For many people, there’s nothing better than a hot shower to get the morning started. Even though that may 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 electricity and cost you money. It also can cause a safety issue 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 sufficient hot water for your household.

So, what temp should you set your water heater? In this article, we’ll identify the most efficient 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 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 use.

The U.S. Department of Energy reports that setting a home water heater temperature at 120 degrees could save roughly 22 percent on energy costs. Energy waste is a frequent challenge for water heaters because traditional tank models continuously heat a tank of water in case it is demanded. If you have the water heater temperature set too high, your water heater is consistently heating a tank filled to the brim with very hot water.

What Temperature Should I Set My Hot Water To?

More often than not, 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 needs 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 small children or elderly men and women. Reduced temperatures also minimize mineral deposits in your water heater, which could cause it to break down or need replacing.

Can I Raise My Water Temperature Higher Than 120 Degrees?

While many energy experts say 120 degrees is the best water heater temperature if you’re looking to save money, is it acceptable to set it higher? In addition to personal preference, there are some situations 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 aggravate certain health conditions. This also may be helpful if you know your home has trouble with bacteria, or if any members of the household are sick.
  • High usage: If your home is inclined to use a lot of hot water all at once—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 for all the household's needs.
  • Old dishwasher: If your dishwasher is an older model 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?

Although some people like their water exceptionally hot or would rather blend hot and cold water to create their perfect 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 home. At 150 degrees, which is definitely 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 hazardous in households 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 qualified technicians at Central Heating & Plumbing know these appliances inside and out. They’ve fixed many brands and designs of water heaters through the years, so they have the experience to tackle your water heater repair in New Castle.

We also are skilled in water heater replacement, so reach out to us at 724-401-1843 if you think you need water heater installation in New Castle. We are happy to examine your system and provide a complimentary estimate!