For quite a few people, nothing feels quite as good as a hot shower to start the day. Even though that may 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 throw away power and cost you money. It also can cause a safety concern for members of your home. But, if you set your water heater temperature too low, it can allow growth of potentially harmful bacteria and not produce sufficient hot water for your household.

So, what temperature is ideal for your water heater? Below, we’ll establish 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 own water heater.

What Water Heater Temperature Is the Most Efficient?

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

The U.S. Department of Energy reports that setting a home water heater temperature at 120 degrees could save approximately 22 percent on energy costs. Energy waste is a frequent challenge for water heaters because traditional tank models always 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 brimming with super-hot water.

So What Temperature Should My Hot Water Be?

In many instances, the suggested efficient temperature of 120 degrees is an effective yet cost-saving setting for your water heater. At 120 degrees, the water is hot enough to meet the requirements of most members of the household, but not so hot there's a danger of burning skin on contact. This makes it a safer option, especially in homes with young children or elderly men and women. Cooler temperatures also decrease mineral deposits in your water heater, which could cause it to break down or need replacing.

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 trying to save money, is it alright to set it higher? In addition to personal preference, there are some circumstances where it could be wise 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 exacerbate certain health conditions. This also may be practical if you know your home has a problem 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 greater water heater temperature may be necessary to make sure there’s adequate hot water for everyone.
  • Old dishwasher: If your dishwasher is getting up there in years and doesn’t heat water itself, you may have to set your water heater to a higher temperature for it to work properly.

What Temperature Is Too Hot for my Hot Water Heater?

Even though some people like their water extremely hot or prefer to blend hot and cold water to achieve their perfect 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 home. At 150 degrees, which is considered 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 considered very hazardous in homes with children or the elderly.

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

Water heaters can sometimes feel a little mysterious, but the knowledgeable specialists at Central Heating & Plumbing know these appliances extremely well. They’ve serviced many brands and types of water heaters throughout 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 call us at 724-401-1843 if you believe you need water heater installation in New Castle. We are happy to check out your system and give a no-cost estimate!