For quite a few people, there's nothing like a hot shower to start the day. Although that may be a great 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 too hot can waste electricity and cost you money. It also can pose a safety challenge for members of your family. But, if you set your water heater temperature too low, it can enable growth of potentially harmful bacteria and not supply adequate hot water for your household.

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 Water Heater Temperature Is the Most Efficient?

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

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that setting a home water heater temperature at 120 degrees could save up to 22 percent on energy bills. 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 constantly heating a tank full of very 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 warm enough to meet the requirements of most residents, but not so hot that it risks burning skin on contact. This makes it a safer choice, especially in homes with small children or elderly individuals. Lower temperatures also cut down on 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 industry experts say 120 degrees is the ideal water heater temperature if you’re looking to save money, is it acceptable to set it higher? Apart from personal preference, there are a few scenarios where it could be a good idea 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 are immunocompromised.
  • High usage: If your home has a tendency to use a large volume 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 all the household's needs.
  • 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 effectively.

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 create their desired 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 considered 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 LTS Plumbing & Heating Inc. for Your Water Heater Service Needs in Shamokin and Sunbury

Water heaters can seem a little mysterious, but the knowledgeable technicians at LTS Plumbing & Heating Inc. know these appliances extremely well. They’ve fixed many brands and models of water heaters over the years, so they have the experience to tackle your water heater repair in Shamokin and Sunbury.

We also offer water heater replacement, so contact us at 570-648-0748 if you think you need water heater installation in Shamokin and Sunbury. We are happy to examine your system and provide a complimentary estimate!