot water to go around.
  • Old dishwasher: If your dishwasher is old 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 effectively.

How Hot Is Too Hot for a Water Heater?

While some people like their water extremely hot or like to blend hot and cold water to achieve their ideal water temperature, there is such a thing as water that is too hot. Experts say any temperature above 140 degrees is too hot for a water heater in a residential dwelling. At 150 degrees, which is definitely way too hot, it takes a few seconds for the water to create third-degree burns. This is why a water heater temperature of 150 degrees is especially hazardous in residences with children or the elderly.

Call Central Heating & Plumbing for Your Water Heater Service Needs in New Castle

Water heaters can be a little mysterious, but the skilled technicians at Central Heating & Plumbing know these appliances inside and out. They’ve serviced many brands and designs of water heaters through the years, so they have the experience to handle your water heater repair in New Castle.

We also are skilled in water heater replacement, so give us a call at [[phone]] if you believe you need water heater installation in New Castle. We are happy to take a look at your system and give a no-cost estimate!