For lots of people, there's nothing like a hot shower to get the morning started. Although that may be a fantastic 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 scorching can waste electricity and cost you money. It also can pose a safety challenge for members of your residence. But, if you set your water heater temperature too low, it can permit growth of potentially harmful bacteria and not produce adequate hot water for your dwelling.

So, what temp should you set your water heater? In this article, we’ll determine the most cost-effective temperature to use, when there could be reason 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 provides 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 up to 22 percent on a home's utility bills. Energy waste is especially a challenge for water heaters because traditional tank models constantly heat a tank of water in case it is needed. If you have the water heater temperature set too high, your water heater is forever heating a tank brimming with very hot water.

So What Temperature Should My Hot Water Be?

In most cases, the suggested efficient temperature of 120 degrees is an effective yet cost-saving setting for your water heater. At 120 degrees, the water is warm enough to meet the needs of most homes, but not so hot there's a danger of 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 replacing.

Can I Set My Water Temperature Hotter Than 120 Degrees?

While many energy experts say 120 degrees is the best water heater temperature if you’re wanting to save money, is it OK to set it higher? Beyond personal preference, there are a few situations where it could make sense 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 useful if you know your home has a problem with bacteria, or if any residents of the house have a compromised immune system.
  • High usage: If your home has a tendency to use a significant amount of hot water all at once—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 to go around.
  • Old dishwasher: If your dishwasher is old and doesn’t heat water on its own, it may be necessary to set your water heater to a higher temperature for it to work correctly.

What Temperature Is Too Hot for my Hot Water Heater?

Even though some people like their water exceptionally hot or like to blend hot and cold water to obtain 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 regarded as way too hot, it takes a few seconds for the water to lead to third-degree burns. This is why a water heater temperature of 150 degrees is considered very unsafe in households with children or the elderly.

Call Struven Heating & Cooling for Your Water Heater Service Needs in Crown Point

Water heaters can be a little mysterious, but the skilled pros at Struven Heating & Cooling know these appliances inside and out. They’ve fixed many brands and models of water heaters over the years, so they have the experience to handle your water heater repair in Crown Point.

We also offer water heater replacement, so call us at 219-292-0956 if you believe you need water heater installation in Crown Point. We are happy to examine your system and provide a complimentary estimate!